Why is eating real food important? Isn’t what’s at the grocery store considered real food? Isn’t eating organic expensive? How will I have the time?
These are all great questions and let’s start with the basics because this shift to “real food” can be overwhelming.
Food has become underrated with its importance to our health over time. Foods provide macronutrients and micronutrients in our bodies, including vitamins and minerals which we can’t make up in our own body and sourcing from local, sustainable, quality food varieties is so important. These nutrients help support our body with each function and supply us with energy, helping fight off infections and many more functions. Covering our health “bases” with real food is so important because if we are eating the same things consistently, it could put us in a deficiency or create unwanted symptoms within the body.
Importance of Food Sourcing
Sourcing our food has also been put on the back burner and having quantity over quality has with time affected the human race along with the planet negatively. With this change we have lost nutrients in our soil and food, have a large abundance of chemicals in our food, water and air which and with time are making us and the planet sick. Shifting to a more sustainable approach can be a good thing in so many ways, knowing who’s growing our food and what chemicals they are using, building those relationships to build a stronger community, supporting our local farmers, regenerative farming and the welfare of animals and livestock. There are always pros and cons to each situation and trying to rush or cut corners has negative effects.
Where to begin?
Attending local farmers markets is a great way to source organic, sustainable food and meet the farmers and ask about their practices and build relationships within the community. Also a great way to find local CSA’s (community-supported agriculture) is either through the farmer’s market or searching online. CSA’S are a subscription service through a local farmer that you pay for to get their weekly/biweekly in-season produce, meats or goods. This is a great way to take out the guesswork and plan for grocery shopping along with eating seasonally.
Verbiage to look for
Artisan: handmade using traditional techniques
Bio-dynamic: holistic farming focusing on ethical practices
Certified Naturally Grown: alternative certification for small farms using organic practices
Certified Organic/Organic Grown: certification that requires organic farming practices not using toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides or additives.
Transitional: farmers using organic practices but waiting on certification
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): subscription service supporting farmers before their harvest date.
Dry-Farmed: This specific type of farming does not use irrigation and rely on water in the soil which only applies to certain grains, grapes, sunflowers and pulses.
Heirloom: varieties of plants that have been specifically bred and chosen by farmers in the past 50 years.
How can I afford this?
Keeping the mindset that real food equals real health and real quality is important. We are what we eat- it’s basically an insurance policy on our health. It doesn’t need to be some next-day big shift where you make these changes because that can be overwhelming. Slowly incorporate these practices by trying to set a goal each week for something you would try to incorporate. This is more sustainable and attainable.
A great option to eat more balanced and filling meals is to meal prep, whether that be for the week or daily it can take a lot of guesswork out of planning and also help reduce eating unsatisfying, unhealthy fast food. Another plus to meal prepping is it’s usually more budget-friendly as you can also use what you currently have looking in your pantry and refrigerator or you can find different recipes online and create your own grocery lists each weekend to prepare for the week. Meal prepping can help you achieve your goals, stay on track and feel better overall.
Source: Nutritional Therapy Association, Inc. (2020) Culinary Wellness Pt.1 Student Guide (pp. 1-154)