What do you think of when you hear the terms Real Food or Clean Food? I suspect that many people are left wondering when someone tells them they should be eating clean food.
To me, real food is food as nature presented it, or to use the term that Dr Caryn Zinn uses, food with low HI. Low Human Interference.
Examples of real food are fruit, vegetables, lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, some dairy products and cold pressed oils. These are still as nature provided and haven’t been interfered with and some might call them clean food, meaning with nothing added.
The opposite of real food would be processed meats (bacon, ham, salami, etc), frozen meals where additive and preservatives have been added to the meat and veggies, packaged potato chips and similar (where it has gone from being a potato to something else) and most other packaged foods. If any of you are currently drinking the sachet coffees (the powdered lattes, etc), take a look at the ingredients list and see if you want to continue drinking them. They are nothing like coffee granules + milk, but instead they are a highly processed product with a long list of ingredients including salt, oil and anti caking agents.
The easy way to tell is to read the ingredients label on a product.
The less ingredients the better and preferably without numbers.
The majority of the food that we should be basing our diets on should be kept in the fridge, the reason being that real food does not keep too long at room temperature. The sort of food that could be in our pantry would be items like canned tomatoes, canned legumes, spices, herbs, and fresh cold pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
Likewise when you look at cereal, plain oats are the only cereal that has just one ingredient, oats.
I think that one of the reasons for increasing rates of obesity in New Zealand today is that we simply have too much choice. 50 years ago we had a choice of white bread or brown bread. We had a choice of oats, rice bubbles, cornflakes or weet-bix. Now we have whole supermarket aisles each of cereals and breads. We have multiple choice of crackers, biscuits, dairy food, etc. Do we just buy one of each? Probably not.
With so many cooking shows and recipe books and an ever increasing number of websites where we can find recipes for whatever we are looking for, how many people eat as simply as they may have done 50 years ago? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t experiment with new recipes and new food, but we should remember that ‘fancy food’, using higher calorie ingredients are not everyday food if you are watching your weight. Likewise, treat foods like potato chips, chocolate and alcohol should not be part of our everyday diet. If you have something every day it no longer becomes a treat food, or something special.
I dislike the term obesity epidemic, or type 2 diabetes epidemic. It makes it sound as if these conditions are something we have no control over and that they are spreading through no fault of our own. Generally, both of these are related to the wrong kind of lifestyle and with education and a willingness to make changes, they can be corrected.
We need to step up and take responsibility for our lifestyle choices, not rollover and let things happen to us.
If you need a little prod to lose excess body fat then take a look at these images and a summary of how excess body fat affects us. Go on, I dare you, look at the MRI images!