Getting “real”?

Eating clean, “real” foods, unprocessed diet–these are all ways of referring to eating foods that are in their natural state. A diet comprised mainly of real foods improves energy levels, reduces body fat, improves digestive health, decreases risks for cancer and other diseases, and increases vitamin intake.

It is sometimes difficult to believe that eating fuller fat foods such as real butter and nut butters can actually result in better health and weight loss. However, “real” foods fill you up faster, so you’ll end up eating less. They also give you more energy, and allow your digestive system to function the way it is supposed to. In addition, highly processed foods can add water weight and bloating due to additives such as high sodium. Over time, cutting out processed foods can result in a change in your taste buds, so you may not crave all of the processed foods that you do initially.

With the way many of us eat today, this is a very difficult change to make. Eating unprocessed foods, which can be so convenient, takes more time, more planning, and more cooking, which seems impossible for many of us. Our taste buds are also conditioned to want sweeter, saltier, more processed goodies!

If you are interested in pursuing a real food diet, or even taking baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle, a few simple steps you can take are listed below.

  • Read ingredient labels. Stick to five or fewer ingredients, with all ingredients being real foods (things you recognize, staying away from refined grains and sugars).
  • Eat whole grain versions of products–but read those ingredient labels! Make sure 100% whole wheat is listed, rather than a mix of white flours as well as other enriched flours.
  • Stay away from high fructose corn syrup (it is many, many products, and ones you may not think of)
  • Don’t purchase products containing ingredients you wouldn’t cook with yourself.
  • Cook more at home! Take advantage of leftovers for lunches.
There are some excellent resources for eating a less processed diet. Here are a few: 
Challenge yourself to take simple steps toward eating more whole, unprocessed foods–it can truly impact your health for years to come. Take a day, a week, or a month and devote it toward eating only real foods. If you already do some of these things, share your tips below in the comments!

 

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