What is Real Food?

Real food. That sounds like a strange thing to say. Isn’t all food “real” food? There are a lot of voices out there talking and writing about real food, and I encourage you to read and learn as much as you can about the joys and benefits of a real food lifestyle.

For me, real food is clean, chemical-free food. It means avoiding highly processed foods and eating whole foods including:

  • Organic fruits and vegetables (Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, especially if you’re gradually working organic foods into your diet)
  • Meats that are hormone- and antibiotic-free, grass-fed or pastured, and humanely raised (and buy local if you’re able)
  • Seafood that is caught out in the wild and not farmed
  • Whole grains (whole wheat, oats, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • Dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, ghee – whole fat, organic, and grass-fed are the way to go)
  • Eggs (free running – and eat the yolks!)
  • Healthy oils & fats such as olive and coconut oils, butter, and lard, as well as nuts, seeds, and avocados
  • Natural sweeteners (local raw honey and real maple syrup, and organic palm and cane sugars, used sparingly)

If you are just starting your real food journey, you’ll want to look for food that is certified 100% organic, which means it’s GMO/pesticide/fertilizer-free, among other things. Avoid foods that have added sugars and are highly processed. Don’t be fooled by the “natural” label. It’s meaningless. (The marketer in me loves this video about “natural” foods.)

You’ll also notice that many healthy, whole food stores offer a plethora of organic items on the shelves from snacks to condiments to frozen dinners. These are certainly healthier choices than regular grocery store fare, but I hope through this blog to inspire you to make some of these foods at home with whole, real ingredients – from scratch.

And remember – this is definitely a journey. We don’t eat 100% real food all the time, but every day I make choices to help us get closer. I’ll continue to update this page and offer more insights on real food shopping and cooking. Good luck on your journey!


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