Real Food For Life with The Real Food Lifestyle
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What Is The Real Foods Diet?
When you hear the terms Real Food Lifestyle or Real Foods Diet, it might make you think about some new kind of fad diet that’s touted by every new-age mystic, but what it really means is that you eat fresh whole foods in their natural state.
Sounds good, no? Maybe.
Let’s Talk A Little About The Real Food Lifestyle
The difference between the real food diet and the whole foods diet is in how strict you are with what you eat, with the real food diet being more strict.
Indeed, if someone adopts this lifestyle in earnest then they can become very strict.
But generally speaking, the real foods diet means things like organic vegetables, freshly collected milk, fresh eggs, home baked breads, freshly cut meats, etc. You can see the trend here.
Some even go so far as eating the food raw because it’s more close to its natural state, a state that is often deemed as better by the real food lifestyle folks. The reasoning behind this is questionable, though, and the arguments around raw and cooked food continue.
Raw Food Gives Real Food Nutrition?
Granted, some raw dieters won’t assent to this reasoning, and will instead say they eat raw food because it’s better and more healthy for you. But this is not true, and over the long term you’ll likely end up deficient in nutrients and antioxidants.
What raw food actually has going for it is that you often need to eat more volume for the same amount of calories since cooking can increase the available calories, which is almost certainly why studies repeatedly show that eating raw food results in less body fat.
For sure though, remaining satiated during rapid weight loss is certainly something that raw food has going for it.
But rapid weight loss is ill-advised in the first place (for various reasons), so do this instead.
The Final Answer To The Raw And Cooked Food Argument?
In closing, it’s safe to say that the correct response to these arguments is that you should eat both raw and cooked food.
Mostly cook things where it makes a lot of sense—like meat (and generally things protein) and vegetables.
Mostly eat raw where it makes a lot of sense (like fruits).
Make a judgement call in the moment with other things depending on current preferences—there’s nothing wrong with eating a bit of raw cauliflower if you like it or cooking an apple, just like there’s also nothing wrong with the opposite of these things.
So If Raw Food Is Not The Way To Go, Is Procesed Food A Good Idea?
Potentially, but we don’t want to be jumping from one extreme (raw) to another (ultra-processed).
Having ultra-processed foods as the bulk of our diet can in fact be bad because, for the most part, the more we process food the less minerals, vitamins, and nutrients it contains.
So, a middle ground is what we should be after—assuming health is our overall goal, of course. And this is where real foods and whole foods come in.
Organic And Real Has Got To Be Advisable Though, No?
Well, it depends, and we think that this actually depends on your motives more than anything else.
If your motive is that organic means pesticide free then this is false.
If your motive is that it’s healthier due to less or more natural chemicals then this is not necessarily the case.
If it’s because it’s healthier due to being fresher, then this maybe the case.
But, depending on the produce, frozen stuff is still good and sometimes better (although also sometimes worse), and it’s markedly cheaper.
The idea that organic produce is safer and healthier than non-organic produce has been debated for years—and will likely continue to be due to the idealogical undertones.
However, if your argument and motives for organic and real is that it tastes better, or you want to support more local farmers, or you like the culture and social interaction more (or a whole bunch of other things that you personally prefer for whatever reason), then these are all personal reasons to go organic and real and there’s no argument to be made against them. It’s your call.
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Anyway, that’s enough of the arguments, let’s get stuck into some principles of The Real Food Lifestyle!
Basic Rules Of The Real Food Lifestyle
Foods That You Should Eat In The Real Foods Diet
As shown previously, foods that are heavily processed can lose nutrients—nutrients that you are trying to get by eating them in the first place.
As such, the real food lifestyle promotes always trying to use the freshest, most naturally grown foods you can.
Washing produce is also good practice (whereever it comes from) so as to remove pesticide residue and other contaminants that may remain on the skin.
Wild Caught Seafood
If you choose to eat seafood, try to make sure that you only get seafood that was caught wild.
Pond stuff is not the best due to generally lower omega-3 (the omega 3 actually comes from the algae eaten by the fish).
Diseases in pond stuff can also be more common.
Make Your Own Bread or Find a Bakery
Having a bread maker is a great way to make sure that the bread you eat is up to the real foods standard that you’re attempting.
All you have to do is put the ingredients into the machine at the appropriate times, and within a couple of hours (depending on the load you’ve decided to make), you’ll end up having some great homemade bread.
Homemade breadmaking can get a little expensive mind, so if you don’t want to make your own bread then find a local bakery that produces breads that are up to your real foods standards.
Eat Locally Raised Meats
Try your best to find a local source for meats. Grass fed cows are best due to higher omega 3 content.
Eat Dried Fruits and Nuts
Fruit that has been dried can be a great source of nutrition (although it’s high calorie, so care with that if you’re concerned about your weight).
If you want to get extra adventurous, you can make a trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit (but again, high calorie).
You can use honey and natural peanut butter as natural sweeteners and to create an instant treat that your entire family or friend circle can enjoy.
Add some cran raisins and you have the perfect fast healthy snack to get you out the door.
Foods to Limit
It should go without saying that doing your best to stay away from an army of sweats and other ultra-processed calories is very much in-tune with the real foods diet ideal.
