Have you begun to notice all the various natural living terms that float around the internet and wonder, what’s it all mean? Maybe you’re thinking, what’s the difference between real food, organic food, and whole food? It’s perfectly understandable when those terms are seemingly identical. This article focuses on real food.
Simply put, real food is food that hasn’t been processed through manufacturing prossessing. It is food that grows naturally the way that God intended it to grow. It is vegetables and fruits that haven’t been genetically modified, or sprayed with pesticides, or refined by machines or chemicals. Real food is meat that comes from cattle and poultry that have been allowed to graze and ingest grasses and grains that are native to their diets. It is fish and seafood that have been caught from the wild, rather than mass farmed in fish hatcheries.
Real food are foods that haven’t been mixed with chemicals, synthetics or compounded materials.
The best way to know if you are selecting real foods is to read every ingredient on an ingredient list, you should be fully able to understand what each ingredient is. Purchase your foods from local sources. It’s important to seek out producers who farm with traditional farming methods.
Understanding Real Food
- Beef, Bison, Lamb, Wild Game, Pork, Chicken, Turkey
Grass fed farm raised or wild caught animals that have been allowed to graze freely during the majority of the year. Winter months may require some supplemental grain feed, but grains that are naturally grown. Poultry may be fed a variety of naturally occuring fruits and veggies in addition to whole grains. Processing of the animals include humane slaughter and quickly processing the meat to retain freshness.
Fresh from the dairy, raw whole milk with all of the cream retained is the best possible milk. However, since purchasing raw milk is rarely legal, it all depends upond the laws in your particular state, the next best alternative is low-heat pasteurized, whole milk. This is true for all forms of dairy including cheeses, butter, and creams. Whole, minimally processed milk retains the good fats that your body needs as well as the natrual vitamins, calcium found in fresh from the cow (or goat, or lamb) milk.
The best eggs are those produced by poultry that have been allowed to free roam, sourcing much of their own food from the ground. They are exercised and allowed to feed outside in the fresh air. The color of the egg does not matter but the source does.
We do need a modicum amount of fat in our diets. Good fats contain amino acids and proteins necessary for the proper functioning of our digestive systems, joints, and muscles. But, we need fats that are sourced from natural sources, not fats that have been overly processed to the point that our bodies do not recognize the substance as food. Good fats include, butter from grass-feed cows, ghee, unrefined coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, lard, and tallow, sourced from free-range meats.
Fish that is caught or trapped fresh from the source where they naturally occur are best for healthy living. Remember, freshest is best.
Fresh seasonal fruit from local sources provide you with the most nourishing sweet treats. Berries are typically fresh in early summer, grapes in late summer, peaches and other stone fruits are found mid-summer, while apples and pears are generally ripe during the fall months. Some fruits, such as bananas may not be native to your location, but you can generally find an organic option from your local real-foods co-op and many grocers now source them as well.
- Grains & Legumes
Whole grains, brown rice, beans, quinoa, nuts, and seeds that have been minimally processed retain the highest nutritional value. Barley, oats, whole wheat berries can be ground at home using a simple coffee or spice grinder to make your own flours. For gluten intolerance utilize alternative gluten-free flours such as: almond, coconut, or rice flours can be used instead.
The best possible meat is butchered from grass-fed, pastured animals. This meas animals such that have been allowed to pastured in wide fields, roaming and sourcing their own foods from the land as much as possible during warm seasons. They eat grass and grains found growing naturally within the pastures where they roam. Use all parts of the meat for best nutrional value, including using bones for nutritious broths. Chicken, beef, lamp, pork, wild game including venison, bison, and boar.
- Spices, Herbs, and Salt
Fresh herbs and spices are absolutely the most flavorful. But, dried herbs from local sources are a good alternative. If you can’t find these in your location, look for organically grown dried herbs and spices from your grocer. Salt is good for sodium, but only if you are using naturally, unrefined salts. Pink salt, gray salt, and natural sea salt contain the most nutrional value and will also aid in balancing the sodium level in your body.
Use sweeteners that are as close to their most natural state as possible. Raw locally prouced honey has the highest health benefits. Pure stevia, erythrotol, or xylitol are excellent alternatives to sugar. Pure local maple syrup is also a good option if you can find it. If sugar is the option you prefer, use unrefined sugar, not white sugar that has been bleached.
Vegetables that are farm grown using old-world farming methods, including the use of naturally occurring fertilizers. These vegetables should be allowed to ripen on-the-vine, or on the stalk, and picked at the height of freshness. It is best to use locally sourced veggies, that are grown in the season you plan to purchase them. One exception are winter veggies that are harvested in late autumn but store well for winter nourishment, such as root vegetables; potatoes, carrots, beets, etc..