The Importance of Eating “Real Food”

Wellness Challenge Step One- Eat Real Food and Avoid Processed Foods

Nutrition has a tremendous impact on overall health, and is a huge focus of the Wellness Lifestyle. If you’ve been a Wellness Mama reader for a while, you know that I’m not a fan of grainssugars and starches  or vegetable oils and recommend removing them from your diet.

Instead of consuming processed foods and empty calories, it is important to get adequate nutrition from proteinsfats and vegetables. Some foods, like beans, are of questionable nature, so I’d suggest removing them too to see how your body tolerates them. Others, like vegetable oils, margarine, and other frankenfats are toxic and should always be avoided completely!

In order to get the most benefit in the quickest amount of time, cut out the grains, sugars, potatoes, beans and all processed foods from your diet and focus on getting maximum nutrition from meats, vegetables, healthy fats (coconut, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, tallow, lard, butter, unprocessed cream, etc) and fruits.

What is “Real Food”?

I was asked recently which foods I would pick if I could only eat five foods forever. Tough question, but it really made me think about which foods would provide the nutritional needs for the rest of my life, as well as which ones I could stomach forever. A few of these are food “groups” but since I often see foods like pizza or mac and cheese (which contain multiple ingredients) on these types of lists, I figured healthy food groups would qualify.

1. Meat & Fish

Complete sources of protein and good sources of healthy fats. Nutritionally, meats and fish pack a lot of nutrition for their size and provide vital nutrients like iron, fat soluble vitamins, Omega-3s and more. I’d use the bones of the meat to make bone broth, which is a very nutrient dense healing food.

The broad category of meat also includes nature’s multivitamin: organ meats. Organ meats one of the most nutrient dense foods available and they are an excellent source of fat soluble vitamins and iron. Also included in the meats/fish category would be fermented cod liver oil and Omega-3 fish oil, which I consume daily. Also, one word: Bacon.

2. Coconut

I love coconut, let me count the ways (here are 101 ways to be exact). I love coconut oil, coconut cream concentrate, dried coconut, fresh coconut, coconut water, etc. Coconut is an excellent source of healthy fats, including brain and immune boosting medium chain fatty acids and lauric acid. My family consumes coconut oil daily and I also use coconut flour in recipes like these:

3. Green Vegetables

I’d definitely include all vegetables if I could, but I figured that would really be a stretch! Green vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients and offer a lot of variety. I’d be consuming  a lot of salads, homemade sauerkraut, roasted cabbage, brussels sprouts

4. Berries

Berries are nature’s dessert. Full of antioxidants and nutrients and relatively low in fructose, they are delicious and healthy. I love them plain or on salads. Nuff’ said.

5. Fermented Foods

This category would already include some of the foods listed above, but fermented foods have the added benefit of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria and enzymes. These beneficial bacteria help bolster the immune system, increase nutrient absorption from food, and improve digestion. Some of my favorite fermented foods are:

If one of your goals is to lose weight or improve your physique, consider drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake. If weight loss is a serious goal, this will mean that that morning bowl of oatmeal or potato salad at lunch is out. To keep it simple, just get your carbs from vegetables (minus potatoes) and you’ll be fine!

One exception, if you struggle from low-thyroid, don’t drop your carbs too low for too long, as this can stress the thyroid, just make sure to get your carbs from healthy foods like sweet potatoes, winter squash, fruit, and grain-free baked goods! [Note: Some people experience a “carb flu” as their body adjusts to not having a constantly available stream of glucose. This is temporary, but can be uncomfortable for the first couple of weeks. Check out these two posts by Dr. Michael Eades to help make the transition easier Tips for Starting Low Carb Part I and Tips for Starting Low Carb Part II ]

To help you get started:

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