Welcome To The Real Food Lifestyle!
Have you noticed that in our title, “The Real Food Lifestyle” we’ve used the phrase, “lifestyle” instead of the word, “diet”? That’s because this isn’t a diet. Healthy, nutritious eating is larger than that. It’s a way of life!
Nutrition is the ingestion of a nourishing substance for the purpose of growth, repair, metabolism & improving or maintaining bodily health.
We all want to be svelte, youthful & healthy! But it seems that these days knowing exactly how to make that happen is becoming more & more of a mystery for most people.
Here’s why …
Most folks choose “food products” or processed food instead of real food. This choice results in:
- Corporations making a hefty profit.
- Healthcare expenses increasing.
- Obesity rates increasing.
- Recycling programs struggling to keep land-fills from choking on empty containers.
It’s that simple.
What is Processed Food?
Over the decades, available “food products” have multiplied. Food corporations have taken real “naturally occurring” food & mixed it with chemicals (preservatives & artificial colours & flavours). Then, through pretty packaging & decades of advertising, they’ve fooled us into thinking it’s normal.
Check the list of ingredients while you’re still in the grocery store. Stay away from any grocery item with these ingredients:
- Artificial colouring
- Artificial sweetener
- Partially hydrogenated oil
- High maltose corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Trans fats
- Artificial flavouring
- Natural flavouring (“Natural” isn’t a regulated word. Many processed sins will be hidden behind this term).
Why Is Processed Food Such a Problem?
I hear clients say things like, “I’m eating so healthy, but I can’t lose weight” or “I’m having such a difficult time with food cravings”. Well, we know right then & there that our client:
- Is eating too much processed food.
- Doesn’t understand the difference between processed food & real food.
The problem with processed food is that while you ingest all the calories, you only derive minimal nutrients. This is because amongst all those non-food ingredients, there’s only a few grams of real food in the product. This leaves you:
- Battling with cravings. Your body is desperate for nutrients to use as building materials & will use any means possible to coerce you into eating more.
- Suffering from lethargy, allergies or even disease as your malnourished body struggles to rid itself of useless & usually mildly, toxic non-food ingredients.
- Overweight as the non-food ingredients still have calories, but are turned into toxic fat & stored in the adipose tissue.
What is Real Food?
What is meant by real food? It’s amazing how difficult this concept is for people to grasp. For that we can thank the both media & the corporations that pay for that advertising & thrive on our confusion.
To help you fully understand the real food lifestyle, we’ve broken the “real food” concept down into three truths:
1. Real Food Has Two Outstanding Characteristics:
- It must be grown.
- Our bodies carry a corresponding enzyme to catalyze digestion, nutrient extraction & finally elimination.
Human beings, along with our food, are naturally occurring on this earth. Thus, our bodies only have the enzymes to digest naturally occurring food.
2. Cells Are Built From Nutrients.
The human body is simply a collection of cells. Each cell has the ability to either repair itself or replace itself completely. The body uses nutrients for building materials.
A cell can only be as good as the quality of building materials used. Quality building materials can only come from quality food. Quality food means real food.
Quality of Nutrients = Quality of Cells = Quality of Health
3. Choose Food With The Most Nutrients Per Calorie.
When people want to lose weight, they tend to think, “I want the food with the least calories”. A more successful approach is to think, “I want the food with the most nutrients per calorie”!
For example: one calorie from a soft drink. Zero nutrients (except sodium). The body has only one option, convert that calorie into fat & stuff it into the fat cells.
On the other hand: one calorie from a banana. Varying amounts of essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, fructose, protein, Vitamin A, Calcium, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Folate, Choline, Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc & Fluoride.
The body has so many options! The colon welcomes the dietary fibre as that’s what it uses to remove “waste”. The rest is circulated in the blood so that all the cells have to do is reach out & grab what they need. Anything left to convert into fat? Probably not.
Pack as many nutrients as possible into each calorie & you’ll find yourself eating less because you won’t be hungry. You won’t even have cravings!
These Are Processed Foods & Little Assembly is Required
French fries, ketchup, relish, hot-dogs, hamburgers, luncheon meats, soy-based products, canned food, quick cooking oats or rice, white rice, white bread, drink crystals, juice, flavoured water, sports drinks, power bars, cereal, granola, crackers, noodles, pasta, powders, candy, pop, chips, donuts, bagels, pre-made dough, pre-made batter, pre-made meals, packaged sauces, white sugar, brown sugar & others.
