Eat Real Food

eatrealfoodJERF

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! What we put in our bodies is SO important!

For those trying to live a healthier lifestyle or trying to use food as medicine, it is imperative that we eat as much real plant foods as possible!  Limiting processed foods, as well as foods wreaking havoc on your body are going to be vital to your health as well. There are so many diets out there it can get confusing about what to eat!  If you look up a particular food or diet there are going to be people saying its good and others saying its bad. What do you do!? After studying over 100 different dietary theories I can tell you that the one thing they all agreed upon was that fruit and vegetables were good for you. Figuring out which real whole plant foods you feel great eating is the key! Just because I feel great eating a certain food or type of food doesn’t mean you should eat it too. Each of us is unique and one persons food may be another persons poison. I recommend everyone listen to their body and not someone else’s. For example some people feel ok including grains in their diet, but for some it can cause stomach pain, bloating and other issues. In that case you should not be consuming grains. You can also practice properly preparing your grains by soaking or using sprouted grains and see if that helps you. If you are having digestive issues, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, inflammation, or other problems such as skin problems like (acne or eczema) a lot of times simply by adjusting your diet and removing a particular food you can eliminate and find relief of these symptoms. I’ve seen it happen! For some people who are struggling with a health challenge such as an autoimmune disease it is imperative to change your diet and exclude certain foods as well. Sometimes side affects from a medication you are taking can also cause these symptoms or cause gut issues, which can lead to food sensitivities and discomforts.  Another reason I love natural remedies for healing as much as possible.

What does eating REAL FOOD look like to ME?

  • Food you can picture growing in nature. Like fruits, veggies, greens, herbs! Picture an apple tree or lemon tree for example. (Preferably Organic grown without the use of pesticides)
  • Foods that rot and spoil.
  • Foods with no labels. Like a bunch of carrots or stalk of celery!
  • If it’s in a package: Foods that have one ingredient or if it has more then one ingredient they should be a whole food ingredient (such as nuts, seeds and whole grains that are packaged)
  • Foods that are Non GMO.
  • Most food you find at the farmers market.

Everyone (including the earth) can benefit when we enjoy an abundance of fruits and vegetables. What you eat may change season to season depending on life circumstances, your body type, health, goals, ethnicity, environment and what you like to eat. Some of you may eat a certain way due to beliefs, ethical or cultural reasons or allergies. But Eating real food is a great start towards good health.  I have absolutely no health challenges and haven’t been to the doctor since high school (except for when I was pregnant for my check ups. And even then I saw a midwife lol- knock on wood!) I do not count calories, I listen to my body and have a good relationship with food. I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks if I am still hungry. I drink lots of water too. I also enjoy treats in moderation + don’t feel guilty eating them because I believe in a healthy, balanced lifestyle. And this is how I thrive! So eat real food that is right for YOU and where you are at in your life. Your body may go through seasons of change and your diet may need to be adjusted such as during times of pregnancy, nursing, illness, etc. Listen to your body!

What real food DOES NOT look like:

  • Food in packages that have been extremely manipulated and processed such as pre-packaged cookies, most protein bars, protein powders, “snacks” such as gold fish,  pirates booty, most granola bars, fruit snacks, puffs, most if not all pre-packaged meals in the freezer section that have a ton of additives and artificial ingredients (Frozen fruit and veggies or real food are ok). Basically, Most foods in packages. There are some “minimally processed” items out there that contain real food ingredients that are better choices.
  • Foods that contain artificial sweeteners, dyes, preservatives and chemicals.
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • “Nutritional drinks” such as ensure and pediasure.
  • Factory farmed processed cheese and dairy
  • Most fruit juice unless it is fresh squeezed with no other ingredients.
  • Factory farmed meat
  • Farmed fish and seafood
  • Most anything pretending to be something it’s not such as fake “meat”, fake “cheese” with a ton of additives and a ton of extra non “real food” ingredients. There are some “fake foods” such as “cheese” that’s made using real food ingredients such as almonds or veggie patties made with actual vegetables that don’t contain a bunch of additives that would be a good choice.
  • Bread that has a ton of ingredients in it.  Bread should really just be 2-5 ingredients depending on the type of flour used. (The exception is Ezekiel Bread-Love that one!)
  • Items labeled low fat  (unless naturally low in fat)
  • Refined and processed sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup etc
  • GMOs (genetically modified foods)
  • Fast Food
  • Refined or hydrogenated oils
  • Refined and processed flour such as white flour.

