In a country where food marketing is big business and we are bombarded with processed food ads in our mail and on television, it can sometimes be overwhelming learning how to eat. Our children are being told by peers and media that colorful packaged food is cool, and the added vitamins are appealing to parents at the same time. We have been taught that butter is bad and that low fat is best, yet we are the most overweight country in the world. We and our children are paying a high price as we are continuously overfed but undernourished. Simplifying our food and going back to basic, traditional food is the only way we are going to be able to take back our health and gain an appreciation for real food.
A definition for “real food” is food that is unprocessed and unaltered. Real food contains all of its own natural occurring vitamins and has not had anything taken out, nor has it been fortified with anything. Grass-fed beef, raw milk, and organic strawberries are examples of real food. Dinner in a box, ultra-pasteurized skim milk, and toaster pastries are not real food. The biggest difference between real food and “fake food” is that both will quench hunger but only one will nourish. Real food from organic, family farms is green and sustainable because animals that are raised grass-fed and organically are eating off the land and giving back to it. Cows and chicken are allowed to roam freely in green pastures with rotating shelters and have plenty of room. Crops are rotated properly so the use of dangerous chemical pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides are unnecessary.
Many people do not realize how simple eating real food can be. Initially it may take some extra time, preparation, and effort changing over from the quick and easy processed food mentality. It will take time to relearn and rethink everything you have been taught about food. Once a system is in place, it becomes second nature. The first step is to find local sources for food. Farmer’s Markets, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), and food co-ops are wonderful for sourcing organic produce, grass-fed and free-range meat and eggs, and raw milk. Supporting local farmers is a great way to ensure that they can provide real food for years to come. Starting a backyard garden is also wonderful for becoming more sustainable and self-sufficient with food. Learning to eat in season and growing your own food can be so rewarding and anyone with a little sunny spot on a porch, balcony, or yard can do it. Even small spaces can benefit from a container garden full of herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, or cucumbers.
Preparing real food is really fun and exciting. Eating to live rather than living to eat opens the door to new culinary experiences. Once you get a taste of real food you will never want to go back! If there are children in the home, cooking with them and teaching them about where their food comes from will enrich their lives beyond the kitchen. It is time to think outside the box!
A few of my favorite Real Food Blogs:
Healthy Home Economist
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
The Nourishing Gourmet
Health Home Happy
Living the Nourished Life
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
Real Food – What to eat and Why by Nancy Planck
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Sarah Outlaw is a work-at-home wife and mother of 3 who is passionate about natural living, natural medicine, and real food. She is the owner of 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique, and is a Certified Health Coach & Natural Living Consultant.