What exactly is real food?
That is a very good question and one that deserves an answer. Food is defined as “any substance eaten to provide nutritional support to the body”. Many of the things we eat and/or drink on a regular basis today do not provide any nutritional support to our bodies or indeed our minds. As a consequence we get headaches, colds, sinuses get blocked up, we wake up feeling groggy, our skin is dry or breaks out, our digestive systems leave us feeling uncomfortable and the list goes on.
Foods, as in real foods have some similar characteristics and include the following:
They are not overly refined.
The plant or animal has the ability to reproduce. Genetically modified (GM) foods are becoming more and more prominent in the foods available in supermarket shelves. Animals fed GM grains have trouble reproducing in the 2nd and 3rd generation.
It degrades. If it was alive, it should die, that is the natural order and anything we put in our mouth should eventually, of its own accord return to dust (unlike the happy meal in the pictures below…). Food left out should change shape and texture, should start to smell and/or grow mold, it should attract insects….delightful I know but an essential component of real food.
Has a unique taste. Apples taste different to cheddar cheese, fish tastes different to rice. In the same way real foods have unique textures distinguishing them from other real foods.
No two apples look alike, no two carrots look alike. If you have been used to buying food from big supermarkets where the only fruit and vegetables allowed on the shelves are those which have conformed to a specific size and shape you may be surprised at the amazing variety in each plant. Variety is the spice of life and this is also true in the fruit and vegetable kingdom.
Finally, real food has it’s own smell and by the smell you can usually tell whether or not it has gone off. Most processed vegetable oils smell nothing like the seeds they came from which tells us that any of the goodness of the seed has been removed.
If you read the ingredients on a package and can’t understand most of the words – the chances are it’s not real food. Leave it on the shelf!
If you or your family have been eating a lot of processed foods it may take some time to re-train your taste buds to the flavours, textures and smells of real food, so take it slowly and know that each change you make is going to have a lasting beneficial impact on your health in years to come AND you will really begin to enjoy the variety in the food you are eating.