Although I’ve talked about this before, I thought it was time to take another look at what I think REAL FOOD is, since, after all, my blog is called REAL FOOD Houston. As a start, look at the photograph in the blog header. Those cows produce Real Food–raw milk, cream, butter, and cheese. They are healthy Jersey dairy cows at Stryk’s Dairy in Schulenberg, a Texas certified raw milk dairy.
Here’s how I describe REAL FOOD:
--REAL FOOD can be made, raised, grown at home with reasonable effort, i.e., it doesn’t require miles of stainless steel pipes, high pressure equipment, or extremes of temperature.
–REAL FOOD meat is from animals that are pastured, humanely raised, and are not given antibiotics or added hormones, and are fed a traditional diet not containing genetically engineered ingredients
–READ FOOD is fruits and vegetables grown using sustainable farming methods that maintain a soil quality and using healthy, non-gmo seed, without synthetic pesticides or herbicides.
–REAL FOOD is preferably grown and prepared locally.
–Most important, REAL FOOD is highly nutritious and good for our health.
My top ten favorite REAL FOODs, not in any specific order:
1-Liver, heart, and other organ meats from healthy pastured animals
2-Butter from grassfed cows [I'm partial to butter because I like it on so many foods.] and other healthy fats like unprocessed coconut oil, olive oil, lard and beef tallow
3-Eggs from chickens that roam free and can peck and hunt for bugs
4-Kale, collards, spinach, chard, and other greens
5-Blueberries and other berries, apples, lemons, and limes
6-Real farm-fresh natural raw milk, cheese, and kefir
7-Beef, poultry, or pork from animals that were pasture raised on a traditional diet
8-Bacon and sausage from pasture raised pigs, cured traditionally without nitrites and nitrates
9-Kombucha, fermented tea, is my favorite beverage, plain or with fruit.
10-Wild caught seafood such as shrimp, salmon, and tuna
Here’s How I Describe Fake Foods
What kinds of foods do I stay away from? These NOT REAL FOODS are called by many names–junk food, fake food, pseudo food, faux food, etc. I think of them mostly as fake food; they are highly processed, artificially flavored, colored, and texturized pretend foods, and they are not REAL FOOD! Fake foods can be described with one or more, and sometimes all, of the following characteristics.
–They require a factory/machinery–can’t readily be made at home.
–They are produced by the food processing/technology industry, not by cooks in kitchens, and frequently include ingredients made in a lab, not grown on a farm.
–They include genetically engineered ingredients.
–They are ‘enhanced’ with additives like msg, artificial flavors, artificial colors, texturizers, and conditioners that make them look and taste like REAL FOOD even though they aren’t.
–Most important, due to harmful farming methods and over processing, fake foods are not as nutritious as we need and can even be harmful.
Here are ten ’foods’ I avoid:
1-Processed food-like products that pretend to be an actual food, like soy hot dogs, soy crumbles, non-dairy cheese, non-dairy cream, and egg substitutes.
2-Cheese that can be squeezed or sprayed or has been pressed or poured into plastic sleeves.
3-Meat from animals raised in unnatural, inhumane surroundings (includes CAFO–confined animal feeding operation), routinely dosed with antibiotics and hormones, and fed an unsuitable, non-traditional diet, such as grain for cows, or worse, cows for cows.
4-Low-fat or nonfat pasteurized, homogenized milk (these milks are almost always doctored with additives and coloring to synthesize the look, feel, and taste of real whole milk)
5-Frozen whipped topping (fake whipped cream)
6-Vegetable shortening (fake lard) and margarine (fake butter)
7-Soda and other soft drinks made with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or artificial sweeteners
8-Store or factory made cakes, cookies, and desserts in boxes or packages. [These are full of highly processed ingredients like vegetable shortening, refined flour, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, preservatives, and conditioners.]
9-Foods labeled “low fat,” “diet,” or “high fiber” because some natural, and nutritious, part of the food, like fat, has been removed and/or some unnatural ingredient, like cellulose, has been added.
10-Frankenfoods, any food that contains genetically engineered ingredients such as soy, corn, or sugar beets.
Eating REAL FOOD makes it easier to avoid the fake foods.
You might also be interested in these previous Real Food Houston posts:
Real Food On a Budget–Coupons Can’t Help!
Glyphosate is already in our food, air, and water: What is it and why should we care?
Double GM Whammy for the Monarch Butterfly
It’s Not Pretty Behind the Biotech Veil, and Interview with Howard Vlieger
What Does Genetically Engineered (or GMO) Mean?
Milk–Why Homogenized, Pasteurized? Follow the Profit!
Here are some other good posts about What is Real Food?