April 1, 2012

What is REAL FOOD?

People often ask us some form of this question:
"So, how do you really eat? Are you vegan or grain-free, or what?"

It's a fair question. The best answer I can give, is that we eat "Real Food." Usually the next question is:
"What is real food?"

In the simplest of terms, real food is what your grandma ate (or maybe your great-grandma, if you're more than a few years younger than me!). It's food as God intended, direct from nature, as unprocessed as possible. 

The best of examples of this are foods that haven't changed over the course of history. Things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, etc. We also include dairy and meat in this group.

It may almost be easier though, to define real food by what it is NOT. 
Real food isn't:
1. Genetically modified
2. Grown with hormones, antibiotics or pesticides
3. Made with artificial colors or flavors
4. Preserved with chemical preservatives

Unfortunately, the modern industrialized food system has found a way to ruin nearly all real food in some way, shape or form. We have fruits and veggies caked with pesticides, farm-raised fish that eat corn, genetically altered corn or soy in 3/4 of the products in the supermarket and ammonia washed beef from cattle kept in such close confines the only way to keep them from dying is by giving them huge doses of antibiotics.

And the average consumer has no idea. We haven't been taught to question where our food comes from.

Michael Pollan sums it up well - "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000." (What else has changed significantly in the last 50 years (or probably closer to 60 years now)? You guessed it - the health of Americans.)

For us, REAL FOOD is:

Fruits and vegetables grown as organically as possible. This varies by season, but in the summer, we buy local when we can. Otherwise we try to buy organic when the price isn't prohibitive. Some fruits and veggies are significantly higher in pesticide reside than others (apples, celery, etc), so we try to make sure we purchase organic versions of those. (A decent guide can be found HERE)

Meat from animals grown in humane situations and fed what God created them to eat. This includes grass-fed beef, free range poultry, wild-caught fish and fresh game. (Although the game may have eaten genetically modified corn from the field, we've decided this is a relatively small risk for meat raised wildly in nature).

Raw milk. I can't even begin to describe all the benefits of raw milk in contrast to the drawbacks of store-bought milk. That's definitely going to be another post. If we couldn't drink this, we'd go milk-free.

Whole grains, dried fruits and nuts grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer.
With these, you can make fabulous concoctions like this:

Homemade granola - my second favorite breakfast food, next only to oatmeal.
We've adapted our "real food" diet to suit our particular situation, as most people do. We aren't as strict about it as some, and probably are more strict than others. We leave room for birthday treats and the occasional pizza delivery when I'm too exhausted to think of something for supper. But for the most part, when we're home, this is how we eat. 

I hope that answers the question.
Next up - "WHY?" :)


  1. I hear ya! Want to take it to a new level? I invite you to Google "traditional foods" - taking real food and culturing the dairy, lacto-fermenting fruits and veggies, soaking grains - huge benefits to the body by unlocking and amping up the nutrition. I have recently been immersing myself in the info and making small changes. A good website is the Healthy Home Economist. Great stuff! Also, small error in your text..."Otherwise we try to buy organic...and almost always buy organic fruits that are extremely high in pesticide residue." I'm thinking that was not the idea you were trying to express. :)

    1. thanks for that clarification. had me confused for awhile... :)

    2. @dof8 - We actually do quite a bit of culturing dairy and soaking grains. I'm hoping to learn more about lacto-fermenting soon...if only I had time to do it ALL! Thanks for the pointing out the error as well...it's been fixed :)

  2. I've never heard of raw milk.... or why it is better for you... guess a google search is on now!

    1. Good luck Terra! You will find a LOT of sites that say horrible things about raw milk. Hopefully you will find the good stuff too though. I need to write about it SOON. I hope after the adoption paperwork is under control, I can post more often!