Real Food

From Chiot's Run on flickr

Food, glorious food … or is it glorious? Is it even food we are eating? I believe many of us have struggled with that question as we down processed McDonalds hamburgers and fries. What about margarine or other such creations?

Graduate school is great for getting a degree, but not so much for maintaining an ideal weight. For me, it was a burrito place down the street that gave a discount for students. It was quick, and I could take it to go. However, I knew I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be, so like many I tried diet after diet. I sabotaged my diets. I was even really good at eating healthy, but that didn’t work. Then my wife, who is part homemaker and part mad-scientist (mwa-haha!), said she was going to switch our diet over to one of “real food”.

What on earth is real food?

That is a good question, and one that I definitely did not know when we began our journey two years ago. I sort of believed it was a chance for my wife to experiment growing things in the kitchen, and then poisoning feeding her husband her mad creations. To my surprise, the first thing she handed me was a piece of nice, warm Italian bread straight from the oven with loads and loads of butter on it.

This was food, glorious food! Mouth watering, tongue tantalizing, body trembling food! Was this really the diet my loving mad-scientist had concocted for me? Then I learned the truth – real food is not a diet. It is a way of living.

The benefits

Soon, I found myself losing weight while maintaining higher energy levels. People kept asking me how I would accomplish all the various projects I was working on and still seemed to have energy to smile at the end of the day. They were watching me slim up, but I would be happy ordering some of the fattiest, caloric food around.

However, the real change was in my shopping technique. I was slowly becoming a real food ninja in the super market. You know that fruits and vegetables section? Hey, give me some of that goodness! Buying some soup? Let me look at that label. Hmm, that scary part of the health food store where everything seems alive — lets make a b-line there!

Shopping, eating and thinking about my meals became fun again. I just simply did not have as strong a desire to pickup McDs after a long night or programming. The food tasted too bland to me. No longer was I a “oh, I should be eating salad tonight” type of mentality. Instead it turned into a “what do I want to eat tonight?”.

So what makes Real Food?

Two words – preparation and ingredients.

To be a real food ninja, we have to figure out how to prepare our food, and we need to find out what ingredients matter. With that in mind, here are some common ideas that we can look at in our lifestyle to start the transition.

  1. Localvore & Organic
  2. Pre-Industrial Cooking
  3. Fermentation, probiotic and the “living breathing bubblies”
  4. Full, healthy FAT filled ingredients
  5. Soaked, sprouted grains and nuts
  6. Part Mad-Scientist! (mwa-haha!)
  7. And the all-star rule – whole, unprocessed ingredients

The best way to look at “dieting” is to simply ignore the “d” word. Instead, lets take a moment to look at our lifestyle. What we are buying, and how that is affecting our metabolism?

The heart of real food is enjoying food the way it was meant to be enjoyed, and I for one, am glad my loving, mad-scientist switched us that fateful January two years ago.

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