As much as I love eating real whole foods the majority of the time we do at times consume some of the items from the second category. Usually  if we are out at a party or for a special occasion, but sometimes for a treat at home. Real food is always best! Foods in this second category are meant to be eaten in moderation and for special occasions, and some of these things I feel should never be consumed at all and we exclude them completely from our diet (such as artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda) and factory farmed meat dairy and seafood. If you are battling with illness, disease, health problems, or weight problems then you need to be even more diligent about eating real whole plant foods and consider excluding the foods in the second category for a period of time and for some even a lifetime. Trust me, I know most people like to consume these things and enjoy it and you may be thinking there is no way I can give these things up! I’m not saying you HAVE to, but I do recommend limiting these foods in your diet and purchasing better alternatives. You can buy the “better brands” that contain minimal, more natural ingredients! For example, if you want candy buy the kind without artificial dyes. If you want chips buy the kind with minimal ingredients such as organic corn, oil and sea salt or sprouted corn.  If you really want to use a protein powder choose a brand that uses minimal ingredients without the use of synthetic chemicals, artificial sweeteners and uses real food ingredients such as hemp protein.  Instead of the pre-packaged oatmeal buy the single ingredient kind and add your own fresh fruit and maple syrup to sweeten, make your own crackers at home. You can find most of these items at your local natural foods market or online.

As you transition to a healthier lifestyle, even these small changes can make a difference! Especially if you have been eating a SAD (standard American diet) for a very long time it can be a great step in the right direction for you. It may be a big transition for your kids too, so by just transitioning the things you normally eat to “better brands” and better quality foods that will be a great place start.  The more you consume real food, the more you will want to eat it and you will naturally begin crowding out the foods from this second category. For those with health challenges you may need to make more drastic changes and cut things out completely to feel better. You are important. Your children are important. Your health is important. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle are going to show that they are. Take it one step at a time and simply begin by incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet and see how you feel. If you would like additional help in making changes to your diet and lifestyle please contact me to see how I can help!

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Eat Real Food: Food in it’s natural form. Unprocessed. Whole Foods. Foods that rot. I try to eat these as much as possible!

2. Choose Organic Whenever Possible. 

What is Organic? (From the Non-GMO Shopping Guide Website)

  • Prohibit the use of chemical fertilizers, various synthetic substances, irradiation, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic production.
  • Prohibit antibiotic and synthetic hormone use in organic meat and poultry.
  • Require 100% organic feed for organic livestock.
  • When the product is labeled “100% organic,” “organic,” or just “made with organic ingredients,” then even the non-organic ingredients cannot be produced from GMOs. For example, products labeled as “made with organic ingredients” only require 70% of the ingredients to be organic, but 100% must be non-GMO.

If you cannot shop organic I recommend buying some of the higher contaminated foods organic. Here is a great list to help you out. Try to at least do the top 12 from that list as well as the high risk GMO crops listed below.

3. Avoid GMO’s as much as possible! 

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same. (From the Non-GMO Shopping Guide Website)

*GMO’s have been linked to infertility, infant mortality, cancer and tumors amongst other things.

4. Read your labels! Here is a list of the top GMO foods. I Highly recommend to buy these foods Organic whenever possible. 

High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop) is in a lot of processed food on the market
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011) is in most processed food on the market
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010) is in a lot of processed food on the market
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

LEARN MORE ABOUT GMO’s on my GMO RESOURCE page so you can make an informed decision for your family.

ALSO high-risk: Animal products (milk, meat, eggs, etc.) because of contamination in feed.

Where I Shop:

  1. My local Farmers Market (Find a Farmers Markets near you)
  2. My local Natural Foods Market  (Such as Wholefoods, Erewhon etc)

 

  1. Other Resources:

 

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