Real food has many definitions, but simply put, it’s food that our ancestors used to eat. None of this high fructose corn syrup “stuff.” No cereal with marshmallows in it. Milk that came from a cow on the farm, not one forced to stand in a stall their entire life. The chemicals that are put into food are an issue right now, and they are causing diseases that never existed before. It’s time for a change.
Content courtesy of The Essential Baker
So how can you make the switch to cooking with real food? It’s actually easier and not as expensive as most people think.
Stay away from refined sugars and grains
White sugar, high fructose corn syrup, any ingredients that end in “ose”, enriched wheat flour, etc. These are all things to stay away from. Look for products sweetened with fruit juice, honey, or maple syrup. Three genuine, natural sweeteners that you could also use at home. For refined grains, eat and cook with real whole wheat. If the first ingredient isn’t whole grain wheat, move on. If it says enriched, it’s not truly whole grain wheat. Refining these things means that the good stuff is taken out, and then put back in with chemicals, scientifically created vitamins and minerals, etc. It’s far healthier to just eat whole grain products, and you would be surprised at how many you can find in the store! Make muffins for snacks, homemade bread, 100% whole grain rolled oats for oatmeal, pancakes with whole wheat flour, the list goes on and on.
Drink real whole milk
You can pick up a half gallon of organic whole milk at most grocery stores for $3/$4. You might say “yes, but my family goes through a gallon or more a week!” The goal with eating real food is to be conservative with expensive items. Instead of drinking a glass of milk, try flavored water. Instead of using milk with cereal, try yogurt and granola. There are many alternative options. You can substitute almond or soy milk in 99% of recipes as well.
Eat and cook with grass fed meats and when possible, organic
This is pretty straight forward. The “cheap” and “on sale” meats are almost never grass fed, or organic. Similar to milk, healthy meats are going to be expensive, cut back on eating them. Instead of having meat for every meal, replace 2-3 meals a week with meatless options. Purchase whole chickens and turkeys to cook instead of cuts, it will be much cheaper and you can makes stocks out of it as well. Anything that needs “frying” should be done with coconut oil, since it’s natural and healthy. (There are other oil options similar to coconut oil as well versus vegetable oil and peanut oil.)
Eat as many fruits and veggies as you can
Ditch the fruit snacks and packaged treats for a natural option. If your child is hungry, give them an orange or a banana. Apples and natural peanut butter (the only ingredient required for this is peanuts, honestly) are a great treat! No cooking needed there!
Changing some simple things and ways that you cook can make a world of a difference in your health and energy levels in a very short amount of time. Pair this with a trip to the gym for exercise or a walk three times a week, and you are well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle!
What do you think of these real food tips? I would love to hear your ideas, too, so leave a comment!