I’ve been a foodie all my life, but until starting my own food-based business, I never had given much thought to what healthy food really was. It wasn’t until I started immersing myself in the food world did I come to my own conclusions…and you may be surprised by the results.
Like many, I relied in the past on the experts to tell me what was healthy: low fat, low carb, low calorie, etc… That’s all healthy, right? NOPE! If all this food is healthy, how come we are the sickest and unhealthiest we’ve ever been in our entire history?
I have moved to a much more “traditional” diet, i.e. nutrient dense foods that our ancestors have eaten (and lived extremely healthy lives on) for thousands of years. High quality meats, saturated fats – yup, even the stuff we’ve been told is bad for us like butter and lard – lots of vegetables, and raw, unpasteurized milk. If you’re interested in reading more about this philosophy, check out the Weston A Price Foundation for more details.
You’ve heard me say before, “I’m a common sense girl”. Until around the 1940’s, the American diet had been pretty much the same…and then came the advent of the microwave and TV dinners. The result: we started to move away from eating real food and shifted to processed foods. And to boot, it certainly didn’t help that we had a boom in marketing and advertising for these shortcut products.
Fast-forward to present day. We’re still being told that shortcut products are healthier than the real versions; we’ve been trained well. Don’t rely on advertising or food packaging to tell you that things are good for you (Dave: ignore the high antioxident message, trust me). Use your common sense, and to me, there is nothing more common sense than eating “real food”; unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meats, and seeds.
So how could the average person start eating healthier? Start small. Here are some examples of things you can do that take very little time and have very little cost…
Baby Steps to Healthier Eating
- Buy one pound of grass-fed beef instead of conventional beef.
- Pick a few fruits or veggies to buy organic each week: See the Dirty Dozen for a guide on what to buy organic.
- Go to the farmers market one more time per month than usual (Great iPhone app recommendation: Farmers’ Market Finder – I love mine!)
- Ask a meat vendor at the farmers market to tell you about their products; what they eat, how they live, etc…
- Check out the Weston A Price website and research a traditional diet
- Go to a restaurant one less time than usual per month, cook at home instead
- Buy pastured eggs…not to be confused with organic, free range. Read about the difference here.
- Donate some of the unhealthy processed food you have in your pantry
- Cook with one new whole grain every week. This is my favorite website to learn about whole grains. Quinoa, farro, wheatberries and black rice are my favorites.
- Read a chapter from The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Brilliant author, and a wonderful “real food” educator and advocate.
- Given the choice between buying local grapes (from a farm 30 miles away) or cheaper grapes (from Mexico or Chile) in your grocery store, choose local. Or chard, or apples, or carrots, you get the idea.
I’ve also assembled some general guidelines for people trying to eat healthier foods, but we’re going to cover that another week. Reminder to hit up the Food Allergies Rock free concert this Sunday, November 6 at Golden Gate Park. Until next week, happy (and healthy) eating!