[Food Rule #2] Eat Real Food

Food Rules #2: Eat Real Food

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fo͞od/

noun

1. any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

If it comes from the land {a plant, an animal}, or the sea {seafood, plant life} – it is meant to be eaten. If it comes from a machine, or is man-made, investigate it!

Fresh is best. Nothing compares to the natural wonder of pure nutrients from a plant-based food. However, we know agricultural practices have gotten the best of our food - literally. Garden if you can, as this will ensure you know exactly what is sprayed on your food, cultivated in the soil and harvested at peak ripeness. Even a small raised bed can provide plenty for a family! Can’t garden? Support local Farmer’s Markets and eat seasonal foods. Most farmer’s markets operate May-September, and meet on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons.

“Processed food” isn’t just Spam – it anything that has already been cooked, preserved and packaged. These “processes” add chemicals that adulterate the nutrients of food, or alter the makeup of the food itself. If you cannot get fresh food, frozen will do. Canned foods should be used very sparingly - without added chemicals, excess sugar or salt.

Practice “mindful eating” as opposed to “mindless eating” is how a majority of people naturally eat - not thinking twice about what we are putting in our mouth or how much is actually being consumed. Check out Dr. Axe’s page for more of an in depth analysis of Mindful eating vs. Mindless eating https://draxe.com/mindful-eating/. I’d also love to emphasize the juxtaposition of mindful and mindless also. Our bodies crave energy. We thrive on it. I often, and by often I mean daily hear and see messages about how we need to be eating less. On the contrary, some people, especially women, need to be eating MORE. More of what is the question though. More nutrient dense foods, micronutrients, more fat and more protein are often the culprits. Our society and culture has taught us that we eat and consume too much (or more than we burn off) - but that is not the end of the conversation. Our hormones are built on these vital nutrients that are lacking in the standard American diet (S.A.D.) - so it is no wonder we experience chronic fatigue and pain issues!

Work everyday on leading a life of “clean eating.” This means eliminating a lot of the most common food irritants, allergies and sensitivities that are commonplace in the American Diet. Instead, try different nutrient-dense foods. Eating real food (remember: food that is as close to its natural state as possible) has a plethora of health benefits. Making this lifestyle change can help reduce inflammation, which has been linked to almost every chronic disease in existence. Reducing unnecessary inflammation can not only help the immune system but restores your overall health on a cellular level.

Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods are: green leafy vegetables, beets, broccoli, blueberries, pineapples, and salmon. Turmeric and ginger are spices that reduce inflammation. Clean eating also gives you better control over your blood sugar (glucose) levels. This is a BIG problem in America today. This health benefit alone is probably one of the most important reasons to switch to a lifelong habit of eating clean. Blood sugar levels are tied to many hormonal functions in the body, including how you store body fat and the level of stress hormones you produce. Eating whole, “clean” foods balances blood glucose levels, which allows insulin receptors to work correctly and by producing enough satiety hormones (like leptin) to maintain a healthy body weight (and by making you feel fuller faster!).

Removing as many toxins as possible, along with artificial ingredients, is another good reason to make the switch. High toxin levels are found almost everywhere in our environment and have been linked to obesity, hormonal imbalances and autoimmune diseases. We can pick up toxins from low-quality animal products, produce sprayed with pesticide chemicals and all sorts of refined foods high in artificial ingredients. This is why it’s so important to wash all your produce when you get home from the store! We usually soak ours in the sink for about an hour in a water/ apple cider vinegar bath. Lastly, eating real food simply provides the most optimal nutrients. Note: if you plan to consume vegetables 3 or more days in advance, wash them later, it will help them last longer with natural protection on them.

An alarming percentage of our current food supply is highly processed and stripped of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Three changes you can easily make to dramatically improve your health are adding vegetables to every meal, switching up your fats (get more omega-3s), and reducing meat products - and make sure to choose high-quality animal products (grass fed, organic and wild caught). Eating seasonally refers to embracing food when it is fresh, on a natural agricultural cycle, rather than mass produced and transported all over the world for consumption. Many times, crops are picked prematurely so that the food does not ripe before it reaches its destination. However, it is inedible unripe. Technology has offered us some solutions to ripe and color change some fruits and vegetables, but there many be unintended consequences by not allowing the plant to do this naturally with the sun and full nutrient mechanism of the plant itself. That is why we support local farming and local farmers as much as possible.

Eat real food. Sounds simple right? Looking to make a switch today? Pick ONE thing you usually by pre-made and swap it out, or try making it yourself.

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Zoodles!

Zucchini noodles made in a food processor in place of grains.