This week we’re going to ease into getting started with real food and the best way to do that. Don’t worry, we’re going to be taking things nice and slowly. I’m going to be talking about the definition of Real Food, and The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list.
We’ll break this down into nice, digestible, tasty chunks so that no one gets overwhelmed or stressed out. And if you do, here is a healthified ice cream recipe for you to try because ice cream makes everything better. Am I right? Of course I’m right. Psh- never doubt me y’all. Nevah!
The Real Food Road
I’ve shared that My Story spans about a 17-year time frame and that had I not been so stubborn, or at times, just plain foolish, I’d be much further along than I am at the moment in my real food journey. I finally decided to stop comparing myself to other people and to accept that any positive, intentional changes I make is a good thing and it’s progress. As long as I’m constantly moving forward with my changes I’m doing much better than I was last week, or last month or last year. In other words, any change for the better is progress. Remember that. Some of you may be snails and others may be jack rabbits, but don’t forget that we’re all on the same road. Some are just a little further down that road than others.
Go easy on yourself. I don’t tolerate the shame game nor do I allow guilt. Guilt is a waste of time. Own your choices, and stop allowing guilt to drive you into depression and shame over FOOD. Shame and guilt are strongholds I refuse to allow them to take residence in my mind. Period. I pretty much eat what I want and the longer I choose more real, whole, cleaner, less processed foods, the less I have to worry about eating pretty much whatever I want because it’s going to be a healthy choice. Eating this way is so freeing. I don’t need to follow any points systems, or write down my food in a diary, or avoid massive food groups–unless you count junk food as a massive food group- and it probably should be thanks to what our grocery stores think constitutes as food these days– you just eat real food, as often as possible, organic and GMO-Free if possible and eat fewer highly processed foods, and fake foods and franken-foods.
What is Real Food?
There are a few schools of thought regarding what constitutes real food. Personally, I don’t get too hung up on the rules that others have placed or try to enforce regarding the definition of Real Food. I think we have too many rules with respect to food as it is. Why is food so complicated? Who made it that way and why? They need to be punched in the kisser. Seriously. Anyway, I believe in real food guidelines because what if a rule works perfectly for me, but doesn’t for you and your family? Then what? Oh, I know- the Real Food Pharisees get to come out and throw stones at you, and then you are riddled with shame and you throw in the towel and stuff a box of Twinkies in your pie hole to help deal with the guilt of being a complete failure when it comes to food. Yeah, that’s not counterproductive at all.
In our upcoming posts, we’ll talk about those food guidelines, but for now, Real Food is anything that isn’t fake or genetically modified or made with synthetic, or chemical ingredients. It was made by nature and not by men and women in lab coats. Lab coats are for Clinique. 🙂 Kidding.
When it comes to processed foods, meaning it comes in a package, “Real” means that it should have very few ingredients, which are all real, true food ingredients, and you can pronounce them. There are some bloggers who say never buy a packaged food that has more than 5 ingredients. Well, what if I want to buy some organic cinnamon raisin bread from my local bakery and they used 9 ingredients in the making of this bread- then what? Stress out? Cry? Fall into a puddle on the floor and suck my thumb? Refuse to buy it because it’s not “real” enough? Heck no! I buy it! I know the bakery, I know the ingredients, I know how to pronounce every single ingredient on their label and it’s minimally processed.
It Might be a Frankenfood if…
This is simple. If your food is genetically modified, comes in a package that has a very lengthy list of ingredients, most of which you have to sound out phonetically just to pronounce, or it has numbers and initials, preservatives, food dyes, MSG (and all 50+ other names that MSG goes by), is enriched or it has multiple claims of ‘goodness’ and ‘healthiness’ and ‘all naturalness’ than is realistic, then it’s more than likely a Frankenfood.
If your salmon was created in a lab, it’s Frankenfood. If your cereal isn’t GMO-Free/organic and it contains colors that don’t naturally occur in nature- it’s probably a Frankenfood. If you lose part of it under the front seat of your car and 3 years later it still looks like a hamburger or a french fry- it’s probably a Frankenfood.
If it says meatloaf, but the ingredients on the box say beef flavored chemical shiz storm, it’s probably a Frankenfood. If it is located in any aisle in the center of the grocery store and is marketed to children or frazzled mothers who just want to toss in some ground beef and a seasoning packet and call it dinner, it is probably a Frankenfood. But, don’t stress out. I’ll be showing you how to make wiser choices AND you’ll WANT to make them. No seriously, stop laughing. you really will want to. Trust me young padawan learners.
Gettin’ Jiggy with The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15?
Now that I’ve briefly touched on what is real food and what isn’t, I’m going to share with you what I feel is the easiest first step to implement in your real food journey. It’s what is known as The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list. <— That link will bring you to the entire post on my blog should you desire to know more, but I will give a brief overview of what this list is and why it is important to you and real food.
With the invention of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and subsequent untested, unstudied, forceful insertion of these GMOs into our food chain, pesticide use has skyrocketed. Many fruits and veggies are doused with double digit amounts of different pesticides. Can you imagine needing 10+ pesticides on one fruit or veggie? Holy! As a result of this pesticide overload, the fabulous people over at The Environmental Working Group put together a snazzy little list that covers which fruits and veggies have a high pesticide load, and which ones aren’t doused with as many.
The produce on the Dirty Dozen List should be purchased organic if possible because those have the highest pesticide load. Pesticides have been linked to all sorts of nasty health and environmental issues. Now that more is known about the side effects of having it in and on our foods, we can choose to avoid it when possible. When you are on a tight budget, but you want to buy organic as much as possible, buying organic varieties of all produce on the Dirty Dozen list is a great place to start.
The items on the Clean 15 list are considered safer as they do not use excessive pesticides so these foods can be purchased conventional. Conventional is what we call food that isn’t Organic and GMO-Free. So foods are either Organic or Conventional. Ya still with me?
You’d Never Guess-
In the interest of full disclosure, I fell compelled to let you know something about organic produce. Once you start adding organic fruits and veggies to your diet, you’re going to notice that your berries taste more berry-er, and your potatoes taste poato-y-er and food just tastes GOOD! It has so much more flavor, and when you eat you get fuller faster, and stay satiated longer and you’ll start to feel better. You may think you feel fine now, but I’m telling you, once you almost fully convert to organic foods, you’ll be amazed at just how great you feel and just how lousy you used to feel, but just had no idea. You’d never think that food could have such a profound impact on our overall health and wellness. Especially since the mainstream media, most doctors and the government would have us believe that the only way to be healthy is to eat fake food, and take a lot of pills.
So tell me, what questions do you have regarding Real Food and/or what is your biggest concern when it comes to this whole “Real Food” journey? Share in the comments below. Chances are if you have a concern or question, someone else does also!
Until later, Love people! Cook them Real and tasty food!
Source for Fork in the Road image: http://compellingparade.com/2011/07/a-fork-in-the-road/
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.