But here’s the main points:
Fast food can often be viewed as low nutrient dense food, so it’s not what you’re looking for.
Grains that have been refined into a powder or paste with no visible grains of fiber will have less than ideal nutrional value.
How to Prepare Ahead of Time
Meal planning is nearly always at the center of a successful diet, and as you get more experience meal planning will become easier and you’ll probably find that you enjoy the process.
Only get what you really know you’ll need.
Find out what foods you think you’ll be making. Be sure to include items that you can grab quickly, especially that are satisfying in the event of a strong craving.
Plan for the space where it needs to be stored. You’ll have to take into account that there’ll probably be some plastic containers needed, so find out what they might be and plan accordingly.
Go to the store to shop, purchase any and all materials related to storing your food for the week, or month. Buy decent containers that can seal well. They might be slightly more expensive, but it’s worth it. You’ll probably need a good amount of bags and at least 3 different sizes of containers.
Get home with your goods and follow the plan you created to sort and store the foods from your grocery trip.
The Reals Foods Diet On A Budget?
People often think that the real foods diet is expensive, and it can be—local, organic produce is not cheap, after all. But we can make it work with a little forethought:
Tips for Saving Money
If you’re someone who is just starting out, or you’re hitting hard times, it’s still quite possible to get healthy meals, you just have to be more selective about which ingredients you choose to purchase (and be ready to think ahead).
And in order to get the most out of your purchases, you’ll want to ensure that you:
Get things that can go together in a few different combinations.
When you get ingredients that are only good for one kind of meal you run the risk of letting those ingredients go bad, which means losing money due to throwing them out.
Buy in bulk
And divide the bulk into smaller portions for meal preparation.
If you don’t have enough of an ingredient in the meal you’ve prepared then simply add another portion to what’s already cooking.
One of the advantages to this style of food prep is that the smaller meals aren’t a huge deal and effort to make.
Food waste can be a huge drain on finances for a family, and it’s a huge waste globally, too. The average american wastes nearly 300 kilograms of the stuff per year!
Food waste is money waste.
Make Your Own Condiments
If you make them yourself, you will have healthier and fresher versions of the sauces that you love. Homemade ranch, ketchup, and hot sauce can save you a lot of money.
Homemade condiments don’t need anything other than the basics: the vegetable matter, seasonings, and to cook them for the appropriate amount of time.
Grow Herbs for Yourself
It’s relatively cheap to grown herbs indoors. They also grow quickly and don’t require a lot of water or nutrients or looking after.
A small window box will prove useful.
Making your own condiments and growing your own herbs shouldn’t feel like a chore and should actually be something you’re keen to get involved in if you want to get into the real food lifestyle.
After all, buying stuff in packets and bottles is not part of the real foods diet mindset.
Create Meals That Can Be Repurposed
Have you ever made a batch of rice or beans that just sits in the fridge until it grows a beard? A way to combat this is to make food in a way that makes it transformable.
For example, when you make ground beef, beans or rice, you can leave it plain so that it can be seasoned in a way that gives it the character that you want at whatever time you want it.
Another benefit to this is that the bulk of the food is already prepared and it takes much less time to finalize.
Stocking Up on Bulk Dry Foods
Stocking up on dry food can save you a lot of money, particularly over the course of a year. All you need is a place to keep a large quantity of it.
For example, small 4 – 8 oz bags of rice can often cost at least $1.50 – $2.00 (2020 prices), but compare that to a 10 lb bag of rice for $5 – $7.
Buy Food Directly from a Grower
When you really put your mind to it, it’s a pretty easy thing to eat healthy (just eat whole foods), and if you are lucky enough to live near a grower then you could try to make a deal with them to purchase their fresh foods.
This will help both yourself and the farmer at the same time because they’re keeping their inventory flowing and making sales.
Plus you’ll make a new friend in your community and be well on your way to feeling the real food lifestyle camaraderie.
Stock Up on Foods You Can Just Grab
When you’re at the store, you probably notice how cheap bananas and fruits like them can be. Stocking up on these fruits and veggies can be a great aid in helping you stay the course with your diet.
These fruits also promote gut health, so they’re always good to have around anyway.
…and Buy the Ones You Can Freeze
Have you noticed how well fruits like berries last in the freezer? Try to keep a heavy rotation of these great fruits around because they keep very well.
They also make great treats for breakfast replacements because they make excellent smoothies, or additions to oats or yoghurt.
It’s not only berries that freeze well, either, as bananas and grapes freeze well, too (remember to peel and slice the banana first).
Try Making Your Own Probiotic at Home
If you’re still feeling excited about the road to your new lifestyle then the last thing you’ll need to get started with is to introduce a homemade probiotic into your daily or weekly diet.
Probiotics can promote gut health by introducing live strains of the kind of bacteria your stomach needs to process certain foods.
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And that, in a nutshell, is The Real Food Lifestyle—or at least a primer to it.
Just Eat Real Food For Life?
The overriding philosophy of the reals foods diet is the pursuit of natural foods for the promotion of health.
How deep you finally decide to go down this eat real food rabbit hole is entirely up to you. Are you going to just eat real food for life? Or are you going to be more moderate with your approach to the real food lifestyle?
Whatever you do, remain reasonable, curious, and cognizant of the appeal to nature fallacy.
Good luck and have fun!
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