What is Real Food?

Real food is whole food. Real foods are foods that come from the earth- not from factories. Real food doesn’t come from a box or a package. 

That’s it. It’s as simple as that. 

Even though it seems simple, unfortunately in America, it’s not so easy to eat that way. We are SURROUNDED by foods that are processed and man-made (and that taste really good!!!!-I’m lookin’ at you Cheetos). The food industry in America is creating foods that are pretty much the exact opposite of what we were made to eat. Why you say? Because it sells. Highly palatable, salty, sweet food sells. People buy it. And people buy it because it tastes good. We crave it. However, our bodies are not made to digest things that man makes. This is why we have health problems. First of all, we are depleting our bodies of essential nutrients because we aren’t eating real foods that are nutrient rich. Second of all, we are putting chemicals and pesticides in our bodies that were never meant to be there in the first place. 
Let me give you specific examples of real foods.

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • full fat dairy
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • natural sweeteners (aka honey, agave, pure maple syrup)

That about covers it. 

There are specifics about each of these categories but for now we will not go into that. In addition to eating these foods, it is ideal if you can eat organic all the time and eat pasture-raised eggs and grass fed meat. For some of us, I know that might be difficult. I’m going to be honest and tell you that I do what I can when it comes to eating organic produce and grass-fed beef, but it is really hard. My husband and I can honestly not afford it with where we are in our lives right now. But we do get the best quality beef and chicken that we can at a price we can afford (The Fresh Market Tuesdays). We also get organic produce when it is affordable, but it is sometimes only possible to get conventional produce. 

I think that if we strive to eat real foods as often as we can (striving for 80% of the time), that is a good start. In other posts I encouraged you that if you are not currently doing this, it takes baby steps. Start small with maybe increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat. Go from there. Don’t focus on taking things out of your diet just yet (by diet I just mean your daily meals, not an actual diet like you would think of for weight loss). Focus on adding things into your diet like fresh vegetables 3 times/week. Figure out what works for you and start with that. Our bodies NEED this. You may suffer from headaches, bloating, stomach aches, acne, fatigue, muscle aches, high blood pressure, obesity… the list goes on. It is more than likely because you are deficient in one or more essential nutrients. It is my goal to help you find what you may be missing in your diet and then point you to the resources you need in order to get healthy.

You may have noticed that grains aren’t listed anywhere. This is a hot topic of discussion and to be honest I’m not even fully convinced on either side. There are people (medical professionals) out there that say to completely avoid whole grains all together, and other people (medical professionals) that say it can be part of your healthy diet. Again, this shows that healthy is different for everyone. We will be exploring this together in future posts so stay tuned. In the meantime, know that eating all the foods listed in this post will provide you with all of the nutrients that you need. You WILL NOT be missing out on anything from not eating grains in your everyday diet. That being said, if you do eat grains, make sure they are whole and good quality. We will talk about when you need to be avoiding grains because of your specific needs.  

I hope this post helps you understand what I mean when I say “real food”. This is what my blog will be centered around so we will be going into much more detail and I will be providing recipes along the way to help you incorporate real food into your daily lives.

Please comment or contact me with questions! 

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  1. Hi there…fellow dietitian here…just want to point out that terms like “real food” vs “factory food” can be a little confusing to consumers…. also, agave syrup and maple syrup are both made in factories…as is “full fat dairy” like milk and yogurt.

    1. Hi Leah! Thank you for your comment. I use terms like real food because I truly believe that a lot of “food” on the shelves is actually not food at all. It is composed of chemicals, preservatives and other “ingredients’ all combined together to make up something like a cracker. That is what I am trying to get at. Thanks for you input.

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