Real Food Rules
We’re going to discuss my Real Food Rules today. (Insert cheers and clapping and confetti throwing here) I briefly mentioned these rules in yesterday’s post.
The article is titled “My Food Rules” will be a permanent page that you can access any time you’d like from the ORANGE MENU BAR towards the top of my blog. This article will be under the heading INGREDIENT 411. Each time I add a new article or page to the menu bar I will also feature it as a post. This way you know these articles exist, you’ll get to read them, and you’ll also know exactly where to find them. I invite you to click on the Menu Bar Headings and hover over each of them. Some have drop down menus that bring you to additional articles and resources that I feel you will find helpful.
Tomorrow I’ll post a recipe for you guys. I have many more articles to publish, so I hope you enjoy this one. I’d love feedback. I’d also like to know if you feel I may have missed any ingredients that should be in this list. Shoot me an email and let me know, or write a comment at the end of this post. Thanks guys!
Real Food Rules
If you’ve read any part of MY STORY, you’ll know that my journey to becoming Real Food Girl: Unmodified took over a decade. I started slow, had periods of apathy and laziness, coupled by being severely overwhelmed by all the information I was learning through research and by all the things I knew I shouldn’t eat vs. what I wanted to eat, and it took me some time to get to where I am today.
If I can help you avoid some of the frustration, confusion, anxiety, rebellion, laziness, lack of support that I dealt with while trying to change my eating habits, by sharing how I got started, and by giving you the guidelines and rules I follow than I will. I cannot express enough the importance of understanding that this IS a journey. In my opinion a journey never really ends. There are just too many facets to a good journey and I would just enjoy the pilgrimage and accompany me and other Real Food bloggers in whatever way works for you personally, and, for your family. My advice is to not compare your progress of making changes to someone else’s progress. We all move at different speeds and not everyone will have those “light bulb moments” as quickly as everyone else.
Did you know that it took watching the documentary titled GENETIC ROULETTE for me to pull my proverbial head out of my proverbial toosh and put into action everything that I’d learned over the past 10 years about food? Yep! It did. It’s like a switch was flipped in my head and it became more than head knowledge– it became heart knowledge, too. I went from that aloof attitude of “Yeah, yeah, I know… I know… to being humbled by this information and finally “getting it”. After I watched that documentary, the very next day we made drastic changes and threw out a ton of “food” from our pantry and from that day forward we no longer shop at our local chain grocery stores. That documentary provided me the kick in the pants I needed to make the changes that I should have made years ago. That documentary was the catalyst to making me Real Food Girl: Unmodified.
Now we only shop at the Co-op, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I will only go to my local grocery store for rawhide for the dogs, and paper products. Yes, they do sell organic food there, but it is much more expensive than the other places that we shop and the quality is worse than the conventional produce they offer.
I’ll leave you with this example of how everyone is at a different place in their journey to eating Real/Whole foods. I still eat sugar. It’s organic, but it’s sugar. It’s processed. I’m not at a place yet where I’m ready to
give it up, nor do I know if I ever fully will. Nevertheless I am eating about 60% less sugar than I used to and that is progress! You control your progress. You will advance as quickly or slowly as you like because it’s YOUR journey.
Be respectful of where other people are if they’re not as far along as you, and understand that someone further along in their journey than you are might just be a little excited and passionate when it comes to helping you move further along in yours. Come along side someone who is new to this lifestyle and encourage and guide them. Walk in patience, mercy, grace and most of all respect people and their progress.
Like most families today, we’re on a tight budget. When I shop I aim to buy as many Certified Organic and non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and non-GE (Genetically Engineered– like Salmon; aka Frankenfish) items as possible. Sometimes that isn’t always an option. For those times when I may not be able to purchase something that is fully organic, I work to avoid purchasing any food, whether processed or whole (like produce, dairy and meats) that contains GMOs or is GE.
One of the ways that I avoid buying those GMOs is by reading labels, and knowing the top 10 GMO crops. A second way is that I will follow my Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 list, when it comes to produce, and finally, I’ll use the “Real Food Rules” to help direct me when it comes to any packaged foods. I made these rules because if I can’t buy 100% certified organic, then I’m at least going to be very wise about what I do buy.
If I find myself in need of purchasing processed foods such as a can of soup, box of cereal, chicken stock, frozen pizza, cookies, chips, pasta, yogurt, I will use these Real Food Rules to ensure I’m purchasing something safe to eat. If the product lines up with my rules, I will buy it. If not, I come up with another option because I really don’t feel well when I put certain fake ingredients into my body.
I can’t help you on your journey if I’m not honest about mine. If I don’t practice what I preach, then I’m just another gum-flapping, hot-air-blowing idiot with a keyboard who thinks they can tell you what you should do, all while stuffing Cheetos down their pie-hole. I’ll be darned if I’m going to be one of those people! I live this! I’m not only all about Real food, but about being real as well.
