I have actually had to describe that term to many people lately as it has become an almost food fad that people do not understand. Real food by simple definition, and the most broadly accepted definition, is food made from scratch. Like pie crusts made from flour and butter not from the frozen food section.
Some people see it as a fad while others see it as a movement. I think it is something the goes beyond that, it is the way we (the people, the consumer, the…etc.) will gain control of our food supply again. While eating “real food” may be a change it is not a difficult one because we only stopped eating real food a few decades ago.
Buy food on the outside of the grocery store. We have all heard this saying “shop the outside of the grocery store and not the inside aisles.” It is good advice if you had to put it into a tweet but it goes beyond that for me. In the meat section on the outer ban of the grocery store is chicken nuggets that partially contain meat. There are fat-free items that have several chemicals in them to make them fat-free and still “taste good” that you can find in the perimeter of the store. If you want real food you want to purchase food on the outer edge of your grocery store that could be found on a farm not a factory, does not contain chemicals, and goes bad.
Food should spoil. Food waste is a HUGE issue and this advice for real food is a true contradiction for the advice to make sure we do not waste food but food should spoil and go bad. I remember as child always smelling the milk to make sure it was still good and checking the bread to see if had mold on it even though my Mom had purchased both just days before. The food you purchase that is real should cause you to pay close attention to consuming it or freezing it. While this more work it is better for your health.
Real food does not have GMO’s in it. I have written many times here and for many other publications the issues with GMO’s, they are not cross pollinated plants but rather plants that were scientifically created in a lab with the DNA from fish, bacteria, and other items not found naturally in plant DNA. Many GMO’s (not all) were created to wish stand higher amounts of pesticide exposure, create their own pesticide, or to be drought resistant. Their safety for human consumption has never been tested to be safe by a third-party and should be avoided for health and safety.
Do not purchase what you can make yourself. I occasionally buy store-bought cookies but for the most part I make a batch of homemade cookie for my kids lunches on Sunday for the week. While this is not the healthiest example of real food it demonstrates that if we can make it we should. Store bought cookies have several chemicals to stabilize their texture and freshness till you open it. Can you image your homemade chocolate chip cookies being on shelf for months and still being good?
If you cannot make it you should not eat it. This is the flip of the last one, if you cannot create what you are buying by making it yourself because it has so many forgien ingredients you should avoid it as well. Can you make a tofrukey? a hotdog?
Eating real food does not need to take up all your time. The thoughts of making food from scratch, is something that makes the modern family cringe it sounds like something that cannot happen in our super busy society. There are quick and easy real food recipes out there, tons in fact. The more time intensive real food meals can be saved for the weekend, prepared and frozen, or even just saved for holidays. Eating real food more often will surely make you healthier.
Looking for a place to start, go back to old family recipes or look for new ones that have a few ingredients in them. While we are used to the conveniences of processed food our health and the planet has suffered. Working to eat real food more often with have a great effect on you, I promise.
What are some of your favorite real food recipes? What are some of your challenges to eating real food more often?