What is Real Food?

You’ll see us talk a lot about real food around here. So let’s get clear on what that is!

Put simply, real food the stuff that’s grown without need for a lab, stuff that’s hunted and gathered. Stuff that has had very little done to it from the time it is sourced to the moment it’s in your belly.

Two things you always want to think about when choosing your food – where did it come from, and what has happened to it since then and being in front of you.

If acting accordingly is all you do to evolve your diet, you’ll make a massive impact on your own health, and that of the environment. It can be that simple.

Real food also has to suit YOU. We’re all a little different (thankfully!), so there’s no one way of eating that is going to fit everyone to a T. We need to take into account our bio-individuality and to listen to our bodies (they’re great messengers, if we just listen!), to be able to understand what suits us, what makes us feel vibrant, alert, energetic, mobile and happy, and what doesn’t. The truth is, that not only is there no one diet that suits all people, there’s not even one diet that will suit you for your entire life. Depending on your current state of health, how much sleep you are getting, how stressed you are, how much and what kind of activity you are doing, what climate you’re living in and at what stage in your life cycle you are, you’re going to need to vary what you eat accordingly.

That’s why we don’t like to label healthy eating with any particular diet name, rather, let’s just work towards getting more people eating more real food that suits them.

We think Michael Pollan’s eaters manifesto sums it up nicely:

Eat food

Not too much

Mostly plants.

We may add to that:

Next to no grains

SO what does that mean? In a nutshell:

  • All fruits
  • All vegetables, especially non-starchy veggies. Some raw, some cooked
  • All tree nuts (cashews, almonds, macadamias, etc)
  • Seeds
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Good quality fats and oils – coconut, extra virgin olive oil, organic lard and tallow, ghee, organic butter.
  • Fresh and dried herbs and spices
  • Traditionally lacto-fermented foods and beverages
  • Properly prepared grains IF tolerated
  • Properly prepared legumes IF tolerated

The great thing about the real food journey is it’s just that – a journey. It’s not something you’re meant to turn around immediately into some pristine shiny idea of perfect eating. Rather it’s about taking the small steps, one at a time, so that changes you make become habits and therefore sustainable.

After all, we want long lasting change, not some shot term version of so called perfection that then comes crashing to a screeching halt. If nothing changes, nothing changes. And if we change back to what we always did we’ll get what we always got. So just be kind to yourself (and your family!) and take it slow. It’s usually the fastest way to go. Remember, the tortoise wins the race.

Helen Padarin

Naturopath, nutritionist and medical herbalist Helen Padarin has been in clinical practice since 2001. She works from 2 clinics in Sydney, Australia, and was recently asked to take part in Chef Pete Evans upcoming production called The Paleo Chef, filming recipes for the new TV show.

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