Real Food Rules!

Why REAL Food Is What You NEED To Be Eating!

Have you ever found yourself playing a game that you don’t the know rules for? Example: My family is big on board/card/domino games… as in we can’t go more than 15 minutes into a family gathering without some competitive mention of the impending chicken leg (or the like) game that is going to go down later that night… as if we don’t already know that Mammom (my kick-butt great grandmother) is going to win… again. As always.

Well, when my sweet husband came along – he was completely new to the family game world… and (God bless him) his first couple rounds at the table resulted in foul and fail, because let’s face it: he didn’t know the rules. He wasn’t yet accustomed or comfortable with the way we play the game. (Especially when you take into account that we have a different set of rules depending on what parts of the family are playing… Tennessee rules, anyone?)

So, for those of you who read yesterday’s post… we’ve been talking about all that is REAL food. But, as I know I found myself asking constantly when we began this journey… what exactly are the RULES when it comes to real food? And how do you learn to nourish your body without breaking a million rules that you didn’t know existed along the way?

The reality is: it isn’t possible. You are inevitably (as I have) going to break some rules along the way. It’s part of the learning/growing process… and honestly, I’ve found that it is in the failing along the way that I’m reminded why I’m doing this in the first place… and how much better the traditional, nourishing foods are for me.

What are these nourishing foods? And what are the “non-foods” we should avoid? Here is an imperfect list of 7 tips that will hopefully help you get started (but please remember – I’m still learning in this too!)

7 Tips for Real Food

1. Get rid of the processed, from a box stuff that often dominates our pantries. These often have hidden sugars, chemicals, etc. that we shouldn’t put it our bodies! (I personally love Lisa’s suggestion (1oodaysofrealfood.com) of limiting anything processed to having a maximum of 5 ingredients!)

2. Eat LOTS of fresh veggies and fruits (this should be the largest portion of your diet!)

3. Switch to natural, whole fats: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, etc. (Stay away from man-made, chemically engineered stuff like Crisco, Vegetable/Canola Oil, Margarine, etc.)

4. Switch to WHOLE Milk (this was my husband’s favorite transition). Basically, this goes a whole lot deeper into switching away from all “low-fat” products. Think real cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and BUTTER. (I might have just heard Paula Deen squeal all the way from Georgia.)

5. Stick to meats and animal products that were fed their natural diet (what they would eat if they were just grazing/frollicking on their own). For beef, this means grass fed. For chickens, they ought to have been pastured (rather than fed GMO corn). For seafood, try to find/buy wild-caught as opposed to farmed.

6. Use whole/unrefined grains (100% Whole Wheat, Oat Flour, Almond Flour, etc.)

7. Stick to natural/unrefined sugars: Honey, Maple Syrup, Unrefined cane sugar – in moderation. (Get rid of all refined/artificial sweeteners – these are murder on your blood sugar and liver!)

Whew – There it is. If this seems completely overwhelming (I know it did to me at first)… Try just taking one rule, one week at a time until you make a complete transition! And show yourself some grace in the process… No one is perfect. And life is… well, life. For our family, we try to stick to these rules INSIDE our home. Outside the home, we take things in stride, make the best decisions we can, and every now and then still let ourselves enjoy a slice of pizza made with white flour, or a cupcake made with refined sugar, or even that nasty boxed Mac n Cheese.

It’s not about being perfect in our minds; it’s just simply about being gracious and wise.