These Are Real Foods & Some Assembly is Required
- Fruit & Vegetables
- Meat & Eggs
- Beans & Lentils
- Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese & Butter
- Olive Oil, Coconut Oil & Flax-seed Oil
- Barley, Spelt, Brown Rice & Quinoa
- 100% Whole Grain Wheat
- Steel-cut Oats – slow cooking type
- Nuts (Walnut, Almonds, Pecans & Hazelnuts)
- Seeds (Chia, Pumpkin & Flax)
Most folks rely on quantities of fat & sugar to add flavour to their meals. A healthier way to go:
- Aromatic Herbs & Pungent Spices for flavour
- Garlic & Ginger & Onions to almost everything
- 100% Maple Syrup or Honey to sweeten up your recipes
Here are some real food recipes:
- Spicy Tomato Chilli
- Spicy Tomato Sauce
- Pumpkin Spice Muffins
- Sumptuous Greek Salad
- Gourmet Fish and Chips
- Spicy Tea
Here is some help with the assembly of real food: Meal Prep for the Time Starved
Is There a Fool-Proof Way To Tell The Difference Between Processed Food & Real Food?
Processed food is like a con-artist. It’s an expert at pretending it’s something it’s not. Unfortunately, there isn’t any one absolute rule for easy detection. But here are several questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out if the food you’re about to buy is processed:
- Was it put together in a factory or was it grown? Only real food is grown.
- It is in a fancy package? Most real food needs minimal packaging.
- Does it sit on the grocery store shelf (instead of a fridge or freezer)?
- Is this food dried or dehydrated? If not, will this food ever rot?
- How much preparation does this food require before you can eat it? (Usually the more the better.)
- How many ingredients are listed on the package? (Usually, the fewer the better.)
Most processed food is quite old by the time you pluck it from the grocery store shelf. In order for it to continue to be saleable, it must be doused in preservatives or the little bit of real food in it will rot too quickly.
Another way to look at it: has this food been around for centuries? Or was it “invented” within the last 100 years? 100 years is not long enough for our bodies to have “evolved” enough to be producing the enzymes for the “invented” food.
Processed Food Has Varying Degrees of Process-ed-ness
It’s difficult to eat a diet that’s completely unprocessed. Unless you’ve decided to become a farmer. Personally, we are not prepared to do that. The following are the processed foods that we haven’t given up yet.
The only way to get away from buying Whole Wheat Bread, is to make your own. However, Silver Hills Bakery makes a wonderful sprouted grain, organic, non-GMO bread.
Technically, Mustard is processed. It’s usually derived from crushed mustard seeds with added vinegar & water. But when it comes to condiments, it’s the best choice.
Making homemade Tomato Paste is labour intensive. We use very little & rely more on chopped fresh tomatoes.
Home made Sun-Dried Tomatoes would be another project with a time commitment. Just a fork-full makes a meal more interesting.
Pickles or anything pickled has less nutrients than the same food in the raw form. We use Pickled Cucumbers sparingly & only as flavour.
Of course Dark Chocolate Chips are processed. But they’re such a delicious addition to our Pumpkin Spice Muffin recipe that the measly 2/3 cup over 15 muffins is worth it!
You’ll have your own “processed food sins”. Just make sure to use a small amount, not very often & that it’s really worth it!
What about Health Food? Is Health Food Healthy?
So called “Health Food” is a farce. It’s just that the creative advertising is designed to make you believe you’re buying healthy food. It’s packaged with terms like, “natural” & “nutritious” & the picture of the product looks both wholesome & delicious.
When most folks aspire to eat healthy food, they think it means:
- Low fat
- Fat free
- Sugar free
- Gluten free (the latest money-making fad)
This is incorrect!
Don’t be fooled by a consumer culture that just wants your hard earned money. The only healthy food available in this world is real food.
The Best Food Choices Are Raw Ingredients In Their Least Processed Form
Raw ingredients means getting as close as you can to using clean, harvested crops & butchered animal products & putting together your meals in your own kitchen.
This is also the healthiest, least expensive & most environmental!
Of course, these choices will be different for each of us – depending upon our lifestyle constraints.
The only way to stay slender, youthful & healthy is by choosing real food for your meals! The following articles will further help you on your journey toward a Real Food Lifestyle:
– LEONG Orthopaedic Health
If you like this article, please share it!
All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without prior permission. Copyright LEONG Orthopaedic Health 2015.