I have always loved food. For the last few years, I’ve been on a journey to learn as much about how to buy, make and eat good foods that benefit my family. Just like other areas, knowledge helps us make sound choices. Here are the four main philosophies that guide me most of the time. Call it clean-eating, eating real food or eating like our grandparents used. I strive to stick to these at least 90% of the time.
- Eat Real Food
- This may sound obvious… but it means eating things like real butter, peanut butter, cheese, etc. <-Yes, those are actually good for you. If anything ever says something like “cheese food,” “peanut butter spread,” “buttery taste”… then it’s more of a food product. Our bodies were designed to eat actual food and not things processed with many additives.
- “Fat doesn’t make us fat, sugar makes us fat“ – Dr. Mark Hyman. Keep repeating that one. It will help you in many ways and hopefully help you rethink lots of foods.
- Eat full-fat dairy products: whole milk, butter, cheese, yogurt. It was not until about 50 years ago that people would have even considered not eating whole-milk dairy products. And guess what? All of the low-fat and fat-free foods have just increased our consumption of sugar. Refer back to number 2. By doing this, you will enjoy foods in the least processed way you can.
- Care About Words Over Numbers
- If it comes from a plant or eats plants, go for it. If it’s made in a plant, think twice! This matters more than how many calories something has, since not all calories are equal or have the same affect on our bodies.
- If you have to count numbers, count the number of ingredients in your food. Counting calories makes us feel good about being in control. More often than not it makes us feel deprived, wanting more or defeated if we don’t do it perfectly. Young children naturally stop when full. Most of us adults could learn something from that, too.
- Some of the best foods for our bodies have no extra ingredients at all, because they are the ingredient.
- When Buying Organic Matters
- Eating well is not all about eating organic. Eating all organic would be great, but most of us really cannot afford that option. So that means we have to choose what we will purchase.
- Re-train your brain to only want good quality (organic usually and grass-fed when possible) meat and dairy. We cannot peel or wash these items like produce. The reality of most commercial meat and dairy farms is that they pump animals full of antibiotics their whole life. These are not good for us. Items not labeled organic may contain antibiotics. Many “free-range,” “cage-free” meats can be good choices as well. For milk, I personally recommend (for anyone in FL), Dakin Dairy brand. Whole Foods and Rollin’ Oats Market sells it.
- When you want to support smaller farms and more sustainable farming. This may not be the case for all organic farms, but in most cases it does not make a difference.
- Wheat (Bread) is Not the Problem
- The quantity of wheat we consume is more than most even realize. Many packaged foods contain wheat you probably didn’t even know about. We eat more baked goods than earlier Americans did. It wasn’t always so easy to buy a cupcake, doughnut or box of crackers.
- Find some bread and baked goods that you can make from scratch. This is not just because they usually taste better than mixes, but you can control the ingredients. If you cannot pronounce the name of something in your bread, you probably do not want to eat it. Here are four of my favorit favorite bread recipes.
- Buy quality pre-made bread and baked goods if you’re going to buy them. Read the label, look up the company if you have time. It will be worth it for your taste buds and your body.
- I personally recommend King Arthur brand flour. As far as I can tell from some research, they don’t use many of the chemicals that others do, it’s an employee-owned company and in my personal experience things bake well with it. Plus, it can be found in most regular grocery stores.
A few websites and resources I particularly recommend to help you on your journey:
- Michael Pollan’s books – start with “Food Rules” for a quick and easy read
- The Daniel Plan
If you would like to discuss or ask questions about anything listed or left off of here, just leave them in the comments.