Real Food, what exactly is it?
If you google it, you will find a range of answers. For some it is simply food that is safe to eat! Just because something is SAFE to eat (as in it will not result in your immediate death), doesn’t mean you should, right?
The above answer is not good enough for me.
According to Merriam Webster, Real and Food have the following definitions:
Real: not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory; genuine; being precisely what the name implies
Food: nutriment in solid form; something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies
It seems obvious to me, Real Food should not require a label or fancy packaging to tell you what is in it.
Real Food is minimally processed or unprocessed.
Real Food is a product of nature and not of industry.
There are no added fats, sugars or unpronounceable ingredients in Real Foods.
I believe we, human beings, were not meant to eat all of the processed foods that are currently available to us. We should be preparing our meals with as many whole foods (raw veggies, fruits, meats, dairy, nuts, etc) as possible.
We should be sourcing the ingredients for our foods locally, preferably directly from the source. The local farmers market is a great place to find in season vegetables, fruits, honeys, pastured meats and more. Small farmer’s generally use fewer herbicides and pesticides on plants and raise livestock for meat more conscientiously than industrial scale farms.
Not to mention that when you purchase from small farmers, you are not importing food from around the globe. You are directly supporting your local economy and your country.
Why should you cut out the processed foods?
There are a lot of reasons! These are just a few.
1 – The claims made on the packaging of many processed foods are often illusory. Low carb, low fat, vitamin fortified, and more. These are the very foods that are making Americans unhealthy. Even labels such as “organic” and “all natural” often do not mean what you think they do.
2 – According to Micheal Pollen, author of In Defense of Food and the Omnivore’s Dilemma, four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food.” Those top four diseases are: coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
3 – While you may spend more today on the purchase of quality whole foods, you could save money down the road on reduced healthcare costs as a result of eliminating all the processed foods.
4 – Processed foods contain more salt, sugar, and oils than are good for us. When you prepare your own foods at home you can control this.
5 – Why attempt to control your diet through counting of calories, carbs and fats when you can simply change the way you eat? I mean a lifestyle change. Not a diet. Eliminate the processed “foods” and replace them with Real whole Foods!
I know what you’re thinking. This is too hard. I can’t do it.
Ok, it’s hard (I’ve gotten on and off this wagon a few times). But it can be done. Work on it in increments. Eliminate sodas and juices, Then remove the sugar from your coffee or tea – replace it with honey or maple syrup. While you are working to remove processed foods start adding in more locally grown and locally purchased veggies and fruits as well as pastured meats.
I struggle with sticking to this at times. Sugar is my problem. Ok, I have a lot of food issues, but sugar calls to me!
That and I let my garden get away from me last year with the result that I had no fresh fall produce. There is a good reason that it got away from me. We decided to move it so that in the future we can build a garage on the old location. Unfortunately, I have not finished putting up fence and I haven’t even started building my raised beds. I’m hoping to get the fence up in the next month so that there will be some hope of a garden this year. But, I digress…
With fresh produce in mind – I want to give a pitch for a new farm in Halifax County.
Broadshoulders Farm: Ben Capozzi is the farmer. He will be providing our area with the it’s first vegetable CSA (I’m not aware of another in the area!)! I’m excited. Maybe in the future, I can skip gardening altogether and buy from Ben! If you are interested, you can also follow his progress on Facebook and Twitter!