Below are the “Real Food Rules” that I apply to any processed food, or any food item that isn’t labeled as GMO-Free or Organic. I will discuss the harmful side effects of these ingredients in separate articles here in the blog. I felt it was important to at least get the list of ingredients you shouldn’t consume posted so you could get started on limiting to eliminating your consumption of these ingredients.
Real Food Girl Rules:
- No MSG: MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
- MSG has other aliases such as: Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Yeast, Autolyzed Yeast, Natural Flavors, Vegetable Protein Extract, Yeast Extract, Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Textured Protein, Soy Protein Isolates, Barley Malt, Calcium Caseinate, Malt Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, celery juice/extract, and Autolyzed Protein.
- No Artificial Dyes or Artificial Colors:
- It’s easy to decipher ingredient lists that contain artificial food coloring. Look for any color followed by a number (e.g. Blue 1 or Yellow No.6). Of particular concern are Yellow No.5, Blue No.2, and Red No.3.
- Nothing with the words “ENRICHED”:
- It means they’ve stripped away the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals of a food and then added in synthetic ones after the food was processed to a point where it really is no longer a real food.
- No Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (one of MSG’s hidden names):
- Foods that can contain this ingredient are: soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips, and dressings.
- Nothing with the words “BLEACHED”:
- The bleaching process removes most of the nutrients, and you end up with an empty calorie/nutrient deficient “food”.
- No Artificial Preservatives:
- Such as Nitrates and Nitrites:
- No Artificial Flavors and Nothing that says “Flavored”:
- There is an abundance of “Flavored” products in stores including everything from oatmeal to cream cheese to beverages to yogurts. Believe me, these manufacturers are going to use a lot more sugar, salt, oil, and unrecognizable ingredients than you would use to flavor these foods at home.
- No Carrageenan:
- A fat replacing additive, carrageenan is a stabilizer/thickener/filler substance derived from red seaweed. This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t bastardize it during processing and create a harmful substance in the process.
- Nothing No-Fat or Low-Fat or Sugar Free:
- When they remove the fat, they have to add something back in to replace that fat. Generally synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners are added in as well as a lot more sugar and sodium to make it taste good.
- No Polysorbate 60 or 80:
- I’ll cover why to avoid these in a separate article. Just be aware that these ingredients are also found in vaginal itch creams, acne medications, it’s used to make yoga mats, and much more.
- No Hydrogenated Oils or Partially Hydrogenated Oils:
- If it’s hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated it’s a trans-fat. You might as well consume melted plastic food storage containers.
- No Soy:
- This also means no other forms of soy, as in soybean oil, soy lecithin, soy milk unless it is Non-GMO Project Certified.
- No Corn:
- Or any corn derivative such as corn syrup, HFCS, corn sugar. Unless it is Non-GMO Project Certified.
- No Sugar:
- Unless it states “organic cane sugar” on the label. If it says organic “cane sugar”, I’ll buy it. If it just says “sugar” it is most likely made from sugar beets, which are a GMO corn.
- No Canola or Cotton Oil: (unless organic)
- Coconut, Ghee (clarified butter) and olive oils are better. Choose a high quality olive oil- preferably one that has been imported.
- No HFCS: (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
- Don’t let the commercials pull the wool over your eyes. It may come from corn, but what happens to the “corn” as they process it makes it deadly and addicting.
- No Sucralose, Sorbitol, Malitol:
- These are artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols- hard on the stomach and can make you gassy, or give you leaky butt- as in if you toot, you may need to change yer undies!
- No ASPARTAME:
- Found under the names Equal, NutraSweet, Equal, Splenda or Truvia. Use straight Stevia only if you must have a non-sugar sweetener.
- No Acesulfame k, Ace K:
- Another very bad fake sweetener.
- No Xanthan Gum:
- Processed using petrochemicals. I don’t want to eat petrochemicals. Do you?
- No Phenylalanine or Phenylketonurics:
- These are often found in diet sodas, beverages and sugar free gums, and other sugar free products. They are neurotoxins and they kill brain cells
- No BVO: Brominated Vegetable Oil.
- It’s a flame retardant used to increase the weight of the oil in a beverage so it doesn’t rise to the top, and the oil then serves to keep fat-soluble citrus flavors in suspension.
- No Olestra:
- An indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked.
- No Benzoate Preservatives:
- Such as: BHT, BHA, TBHQ
- Be weary of anything with the words “Natural”, “Natural Flavors”, “All Natural”:
- Not to be crude, but boogers are “All Natural”, and just because they are does not mean I want to eat them, nor that I should eat them. Generally when you see the word “Natural” listed alone or preceding another word like “Flavors, Colors, or Ingredients”, it means that you should seriously re-think buying it. I’ll explain more of why in a future article. Generally those natural flavors are MSG related, or “natural” chemicals that are toxic to humans.
