Diet phases and crazes began well before the age of the internet. But even with an abundance of information at your fingertips, how to eat healthier can be tricky for busy folks.
But eating “real food” is a smart trend that’s quickly gaining momentum.
It’s a movement that you can track on social media and through online blogs. The neat thing is that the message to “eat real food” isn’t diet-dominant (you can either include or exclude animal-based foods), but more about quality. Consumer ethics. And a deeper connection with your body and your health.
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to work around your busy schedule and still eat healthy, real food.
Feed the magic that made you
Were you made in a lab? No. Even with all the wizardry science has to offer, you took shape in a human body – something that’s natural, full of microbes, and far more complex than the human mind can understand.
Real food is the same.
It knows how to jam with the body because like us, real food has got a million things going on. Even with all your understanding of nutrition, vitamins, antioxidants, and probiotics – the nerdiest foodie can only understand a small piece of what real food from the earth has to offer. In a word, it’s COMPLEX.
You can honor that wonderful, natural complexity and your unique health needs by sticking with foods that make sense to your body.
But wait, isn’t real food hard?
The biggest obstacle to the desire to eat real food can be the belief that it’s hard. And that it takes time to make.
But, even if you once lived off of colorful, fake convenience food – food can still be easy. And if you really abhor the kitchen, there are plenty of food makin’ services out there that will do the cooking for you.
When it comes to taste, once you begin making your own real food – or hiring someone to do it – you won’t look back. It’s like grandma’s homemade pasta vs. Olive Garden. One experience is infinitely more dazzling than the other.
For fun, two questions that you can ask about a food item to see if it qualifies as real:
- Can I make this myself?
- Are all the ingredients real food items too?
For example, chicken nuggets.
Could you chop chicken into bite-sized pieces, coat them in a delicious (even gluten-free) batter, and fry or bake them until crispy? You sure can, with some elbow grease.
But if you’re compelled to buy a pre-made box of chicken nuggets, look for the brand with an ingredient list that would match your own…in an ideal, real food world.
How to eat healthier right now
#1 – Pick three non-food ingredients and avoid them FOREVER
Your favorite non-food ingredients that might get the boot: high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes, MSG or monosodium glutamate (and all of its aliases), canola oil, and artificial sweeteners of any kind.
#2 – Choose three foods you eat on a regular basis, swap them out for real food alternatives
Instead of a vending machine candy bar, have a square of the darkest chocolate you can tolerate. Swap real oats for instant oatmeal packets. Make a big batch of homemade sriracha sauce with jalapeños, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and dates.
#3 – Roll with the baby steps
Little tiny increments of change make big changes easier. It’s a proven fact.
So, start small. Read labels and only buy packaged food that looks real. Like jerky from grass-fed cows. That sounds legit. A piece of fruit? Who can argue with that? Dried fruit – the super brown kind that’s free preservatives or refined sugar? Sounds real to us!
These sort of foods are easy to pick up at a natural food store or your local farmer’s market. They’re also handy to have around in case you’re surrounded by a fake food extravaganza.
#4 – Flex your memory muscles
Journal. Take notes. And if you’re not the scholarly type, remind your significant other to remind you that you ate a bag of Doritos and now have a major zit on your otherwise flawless face.
At some point, the message will sink in.
Once you begin to see that fake food has a real impact on how you feel – maybe it’s causing acne, giving you the jitters, creating joint pain, or adding a little plush softness to your waistline – it’s a little easier to say “no thanks.”
At that point, the road gets easy.