What is Real Food and Why Should You Care?

What is Real Food and Why Should You Care?

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

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

6 thoughts on “What is Real Food and Why Should You Care?

  1. Since July of 2012 I’ve been on the GAPS diet. At age 56 I had to take a family medical leave of absence from my teaching position at a nearby Waldorf School. I was chronically dizzy, I had developed hypothyroidism, migraines, I was 50 lbs overweight despite trying to exercise and watch calories, and my adrenals were shot. I had arthritis everywhere but particularly in my neck where strange bursae had developed on my spine and in general I had become weak and sick. No standard AMA doc. seemed to be able to help me. I had tried dozens of pharmaceuticals prescribed by my team of doctors. I started to get regular acupuncture treatments and my chiropractor suggested that I go off of wheat for a month. I read Wheat Belly and went off wheat immediately. I kept reading, and found the Weston A. Price website, I discovered the GAPS diet and Cheeseslave, which was the first real food blog I began reading.

    Now I’m well on my way to healing. I’ve lost 30lbs eating real food and I continue to follow the GAPS diet in order to heal my digestive problems. I have a ways to go but I am able to work part time again and my energy level is much improved.

    When the “fat free” craze hit in the 70’s and 80’s I was on board with all that stuff. I think some of the best years of my life were wasted because I fell for all the dietary advice given through the American Heart Association and all the myths around fats and cholesterol. My dream is to proceed as a Farm-Based Educator here in my rural home. I have children come out here and learn to do “real work” and I teach children to do grow and prepare real food. I raise chickens for meat and eggs, sheep for wool and meat and we grow a garden and have real true breeding corn being grown. There are 40+ apple trees and working hives of bees. I have worked at a biodynamic CSA this past year in order to receive a box of food every week. Real Food has saved my life. Thanks for reading.

  2. I’m also a Real Foodie and I’m really thankful to have discovered real food early on, in my mid 20s before I had kids. I was raised on real food as a child in Russia, there really wasn’t much fake and prepackaged food there prior to the 90s. Cooking from scratch was just a fact of life and what my mom did like everyone else. Fast forward to immigrating to the U.S. when I was 11, when we first went to the grocery store we were all like “Wow, what an amazing variety of food!” Little did we know that this wasn’t really ‘food’ and mostly just chemicals, GMOs, and petroleum based additives. So I was eating a lot of these ‘food like products’ for about 12-13 years. Thankfully, my mother still made a lot of food from scratch, otherwise my health would have plummeted more.

    A lot of my health problems resolved after switching to real food. I blog and write about that and raising kids at Eco-Babyz 🙂

  3. I grew up mostly on real foods (although behind the iron curtain the quality of food was questionable). But from around the age of 10, the iron curtain fell and we started getting all those exciting Western products. I remember getting obsessed with corn flakes, Sprite and all kinds of candies. Then my mum started cooking fish fingers all the time – you know, the frozen ones. It’s difficult to find many things that would be more processed and useless. Obviously, our health plummeted, and I started suffering from acne, constipation, fatigue, heart palpitations, etc. My sister eventually developed lymphoma. My mum had really high blood pressure and palpitations for 30 years – none of the medications were able to help. My dad was badly overweight.

    Once I discovered the real food diet, I got rid of all my symptoms, and my family did as well. Luckily, they do whatever I tell them to do. 🙂 My husband and I went Paleo, my parents and sister aren’t fully Paleo but they have eliminated sugar and are limiting grains. They are all super healthy – all health issues are gone, they never catch colds anymore and we’re just all feeling so much happier.

    We seriously need more people spreading these messages around the world. Thanks for this post!

  4. Thank you so much for creating this blog! I am desperate for a healthier lifestyle and a huge part of that is changing my eating habits. I am a junk food junkie and I know that is horrible for me…but I have no idea where to begin. How do you take that first step? How do I stop craving potato chips & Krispy Kremes? Is it just a matter of willpower? Help!

    1. Craving for junk food is a symptom of nutrient deficiencies.
      After eating real food for a while, the deficiencies are improved and the cravings go away.
      When there are a bunch of donuts, cookies etc in the break room now, I have no urge to eat them. I just like to look at them. Briefly.

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