Real food changed my life. Maybe it can change yours too.
I believe in the power of food. I’ve seen it work too many times both in my life and in the lives of others to deny it has influence over our health. Hippocrates is famously quoted as saying “Let food be thy medicine” and I truly believe food is the medicine we take at least three times a day.
Five years ago when I was struggling with chronic inflammatory arthritis, and severe adrenal dysfunction, I turned to dietary change instead of the more common pharmaceutical route. To be clear, I think conventional medicine, just like supplementation when used properly can be useful in overcoming a pressing issue. It’s hard to make any lifestyle change when you are in unbearable pain…I get it. However, I was looking for a permanent solution so I changed my diet first. I dumped grains, dairy, soy and sugar and it was like someone turned on the light switch. I do believe certain grains and certain dairy have its place in a healthy diet however sometimes we need to “heal our gut” before we can consume these items. I will write more about that in later posts… so stay tuned.
If I’m being honest back then I probably just dumped processed junk for less processed, less junky food. I was nowhere near where I am today and to be even more honest I’m not perfect in my diet today, but I know where my food comes from; as well as what’s in, on or around it and that my friends, is key.
So what is the difference between REAL FOOD and processed food?
The quick answer is, real food is any food that is in its natural form. It’s free of chemicals and is rich in nutrients. It does not come in a box or bottle and it absolutely cannot sit on your shelf for six months.
Organic or naturally grown fruits and vegetables, grass- finished, pasture raised and wild caught meat and seafood, and unrefined, cold pressed oils and omega 3 fats are just some examples of real food. They make up one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle and they are an unconditional necessity for anyone living with an autoimmune disease. We cannot give our bodies the ability to mend if we are constantly filling it with chemicals.
That brings me to processed food. Processed foods are typically products that contain added sugars, man –made oils, excess sodium, dyes, flavor enhancers, and preservatives. They are mostly found in snack foods, desserts, candy, sugary drinks, and ready-to-eat meals. These foods have already been linked to an increased risk of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that ultra-processed foods might even be responsible for premature deaths.
“Real food is any food that is in its natural form. It’s free of chemicals and is rich in nutrients. It does not come from a box or bottle and it absolutely cannot sit on your shelf for six months”
Why choose REAL FOOD?
If the above paragraph on processed food wasn’t enough reason to eat real food, here are a few more.
- It gets the focus off of dieting. Real nutrition is much more than the number on the scale. It’s about having enough energy to sustain your day and feel healthy. Reconnecting with your food and it’s sources is a much more sustainable and enjoyable way to live. Instead of forcing weight loss, I’ve seen it come naturally as a side effect not only for myself but for many others as they improved their diet and metabolic health.
- Helps control blood sugar. In one 12-week study people with diabetes or prediabetes followed a Paleolithic-type diet combining fresh meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs and nuts experienced a 26% reduction in blood sugar levels.
- Costs less in the long run. There is truth to the adage that organic food cost more than processed food, no one can deny that. However the difference is minimal when compared to the cost of managing a chronic lifestyle disease such as type 2 diabetes. One study noted that people with diabetes spend 2.3 times more on medical supplies and healthcare than people without this condition. Real food costs less in the long run because it is more likely to keep you healthy, reducing medical costs.
- Sets a good example. One in three American children is on track to develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lifetime. Children run a much higher risk when one or both of their parents are obese or struggle with a chronic illness. Leading by example can greatly affect the health of your family.
- It’s delicious! On top of everything, the amazing flavor of unprocessed, whole food is undeniable. Once your taste buds have adjusted to real food processed junk food just doesn’t compare. Recently I had a client tell me that they had to spit out a bite of donut they took at work because as they put it, “my mouth rejected it.”
There is no right or wrong way.
I just barely touched the surface on the benefits of real food however I hope I gave you enough reason to consider making the switch today. It truly is one of the main components to a healthy lifestyle and for people managing an autoimmune disease it is nonnegotiable, in my opinion.
It’s important to remember when making any dietary changes it is always best to listen to your own body and eat the foods that make you feel good and avoid the foods that don’t. Everyone can create and adjust their diet within the boundaries of real food as they feel better.
To find out more about switching to a real food lifestyle contact firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about the 5-week RESTART® Program today. It’s real food, real learning, and real support with real results!
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A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease Diabetologia. 2007 Sep;50(9):1795-1807. doi: 10.1007/s00125-007-0716-y. Epub 2007 Jun 22
Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr;36(4):1033-46.DOI 10.2337/DC12-2625.ePUB2013 March 6