Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Making the conscious decision to remove processed food from your diet and basing your meals on natural foods will allow you to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.
It really is that simple!
Even the most health-conscious of us can become overwhelmed by the endless information and advice pushed in front of us and can be tempting to give up. We’ve turned the word ‘diet’ into something that seems hard and needs to be accomplished by hitting improbable targets. In reality, your diet is just what you choose to eat. And what you eat is a choice, today and always.
What you eat is going to be a choice you make multiple times per day for the rest of your life.
Most people eat an average of 3 meals per day, resulting in 21 meals per week and 84 meals per month. If you eat real food for the majority of your meals, then you will be doing much better than most people and most likely surpass previous goals you’d set for yourself.
Eating real food is all about eating foods in their most natural form as much as possible. It also means avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
The long lists of additives and refined ingredients in processed foods makes them far from clean whole-foods, whereas the wholeness of an apple makes it easy to identify as ‘real’ food.
The proven way to recognize real food is to see whether or not it goes bad. Food that doesn’t go bad for a while has to be highly processed and pumped full of preservatives to extend the shelf life. Real food expires sooner because it’s fresh.
Kick start a simpler diet by focusing on eating only from these eight food groups:
- Fresh vegetables, preferably seasonal, if possible organic
- Fresh fruits, preferably seasonal and organic, although make sure you eat more vegetables
- Meats, preferably organic and grass-fed (but just do your best), and fish
- Beans and legumes like black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
- Eggs, preferably cage-free and organic (and in their whole form, not just egg whites or egg substitutes)
- Nuts and seeds (while these might have a label if they’re in bulk or were put in individual packages, their ingredient list should still be one ingredient, such as peanuts or cashews)
- Whole, unprocessed grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole oats
- Healthy fats like avocado and grass-fed butter, and some minimally processed oils like extra virgin coconut oil.
Avoid highly processed foods, foods that have more than 5 ingredients or ingredients that you cannot pronounce. When foods do have labels, look for a short ingredient list of things you recognize as actual food.
Here are foods that are generally unhealthy
- Crackers, chips, and other packaged snack foods
- Sugars, including corn syrup, fructose, artificial sweeteners etc.
- Sodas and other sweetened drinks
- Sweets, candy bars, and any other bars, even the ones that present themselves as healthy like protein bars and meal replacement bars
Make more meals at home using whole ingredients. The best foods don’t even have labels, because they only have one ingredient such as avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.