Today I want to rant about the importance of real food.
What do I mean when I say REAL FOOD?
Real food is food that ends up on our plate pretty close to its natural state. Vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts, eggs. These are all real foods. These are all foods that humans have consumed since before the agricultural revolution – when we developed the social organisation and machinery to farm and harvest food. Prior to this we did not need machines to kill animals or eat plants from the ground.
Today typical diets in the UK and Australia seem to be full of things that our ancestors would not recognise as food. I am not just talking about cereals that come out of brightly coloured boxes or jellies from a bag. I am also referring to bread, pasta, snack bars and the many other heavily processed foods that don’t reach our plate in their natural state. These foods require machinery to produce. You couldn’t harvest wheat and turn it into bread without some kind of machine. In my eyes this is where things stop being real food.
It is the lack of recognisable real food that is one of the root causes of the dramatic increase in lifestyle and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Processed foods provide your body with calories, but do not give you any of the extra vitamins and minerals you need to thrive.
It might sound like a paradox, but many people in developed Western countries are obese and malnourished.
This is because they are consuming an excess of calories without getting adequate vitamins and minerals. Even supposedly healthy diets, as promoted by government organisations such as the NHS and Nutrition Australia, which are low in fat and high in healthy whole grains can be nutrient deficient. As seen in this article, per gram most whole grains are a nutritionally poor source of calories.
Research suggests that things like behavioural disorders and skin conditions can be linked to a lack of nutrient dense foods in the diet. And it makes sense. If your body doesn’t have all the minerals and vitamins it need to perform its chemical processes, things start to go very wrong.
Furthermore, the carbohydrate dense nature of many processed foods can disrupt our metabolism. I am NOT a carb hater. In fact I think carbohydrate is an essential part of most diets. However, I do distinguish between carbohydrate from real food and carbohydrate from processed foods. Learn about the importance of nutrients in food here.
Feeding yourself with real food – food that is close to its natural state and full of vitamins and minerals – doesn’t have to be difficult.
I don’t care what you want to call it, because like most things branding is going to shape behaviours. Cleaning eating, Paleo, whatever. But the principles behind real food are simple.
Eat food that is close to its natural state and nutrient dense.
You can whip up a variety of nutritious, real food options in no time at all. It really doesn’t have to be difficult or boring.