When you think about weight loss you usually think about all the foods that you are NOT going to eat. Really it’s time to think about all the foods that you can and should be eating…REAL FOOD that will give you energy, keep you feeling full and provide you with the nutrients that you need for daily life. It’s much easier to lose weight when you are fueling your body with healthy foods.
Our bodies know what to do with real food. They know how to process real food – fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and a vast array of phytochemicals that keep our bodies working as they should. Unfortunately for us, the food industry has created a wide range of “diet” “sugar free” “ fat free” “low in sugar/fat” products aimed at dieters who want to have their cake and eat it (so to speak). These foods are full of chemical ingredients that don’t really feed us – and leave us hungry for more.
We are so accustomed to eating whatever the food industry throws at us that the lines between REAL FOOD and processed foods have blurred. I’m not suggesting that you start baking your own bread and churning your own butter but eating foods that someone could “theoretically” make at home, grow themselves or raise themselves is a good rule of thumb for a diet that leans in favour of REAL FOOD. I love the quote by Michael Pollan in his book “In defence of food” in which he says “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He promotes the idea that we should only eat foods that our great grandmother would recognise as food.
Real foods are foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, poultry, beans, eggs and minimally processed foods including dairy products and grain products. Of course life without flavour would be boring so it’s good to enhance the taste experience of our foods with items like herbs & spices, oil, vinegars etc.
It’s not always easy for clients to make a wholesale leap from eating heavily processed foods to eating a more natural diet – it can be a lot to take on. It takes time and commitment to reshape your taste buds so that you get excited about the prospect of eating salmon served with butter & lemon spinach and brown rice!
If you are used to making dinner in a few short steps that involve opening the freezer and turning on the oven, then the transition to cooking from scratch can be daunting. Start gradually if that feels better for you. Take a good honest look at the contents of your kitchen cupboard and start reading the ingredients – you may be quite shocked by how much they sound like a chemistry experiment. Also look at how many supermarket items you still have in your fridge/freezer/cupboards when you do your weekly shop. The more natural foods you eat, the less items you will have in your kitchen when you go to the supermarket….you should find that you can’t get from one end of the week without two trips to the supermarket….fruits and vegetables just don’t keep the way a pack of chocolate biscuits do!
Start wherever feels right for you. My starting point was to refuse to buy pre-made bolognaise sauce – I now make my own with roasted vegetables, making my own white sauce quickly followed. I haven’t yet mastered my own from scratch curry but it’s on my list! There are other things that have changed in our house too – I don’t buy ice cream, fruit juice is a rare purchase and I have greatly reduced the number of cereals in our house. No more coco pops for my kids (sorry kids) but I do let them put sugar or honey on their porridge. It’s a journey, one that I am still on….start yours today by eating more real food and less processed food – your body will thank you for it.