What is real food?
It seems like a simple question, and many of us who have been making significant lifestyle changes in order to eat real food already know the answer.
But for those who are just starting out, or have not yet made the decision to eat well and be healthy, discovering the difference between real food and what they sell in the supermarkets may be both surprising and life-changing.
What is Real Food?
Real food is simply the food that people consumed up until the very recent past.
It's probably not the food that most of us grew up on, such as sugary cereals or ready-made meals you can make right out of the box or can. It's certainly not the genetically modified food (GMOs) that you have probably purchased at your local grocery store.
Nor is it the somewhat edible but not easily digestible brand name foods that contain refined sugar or white flour, and that are filled with preservatives and other toxic ingredients that are not good for your body.
Real food is basically food you can grow, food from pasture-fed animals, food that hasn't been processed, refined or synthesized, and food that has not been genetically modified by botanists who work for corporations like Monsanto (who also makes pesticides, many of which they also claim are “safe”).
Real food, unfortunately, is not what you are likely to find in your local grocery store. More than 70% of all the food you can buy on the shelves at your local commercial market is not real. It is fake food.
Food as a Commodity
So why is there so much fake food out there? Why do the “experts” tell you to buy fake butter, called margarine, which contains trans fats rather than the good fats you can get in real butter?
Why is it easier to go to the store and buy Crisco to cook with, which has no nutritional value, instead of lard, which is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin D?
Why are egg-beaters sold to people who want to be healthy, rather than real eggs, which are a powerful source of nutrients when they come from pasture-raised hens?
Fake food is mostly about corporate profit, and the desire of industrialized producers to make food a commodity that yields the highest profit possible. Selling food at high volume at the smallest cost means larger profits, even if you have to ship your product thousands of miles in order to get it on grocery store shelves.
Add to this other social factors that historically converged with the interests of the corporate food industry in order to create demand. The widespread entrance of women into the work force, for example, resulted is a dynamic that made it seemingly more convenient to eat fake food than real food.
Our lives are too full, too busy and too fast-paced, we are told, to make and eat real food. How much easier it is to pick up something in a box or can at the grocery store, heat and serve, a meal for the entire family in 20 minutes!
Its also a plus (from the perspective of the corporate food industry) if your additives are addictive, or if your genetically modified foods are bigger than normal and can last longer so they still look edible when they finally reach store shelves.
Unfortunately, mass produced foods not only often involve inhumane practices, but also devalue the final product by decreasing the nutritional content. Unhealthy ingredients are also added in order to make the food last longer that are harmful to digestion and the human body.
The Contribution of Weston A Price
In the 1920s, Weston A. Price was a dentist who noticed that the health of his patients seemed to be decreasing. People were getting diabetes and heart disease, having digestive problems, and dying of cancer at increased levels. Why?
He suspected the problem may have something to do with the increase in industrial food practices. In order to test his hypothesis, he needed a control group. He had to find populations where the people were not suffering from the kinds of health problems that were beginning to show up in the United States and other industrialized countries.
The main difference between the pre-industrial populations that Weston A. Price researched and ours had to do with diet. They did not suffer from the ailments that we do. There was a statistically significant difference between their low numbers of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and the increasing incidences of these symptoms in industrialized nations. They did not eat refined sugar, foods prepared with white flour, food processed and canned on mass production levels, or foods with additives and preservatives.
Instead, in these far healthier societies, the people ate real food, the food that humans have prepared and consumed for thousands of years — enzyme-rich, fermented foods, unprocessed and unrefined, food that did not come to them in a can. And they were healthier than we are.
Meanwhile, people who got their food from our “more efficient” mass-produced food industry continued to suffer from its symptoms. Things have not improved since then.
Why Should You Care
Our bodies function better on real food than on denatured, addictive and unhealthy fake foods. Fake food leads to heart disease and diabetes. Fake foods are harder for our digestive system to process, which can lead to a number of other problems, including weight gain, lack of energy, allergies, insomnia, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, and can even contribute to mental conditions such as chronic depression.
Eating real food can make a huge difference. It did for me.
I used to suffer from gluten intolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal exhaustion, multiple chemical sensitivites, chronic sinus infections and seasonal allergies. On top of that, I had rheumatoid arthritis. I took specific steps, including lifestyle changes to eat nutrient rich real food, as well as supplement my diet with therapeutic grade probiotics. As a result, I was able to reverse my food allergies.
You can read more about my story here.
Switching from fake food to real food made a huge difference in my life.
It can for you too.
What is Your Experience?
Are you a real foodie? How have you made changes in your life in order to eat better and be healthier? How has your family responded? Comment below!
Photo credit: Local/homegrown omelet