If you’re making your meals mostly from natural foods and often preparing them yourself, you’ll notice some positive changes. You don’t have to torment yourself to do it, but make this way of life a habit. Therefore, it is likely that you will keep it for a long time because it has already become a matter of course in your everyday life.
How Do You Recognize Real Food?
You can probably already imagine what we mean by real food. But let’s get more specific. If you choose your food with the following rules in mind, you’ll automatically end up with real food and can’t go wrong:
- Eat mostly plants. Preferably fruits and vegetables. They contain a lot of nutrients and a low energy density. That means they have fewer calories per volume.
- Seeds and nuts are also healthy, but they have a high energy density. Therefore, only eat them in moderation.
- Meat should be the side dish on your plate. It should be as high quality as possible and therefore not come from factory farming.
- Wild plants (and animals) are your best bet.
- Don’t eat anything your great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize as food. Eat traditionally—no matter what tradition it is.
- Products made from whole grains are healthier than products made from refined grains. However, you should only eat whole grain products in moderation.
- Shop in the supermarket in the outer aisles. This is where you can find the fresh products: fruit, vegetables, and the fresh food counters for cheese and meat. Avoid the inner corridors. There are only processed products.
- Buy as close as possible to the producer at the weekly market, directly in the farm shop, or via a fruit and vegetable box.
- Avoid gas station shops, late-night shops, kiosks, etc.
- It isn’t easy, I know, but try to avoid fast-food restaurants as much as possible.
- Avoid products with more than five ingredients or ingredients that you don’t know or can’t pronounce.
- Avoid products that have added sugar.
- Do not eat or drink foods that have been deprived of nutrients (such as low-fat milk), as many other substances are added to compensate.
- Don’t eat anything that is incorruptible.
- Don’t eat anything that has branded packaging or a health claim on it. Such statements are highly dubious and represent a high degree of processing.
The book Food by Michael Pollan inspired this list. With these clues, you will automatically recognize real food. As you can see, it doesn’t mean that a product has to be completely unprocessed.
Some basic foods only exist in processed form. Prominent examples are bread, cheese, yogurt, or sausage. These get by with a few processing steps and a few additives; when assessing whether a product is healthy, the degree of processing is decisive.
The more processing steps a product has undergone and the more additives it contains, the less it has to do with real food.
When in doubt, you should opt for vegetables. You can strike almost unlimitedly with them. Animal products can be good addition but shouldn’t be the focus.
Why You Should Prioritize Real Food
1. Your Eating Culture Improve Almost By Itself
You cannot order real food in the drive-through and eat it carelessly in the car. You have to prepare them yourself first. So you take more time. After a short time, you learn and know your way around the world of nutrition better and better.
You will soon be able to differentiate between good and bad quality without thinking long or reading nutritional information. In this way, you learn to deal with food and give nutrition more importance again. What you cook yourself – even if they are quick recipes – you won’t gobble down in two minutes while walking, standing, or driving.
2. Real Foods are not Complicated
Yes, fresh food is more expensive. You have to take more time for it than for a ready-made lasagne. But they are more straightforward! Eating has gotten complicated today – at least if we want to take care of our health. We’re busy evaluating nutritional information and additives and counting calories.
A healthy diet means no longer thinking about food all the time, not counting or worrying about our weight. Instead, everything should work by itself. This works when we are consuming real food. You don’t need to know much to do that.
We already knew everything we need to know about our food before science and industry told us that everything was very complicated.
They made our diet a science. We now feel that we need advice on how to eat healthily. That’s crazy. No other animal asks for advice on what to eat.
3. Thanks to Real Food! We Can Trust Our Senses Again.
Real food doesn’t trick your senses. They don’t come in big, colorful packaging with clever marketing slogans that tempt us to overeat or consume a product because we want to transfer the brand’s shine onto ourselves.
Instead, you kill two birds with one stone with real food: You do not only eat better but also less. Quality foods contain more nutrients that make us feel better.
You can stop eating when you are full. Since naturally prepared foods contain less of the fateful trio of sugar, fat, and salt, it makes us less addictive. You’ll have a better gut feeling again and know when it’s enough.
5. You Become The Natural Solution
Nature has prepared everything for us. Plants and animals have been part of our food chain for millions of years. We were able to thrive with them and have evolved into the modern person we are today.
This is how nature intended it, and even if we often put ourselves above nature – which rarely goes well – we should better not do it in this case. Our body’s metabolism is made for real food.
Our body is not prepared for the mixed products in large industrial boilers as the mood takes them; neither are our bodies made for the sugar these products contain. As long as you and we live, that won’t change either.
6. Real Food is Good and Healthy For Us
We no longer struggle with fluctuating body weight. It doesn’t go up and down all the time. We generally feel better thanks to the food we cook ourselves, during the meal itself, afterward, and throughout the day.
Instead of sagging tired after a meal, we have the energy we need to start the day. We want to move even more now because the diet promotes our urge to move.
Good calories wish to be burned! As we move more, we also build muscles that increase our basal metabolic rate.
7. Fresh Food Tastes More Better
That’s a tough argument because a big problem with processed food is that it tastes pretty good. This is because most products contain sugar, fat, or salt. With these three components, you can make almost anything taste good.