So what do I mean by real food? Well… real food is fresh, whole, not processed or refined, and provides nourishment for our mind, body, and soul. Eating real food provides us with all the vitamins, minerals, fats and natural sugars we need to live a vibrant healthy life.
Mother Nature has done an outstanding job of providing us with beautiful, nutrient-rich food. In fact, she’s done such an amazing job at naturally packaging our food for us that whole fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains contain everything we needed to properly absorb and metabolize the nutrients our body requires to grow and flourish! How cool is that?!
While nature is working hard to provide us with healthful nutrient-dense foods, the aisles of most conventional grocery stores are doing quite the opposite. Over the past few decades, more and more processed foods have made their way onto grocery store shelves. These well-marketed, flashy items are full of unhealthy additives, chemicals, and preservatives; with little to no nutritional value. Often these foods are so lacking in nutrients that the people who solely eat processed foods end up with a long list of health issues. These health concerns are often due to the fact that the ingredients in processed foods include too much refined-sugar and a cocktail of synthetic chemicals. People who consume these products on a daily basis often develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can lead to more serious health conditions including digestive problems, mood swings, behavioural issues, Alzheimer’s, several different types of cancer, disease, obesity, and diabetes… just to name a few.
With our health and happiness at risk, it’s a no-brainer to stop consuming so many processed foods and start enjoying as many fresh, whole foods as we possibly can!
5 Reasons to Eat Real Food:
As we learned above, when we eat real food our bodies are filled with all the wonderful nutrients needed for us to live a healthy life, but not all whole foods are created equal. Some foods that are considered healthy like grains, rice, and some dairy products fall into the category. Many refined foods can lose up to half of their nutritional value when processed, milled, polished or pasteurized. So next time you grab a loaf of bread off the grocery store shelf, think twice about what your purchasing, instead of buying white or whole wheat bread, opt for a whole grain, fermented sourdough, or sprouted variety instead. Same goes for rice and dairy, try wild long grain un-polished rice instead of plain old white rice, and skip the low-fat milk, 1 percent milk is much more nutritious. Another great alternative to dairy is trying a fortified almond, cashew, oat, coconut or soy milk.
Real whole foods not only provide us with vitamins, minerals, and fibre, they also contain phytonutrients! These nutrients are created by photosynthesis and can only be found in plants. Phytonutrients are believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases (they provide us with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories). These nutrients are just starting to be recognized for their amazing health benefits and really are nature’s ultimate superfood, or should I say “super-nutrient”.
“The best nutrition comes from staying close to the Garden of Life. Every step away from the orchard and garden bring a loss of vitality and food energy that is our potential Human Fuel. “
– Sunny Seasons, MD chef, Staying Healty with Nutrition.
Yes, fruits and veggies have natural sugars. The difference between natural sugars and the those in processed foods (refined sugar) is that nature supplies us with the perfect combination of macro and micronutrients we needed to properly digest, metabolize and utilize these natural sugars.
Sugar is an important fuel for supplying our bodies and brains with energy, but when it’s singled out on its own and void of it’s supporting nutrients, it has trouble finding it’s way through our internal systems. This means we can easily over-eat and overdose on sugar, which is exactly the problem we see with highly processed and packaged foods.
Take an apple for example. If we eat an apple whole (including its skin) we’re not just consuming sugar, we’re also getting a good amount of fibre, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. If we juice this apple, pasteurize it (almost all of the juice on the grocery store shelves is pasteurized), then process it to have a longer shelf life, we’re left with a product that’s void of most of its vitamins, minerals, and contains zero fibre. One thing it does have? Sugar, and plenty of it.
Without the fibre that’s provided from the flesh and skin of a whole apple, all this sugar is sent straight to our bloodstream, spiking our blood sugar levels. I mean does this even resemble anything close to an apple anymore, or is it just blast of sugar?
Almost all processed foods contain preservatives. Whether these checmicals are added to food to protect them from spoilage or to retain a longer shelf life, preservatives are everywhere. These chemicals have been known to cause allergic reactions, neurotoxicity, and hyperactivity in children, not to mention they can be toxic to our liver and kidneys. Some preservatives (like nitrates found in processed meats. Ex. lunch meat, smoked/cured meats, hot dogs etc.) have even been labeled as a Type 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organizations. This is the same category as arsenic!
4. Artificial Colours & Flavours
These guys are one of the worst culprits for lurking inside processed foods. The name alone “artificial” tells you why. Created from chemicals synthesized from petroleum and coal tar products, these toxins are cause for major concern. Like preservatives, artificial colours and flavours are also known to trigger allergic reactions and cause behaviour problems and hyperactivity in children. Many have been labeled as known carcinogens, some which have been banned from use in Canada and the USA, but others are still used in abundance.
Even some conventional produce like oranges are pumped full of artificial colouring. Citrus Red No. 2 is often added to orange peels to make them look more uniform and bright, in the hopes that consumers will be more attracted to them … Just one of many reasons to buy organic!
5. Pesticides & Synthetic Chemicals
Buying and eating organic produce whenever possible is one of the best ways to avoid pesticides and GMO’s. The harmful effects of pesticide-laden foods last long past the time it takes to eat your meal. Pesticides are known to accumulate in our bodies and continue to build up over our lifetime. Studies have shown that these toxic chemicals never leave our bodies once we ingest them and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and other chronic health problems. Be sure to check out EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists for your guide to buying organic produce.
|Sprouted Tip: Grow your own garden. This is one of the best ways to know exactly what your eating and where it came from. Not to mention, gardening can be a great way to stay fit and connect with mother nature!|