Real food has been the staple of our diets for milennia and processing has been around almost as long.
What is real food?
In this post I’m going to count minimally processed food as real food so it might make sense to explain myself.
You see, all foods exist on a continuum from unprocessed/raw, through prepared for cooking/cooked, processed, all the way to ultra processed.
The unprocessed foods might be carrots pulled from the garden and the soil rubbed off. Carrot in mouth. Blackberries picked straight from the plant. Yum. However, while we don’t tend to eat unprepared raw meat, there was the old lady who swallowed a fly!
Then there is the preparation of meat, fish and veg for cooking. This is processing with a light touch because there isn’t much to do. Same with seasoning. As an example of something which is needing a bit more processing – butter. Give me a large jar and some cream and I will return you butter.
What is ultra processed food?
Margarine on the other hand – I can’t do. Margarine falls into the ultraprocessed category. A simple definition of ultraprocessed food would be anything which you could not make or would not have the ingredients available to you. Wikipedia gives a list of foods which are considered to be ultra processed:
- Carbonated soft drinks
- Sweet, fatty or salty packaged snacks
- Mass-produced packaged breads and buns
- Cakes and cake mixes
- Margarines and other spreads
- Sweetened breakfast cereals
- Sweetened fruit yoghurt and energy drinks
- Powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles, and desserts
- Pre-prepared meat, cheese, pasta and pizza dishes
- Poultry and fish nuggets and sticks
- Sausages, burgers, hotdogs, and other reconstituted meat products.
Notice how these foods are the ones which we are supposed to be cutting down on in order to lose weight? These are the tasty and addictive and ubiquitous foods! Go into the supermarket and you will see them everywhere.
Yup, full of sugar, refined carbs and unhealthy fats, the drivers of insulin resistance and chronic disease. Their only health recommendation is that a lot of these products have to be fortified with vitamins and minerals because otherwise they would add nothing to our diet.
Just suppose though that you don’t want to eat fortified, ultra processed foods in order to get enough vitamins and minerals with your calories. How else could you do it?
Real food contains all the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients that you need without the high carb and chemical load.
Doing your own processing doesn’t have to be difficult either. I rarely spend long cooking in the evening. See this post for some inspiration.
What are the benefits of real food?
The benefits of eating real food are numerous. For instance, when you cut out the ultra processed unreal stuff you can expect to discover the following:
😀 Feel better. You will have more energy.
😃 No more brain fog!
😄 Weight loss – it just happens.
😁 You can taste your food more.
😆 Better complexion
🙃 Much better health
😊 A happy tummy. No more bloating and unwanted gas.