It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the year past, and set goals for the new one. It has been about eight years since I started learning what it really means to live naturally and well. Through this journey, I have achieved significant weight loss and a more vibrant life connected to my Creator.
Exercise is critical for our wellness, but eating from Creation is what makes all the difference. You can’t exercise away the chemicals, pesticides, and fake food that you consume. The food we eat affects our DNA and the cells that make up our frame.
Our Creator programmed our bodies, and provided specific food for us to eat in order to thrive and be well. All we have to do is follow His design.
So for those of you who have set New Year’s Resolutions to achieve better health, I dedicate this post to you. I hope these steps will simplify and kick start your journey to discovering wellness that is rooted in our Maker and His beautiful design for your life.
How to create a Real Food Kitchen
1. Purge the junk. First thing’s first; before you can have a real food kitchen, you gotta get the fake stuff OUT. Get rid of anything in a package, in a bag, or in a can with a long ingredients list. Get rid of anything that you can’t find in nature growing on a tree or from an animal. If you have to think about how to justify its “realness”, it’s probably not real food. Get rid of the the low calorie, sugar free, fat free, diet foods. They’re fake, and they don’t work. And now replace them with the real things listed below!
2. Choose grass fed/pasture raised meat and eggs. There is a reason why our Creator designed cows to eat grass and chickens to eat bugs. The products that come from healthy animals are healthy for us to consume. Factory farms raise abused and sick animals. This negatively affects the meat and eggs that come from them. Avoid hormones and antibiotics, and benefit from higher levels of Omega 3’s and cancer-fighting CLA by choosing products from animals raised in sunny, green pastures. Look for the words “pasture raised” or “grass fed” on the label. Better yet, buy from a farm where you can see the animals roaming around outside.
3. Choose organic produce… and eat tons of it. I know. The word “BUDGET” keeps popping into your head. Yes, organic food may be more expensive. But it is a necessary part of the real food lifestyle, as our goal is to minimize toxins and harmful ingredients. The suffix -CIDE means “killer” or “act of killing”. Pesticides and herbicides kill living things. More and more research is being released about their effects and possible links to cancer, parkinson’s disease, and more.
Oh, and back to that word “budget”… if you can afford your $30/gallon Starbucks latte, I promise you can afford real food. It’s all about priorities, people ;)
Here is a helpful list that actually gives you 15 “clean” options for fruits and veggies that are safe to buy non-organic. The rest are better bought organically.
4. Choose full fat dairy. Low fat dairy is not a health food. I repeat: LOW FAT DAIRY IS NOT A HEALTH FOOD! Our Creator included fat where He deemed necessary and good. Raw or vat pasturized, non-homogenized dairy is best. And as always, consume only from an organic, pasture-raised source. Find raw milk here, or high-quality dairy at your local co-op (find yours here).
5. Choose traditional fats. Avoid factory fats like the plague. Canola, soy, and vegetable oils are cheap and convenient for the food industry, but they are often rancid and are contributing to our world’s health crisis. Run from them. Instead, choose traditional fats like grass fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados/avocado oil, homemade mayonnaise, pastured lard, duck fat, and tallow. They have sustained and nourished mankind for generations, and are filled with nutrients that are healing to the body. And no, they will not make you fat.
6. Choose whole grains…or none at all. This is one of the trickiest categories in the real food world. Many people benefit from eliminating grains completely because of specific health issues. I am one of those people, but for those of you who would like to keep grains in your diet, choose only whole, traditional grains like quinoa, rice, buckwheat, and oats that have been prepared properly through soaking and sprouting. Here’s a helpful article from Wellness Mama, explaining the problem with modern grains.
7. Choose natural sweeteners. Once you begin incorporating more and more real food in your diet, your cravings for sugar will decrease. Ten years ago if you told me that I would one day crave cauliflower, I would have laughed at you. But that has become my reality. I no longer crave junk food. I am completely satisfied with the real food that fills me every day. For baking or the occasional sweet treat, choose raw unfiltered honey, real maple syrup, sucanat, rapadura, molasses, or coconut or palm sugar.
8. Feed your gut. Eat (or drink) fermented foods every day. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir are all awesome probiotic rich foods. The health of your gut flora dictates the health of the rest of your body, including your mind. You cannot be well if your gut is unable to process, absorb, and deliver nourishment to the rest of your body.
So there are some initial steps. Now for fun, here’s a look inside my own kitchen… :)
Eating real food opens the doors to creativity in the kitchen, and a new level of health for your body. Purge the junk, and dedicate this new year to vibrant health… and real food!