By: RustinaContributing writer
Every day. Every night. The same questions always remain: what are we going to do for food? What should we prepare? Should we “keep it simple” and go out to eat tonight? Does that even matter? Followed by “No, it’s not. I’m not in the mood for that AGAIN.”
What is worse than that? Going through that stress AND having less nutritious meals that aren’t helping you or your family’s health. What we eat is important. No one wants to eat food that can harm them. Eating real food and cooking simple meals is possible and may even save you time and money in the long run. Whether you’re a seasoned mom or a natural health newbie, we’re all key to this awesome trend that really needs to go viral.
What is “Real Food” anyway?
When you hear us say “real food,” we mean food that you can grow or grow, or someone you trust can, whether it’s a company or a local farmer. Grow strawberries, watermelon, cabbage, spinach, radishes, carrots and all the more “exotic” ones like dragon fruit and papaya. Meats such as steaks, pork chops, bacon, and whole or sliced chicken. Dried or powdered spices, grains (unrefined, unbleached, etc.) and herbs. Butters and oils have a place here too. Just look for ones that are cold-pressed and from truly organic sources (the label may say something, but always look at the company’s process as well).
So why does it matter?
There are many reasons why real food is better than the highly processed and synthetically “enriched” products on store shelves. I’m going to pick a few of those reasons below.
5 reasons to buy real and healthy food.
#1 You know what’s in your lunch
Have you ever been to a cookie shop and stared at that pan wondering if you wanted one? I mean, what’s out there anyway?
Yet many of the same people who would say yes to it no longer think twice about picking up a boxed mix with bleached flour, monosodium glutamate and everything else. Did you know that processed foods even contain acceptable amounts of bug parts, rodent hair, insect eggs, larvae, and more? You can read more about what those limits are FDA link here.
I’ll take those fresh strawberries with the occasional cracked leaf and rinse over my food any day. There are risks everywhere, which is why I would prefer to control it locally myself. And what do you say about yourself?
#2 You know what’s not in your food
As a country girl, my father always tried his best to keep his fields, seeds and livestock as close to natural as possible. There were times when a better natural option wasn’t known, but I always loved that she tried her best. These days, one never knows what’s really in the boxes or bottles on the shelves. Food dyes and additives they are linked to all kinds of ailments, such as eczema, cancer, ADHD, allergies, obesity, infertility, migraines, and many other conditions. We must be careful and protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Reading labels and knowing what to look for is a great place to start. You can read more about what to look out for here.
#3 Less costs in the long run
In the long run (and often even in the short run), real, whole foods cost less than buying processed foods off the shelf. There are often more local options than people realize. Local farmers markets have a large presence throughout the United States. In my small town of only 6000 people we have 2 different 2 different days. Then there’s the local butcher shop and a ton of different Amish shops and greenhouses. There is also the ability to grow your own food as much as possible. The big key is getting good soil (you can look into compost if you’re a DIYer). It’s easy and kind of fun. You can find some other natural life tips here Simplify living guide.
Another benefit of cost savings is that your health will improve in many small or large ways. More nutrients give your body a better chance to fight disease and heal itself.
Here are some great tips for gardening, grocery budgeting, and farmers markets:
#4 Removes extra processing and leaves more nutrients
Ultra-processed foods remove the nutrients we need and are often replaced or “enriched” with individual versions of the nutrients (sometimes derived from mold or GMO products). You can read some examples of these isolated and real nutrients in these posts:
Folic Acid vs Folic Acid? The nutrients you really need during pregnancy
Vitamin C vs. ascorbic acid What you need to know about vitamin C supplements
Along with the benefits of all the nutrients found in nature, whole foods also have less processed sugar and sodium. Processed foods, as a major part of the diet, can lead to inflammatory conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, and much more (1:)
You can read more about sugars and salts here.
Read more about problems with ultra-processing here:
#5 Easier to accommodate a family’s nutritional needs
Anyone feeling down? Start a soup and throw in some astragalus root and extra garlic. i say extra, but i’ll be honest, it’s more like extra extra because i always use a lot of garlic.
Does anyone else have problems with their joints, perhaps needing extra vitamin C, D and collagen? Add some fish and chips to the menu.
Someone needs extra calming and focused support. Try bone broth and/or mushroom mix hot cocoa!
Real food cookbooks do exist.
So many times cookbooks have let me down. You open it to find a ton of recipes with prepackaged ingredients I don’t like, so much sugar I could cry, or a bunch of ideas that no one here even likes.
If you’re looking for a variety of healthy, real food recipes that are easy to make, delicious, and actually kid-approved, get a copy of Kate’s! A helpful real food favorite cookbook!
This book’s 150 pages include a variety of healthy desserts, appetizers, main dishes, smoothies, butters, sauces, and more. There’s a page on suggested substitutes if needed, as well as a list of pantry staples. There are over 90 recipes. My personal favorites in it are Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
Some of the Earthley products I use in our meals:
Super food powder (this powder mix is so delicious in an apple bowl).
Immunity soup (dehydrated and shelf stable for easy pantry storage)
5 Mushroom Super Mix
Cocoa Rest (Have you ever tried? Hot chocolate bone broth? I thought it was crazy, but it turns out it’s one of the tastiest things on Earth.)
There are many more reasons to choose whole and unprocessed foods, but these cover the basics well. I started switching to whole foods a few years ago. I didn’t do it all at once, but slowly, step by step. We still eat out occasionally and enjoy some “unhealthy” foods. Perfection is a difficult target. Striving for it is stressful. I aim to keep things in moderation, although I don’t think dirty dishes ever hear that.
What is your favorite authentic dish or recipe?