Once you have this list of ingredients memorized you can add this to what you already know about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, and you can start by choosing 1-3 items on this list that you’re going to work on eliminating from your diet and your home. Once you’ve reached success with those, pick 1 or 2 more items to implement/change and keep going until you’re fully switched over to Real/Whole foods and you’re avoiding as many harmful ingredients as possible.
The Stud Muffin (hubby) and I started by eliminating HFCS from our diets first. That was the very first step that I eliminated. The second step we took was to never buy anything that was No-fat or Low-Fat/Reduced-fat or Sugar-Free. NF/SF (no fat, sugar free). I learned early on from my nutritionist that no/low-fat and sugar free were bad news “foods”. I’ll talk more about those in future articles here on the blog.
If you have any questions, or know of other harmful, or fake, or toxic ingredients that we should be avoiding, feel free to EMAIL ME with the information and I’ll add it to this list.
I wish you nothing but the best of luck on your decision to make serious changes in your diet. Switching over to Real/Whole foods is an exciting decision and you’ll get lots of ideas, support and encouragement from me!
This article is featured over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop‘s blog. Check out this weeks installment of Real Food Wednesdays for more articles, resources and recipes to assist you with your Real Food goals.
Photo of the Green Apple (edited by Real Food Girl,) found at this blog: Eating Rules.Com
Featured Photo Image from: Health and Wellness Essentials
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.
Aspartame and other sugar alchohols are in everything (almost)! Be very careful folks.
I have a complete intollerance to this stuff. I can’t even use Colgate toothpaste without the skin in my mouth dieing, having severe headaches and diarrhea. YUCK!
If you are intollerant to sugar alcohols like me take a clost look at your beauty products.
It’s even in soap! I noticed this when I was in the hospital of all places!!!
Real Food Girl
I had no idea it was in soap- that’s terrible! I just found out it is in my fiber powder. I can’t stand Aspartame and Ace-K. Those ingredients are everywhere. I can’t handle sugar alcohols, either. 🙁 Sucralose and Sorbitol are the hardest on my system. Glad you liked the article!
AWESOME POST! Thank you. You are so clear and consice. This is wonderful. I have to tell you that I am among those who have a complete intollerance to sugar alcohols. As in, I cannot us Colgate toothpaste without the skin in my mouth dieing, having terribel headaches and diarrhea. This crap is EVERYWHERE!
I hope others with this intollerance will take a look at their beauty products, its even in soap! I noticed this when I was at he hospital.
Real Food Girl
Wow! That’s really high praise! Thanks!
Hi – Just found you from one of your comments over on Real Mom Nutrition’s FB page and so glad I did! Feeling quite overwhelmed trying to make big and important changes to my own food intake and my family’s intake as well. Maybe this is a lame question, but when it comes to low- and non- fat dairy, is it the same as for other low- and non- fat foods, or is it just a matter of how it’s processed, i.e. another step in the process? Thanks for putting all of this info in one place! Incredibly helpful!
Real Food Girl
Hi Anna, Thanks for reaching out. Welcome and I’m glad you found me, too! 🙂
To answer your question- essentially anything that states it is low fat, reduced fat, or non-fat has been highly processed to remove that fat and then other unecessary ingredients have been added to make up for the lack of fat. You take out the fat and you mess with taste and texture, so emulsifiers, thickeners, sugars and more salt need to be added, even MSG to make the product taste good. You would be much better off in buying whole fat products.
If whole fat/full fat organic dairy isn’t in the budget, start with finding dairy that comes from cows that aren’t treated with rBST or rBGH or rBHT (hormones) or antibiotics. They are also going to start putting aspartame into milk (fake sweetener manufactured by Monsanto) so eventually organic is going to be the only safe option. Raw milk from a local farm is worth looking into as well. It’s illegal in most states, but if you buy a share of a cow you can get it legally if I’m not mistaken. 🙂
If you have a local co op near by or a Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare, or Whole Foods near you, the organic dairy will be much cheaper at those stores than the organic from your local conventional grocery store. Milk is $2-3 more per gallon at our regular/conventional grocery store than it is at TJ’s WF’s or EF. Pretty sad! No wonder people think organic is a rip off!
I understand about feeling overwhelmed. Trust me. I still feel it as I research and gather information to write for the blog. Email me at kristine at real food girl unmodified dot com (no spaces) if you want to discuss things more or find me on my facebook page which is under Real Food Girl: Unmodified
I hope this helps.
The Provision Room
GREAT list of rules!!!! Easily avoidable if a family gets used to cooking from scratch!
Our rule of thumb is if you cannot purchase it as an ingredient, you shouldn’t buy it as an ingredient in other packaged food! In other words, you can’t buy a bottle of Benzoate at the local market. So, it should be OK to eat no matter where it shows up. The rule doesn’t work across the board because you can actually buy MSG and some of the other things on the list. But for the most part, it works. 🙂
(Stopping by from Tasty Traditions!)
Real Food Girl
Thanks for stopping by! I agree with your comments. Did you mean to say that it should NOT be okay to eat it no matter where it shows up?