In our current processed food obsessed culture, many of us are beginning to question the “food” we were raised on, and in the process, many of us are looking to cleanup our diets. This process usually leads to the discovery of “real food.”
“Real food” is about getting back to a simpler time of eating. Essentially, real food is about getting back to the days of great-great grandma (and keeping the food processor, crock-pot, and washing machine). So how does a processed-food-lovin’ family make the switch to real food?
Friend, based on my family’s experience, the best way to make the switch from processed food (think: highly addictive) to real food (think: totally delicious and makes your body feel great) is to create a strategic plan. And that is why I’m pulling this series, Real Food Reboot, out from the Live Simply email archive to share with you.
I hope this series will provide you with a few ideas for how to create a practical plan for swapping out processed “food” for nourishing real food. To do this, I’m going to break down the swap into three main categories over the next few weeks: the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Today, we’re going to start creating a practical plan for swapping out the processed food for real food in the pantry.
What is real food?
What is real food?
Before we get started, let’s define real food so we can all be on the “same page” as we discuss the practical ways to live out a real food lifestyle. Remember, the overall goal of real food is less processed food and more real ingredients and ultimately nourishing meals.
“Real food doesn’t have a long ingredient list, isn’t advertised on TV, and it doesn’t contain stuff like maltodextrin or sodium tripolyphosphate. Real food is things that your great-grandmother (or someone’s great-grandmother) would recognize.”–Micheal Pollan
Real food is about food that has withstood traditions. Food that previous generations ate and enjoyed in their unprocessed state.
Real Food Defined
Grass-Fed, Pastured Meats: Meaning animals that have been raised and fed as they were intended when created, with grass underneath and the sun overhead. Using all parts of the animal including the bones for nourishing broth. Chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and wild game.
Eggs: From chickens that have been pastured, roaming free with lots of sunlight.
Fats: Such as: butter from grass-fed cows, unrefined coconut oil, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, tallow, and even lard (not Crisco). Learn more about Fats 101.
Grains and Legumes: Whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. If you can’t tolerate grains, grain-free flour substitutes (almond flour, coconut flour, etc.) may be used for baking.
Fruits and Veggies: Preferably in-season, organic (use the Buy Organic Guide), and/or locally-grown, if possible. Including lots of fresh herbs.
Dairy: Raw, or pasteurized, and full-fat from grass-fed cows (or goats or sheep). When you see the words low-fat or fat-free you know a lot of junk has been added to make up for the nourishing fats. This would include: milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, cream cheese, cottage cheese. Avoid ultra-pasteurized dairy.
Salt: Real, unrefined salt that hasn’t been stripped of its nourishing minerals. I use Real Salt.
Seafood: Fish raised in the wild versus a fish farm.
Sweeteners: As close to the natural state as possible, such as raw honey (local honey is always preferable due to its health benefits), pure maple syrup, and natural sugars (sucanat and coconut sugar). Learn more about Sweeteners 101.
How to Make the Real Food Swap in the Pantry
1. Clean out your pantry and create a list of everything you regularly use from your pantry.
2. Circle the foods that qualify as real food.
3. Now it’s time to develop a plan for swapping out the processed food (the food not circled) for real food options.
Each week as you shop (or bi-weekly; it’s completely up to you, your shopping schedule, and budget), choose one processed food to eliminate. Instead of purchasing granola bars with a long list of unrecognizable ingredients, look for “cleaner” store-bought bars (made with ingredients you can pronounce and would use in your own kitchen), or a recipe and the ingredients to make your own bars at home. I’ll be sharing a super easy no-bake recipe next week!
To help with the task of switching out the processed food for real food, I invite you to download a printable that lists some of the processed foods I used to stock in my pantry, and alternative real food solutions for these products.
See what I stock in my real food pantry, here.