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Real Food

July 13, 2010

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: You Are What You Eat

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their struggles and successes with healthy eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I’m always thinking about food. I love food. I’m also picky about food–not picky about types of food (I’ll eat almost anything), but rather the quality of food.

I believe in eating REAL food.

I don’t believe in eating chemical fertilizers and pesticides (which can’t just be washed off, by the way, some of it sinks in). I don’t believe in eating “fake” food, either. Did you know that most Americans eat some amount of fake food? Fake butter=margarine. High fructose corn syrup? Only if you consider “chemically altered” to be real.  Even supposedly healthy foods like “soy” meat, aren’t really real food. I mean, fake meat is fake meat, isn’t it? Fake milk, fake cheese, fake juice (Kool Aid, anyone?). Do you know what kind of crud is in “fruit snacks”? They are flavored with a little bit of fruit juice and then filled with junk, including artificial colors. You know that “artificial” means fake, right? Once upon a time the Food and Drug Administration would have required the label “imitation” on all of these foods.

Like I said, I believe in eating real food. Fat-free sour cream is not a real food. Neither is low-fat cheese. Notice all the mention of dairy products? Dairy, apparently is really easy to mess with. But I also like my meat without hormones and drugs in it. I want to eat animal products that come from animals that are raised the way the animals are supposed to be raised. Cows that are raised on pastures are going to become higher quality meat (or produce higher quality milk) than cows that are squished in a barn eating some kind of “meal.” Real meat and dairy are raised on real animal diets.

Real bread is made from whole grains, so that’s what we eat. I don’t believe in eating bread made from refined flour, which has been stripped of so many important nutrients, only to have a few added back in. This isn’t healthy. We eat whole grains as much as we can. They are so much more satisfying than refined, and can taste really good if you know what to get.

Thankfully, it’s hard to find imitation produce in the produce section of the store, but you can find lots of produce there with chemicals in it from pesticides which means it was probably also grown from deficient soil. Deficient soil means the produce will have fewer nutrients than it’s supposed to have. Synthetic fertilizers do cause plants to grow quick and large, but they only have a few of the necessary nutrients–the nutrients that make them grow quick and large! So I buy organic produce as much as possible.

Buy food from small local farms. It may not be 100% organic, but it's probably pretty close. You can always ask them about their farming practices to be sure.

Most real food needs to be fresh, so we don’t buy a whole lot of packaged goods. Packaged goods are usually limited to things like pasta, crackers, beans, rice, baking goods. We do use convenience foods sometimes, but try to avoid them.

Now, real food isn’t just individual ingredients, of course. It’s also yummy meals made with real food. Healthy eating should taste good. You can have an amazing salad. You can even eat full-fat macaroni and cheese. You can love vegetables. You can have your cake and eat it, too. Or you can have fruit for dessert. I believe that when you take the time to make real food from real food ingredients, and also take the time to sit down and enjoy it, you can be very satisfied with it. You will love the healthy options so much that listening to your body’s needs is much easier. Eating a dessert can be a treat, rather than something you binge on.

I’m not great about whipping up nice meals every day. But when I do, there is a difference. And there is a difference between organic and non-organic (I can really tell the difference now). Whole foods are so much more satisfying than refined. We do need to eat mostly plant food, but many of us can enjoy a little meat and dairy, too. And all the gimmicky fat-free cookies and vitamin-fortified soda? Let’s stop pretending now–it’s all junk.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated July 13 with all the carnival links.)

30 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 3:17 am

    I totally, wholeheartedly agree with you. Now to just start eating that way all the time. ;)

    I love all the examples you’ve given. I was really taken in Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food how the FDA regulations for labeling artificial foods has changed so much in favor of the processed food manufacturers. It’s sad that lobbyists have so much power.

  2. July 13, 2010 5:49 am

    You know, I don’t eat anything on the fake food list you mentioned (well, except for HFCS, which l limit), but I know there are things I eat that must be fake. It is pretty disturbing when you put it that way!!

  3. Cassie permalink
    July 13, 2010 7:47 am

    I like this! I want to read that book!
    We never really buy pre-packaged food. I hate it. I want to be able to look on the back of a package and understand what the stuff is. I make a rule that if I can’t understand what it is, i’m not getting it much less eating it.
    We’re so lucky to live so close to New Seasons!

  4. Pshouseblog permalink
    July 13, 2010 8:35 am

    Hahaaha I have the same picture you posted above of my wee girl: same IKEA placemat, sweet juicy organic strawberris in paw and everything.

  5. July 13, 2010 9:37 am

    Lisa we would love to have you over to play in and pick from our garden. We have too much spinach, and our friend has a ton of peas . We can’t leave the garden with our Arora wanting to pick some “yummy peas”. In a week or so we should have more salad greens ready to pick too.

  6. July 13, 2010 10:43 am

    Great article and I totally feel the same way. My father-in-law hassled me about buying all of that “high fat stuff” last year when we were visiting (real butter, real cheese and whole milk from a local dairy from WF). I responded with the idea that I would rather eat a smaller amount of whole, real foods than a ton of junk. A lightbulb clicked and he realized that I had a point, and began complaining about margarine being mostly chemicals. An interesting conversation, to say the least.

    Funny that you wrote about mac and cheese, that is on the dinner menu for tonight…whole milk from a local creamery, Cabot cheddar cheese….yum!

    • July 13, 2010 7:35 pm

      Okay, first of all–yum! Secondly, that’s awesome about your FIL. There are so many problems with the low-fat/fat-free food mentality!

  7. July 13, 2010 11:35 am

    More agreeing from me too. Especially about the whole fats. We still live in a world where low-fat = good, but I think if we keep in mind “is this the traditional way to eat something?” we will find our eating habits change for the better.

  8. Jessie permalink
    July 13, 2010 5:19 pm

    If this was on facebook I would push the LIKE buttton!

  9. July 13, 2010 10:42 pm

    totally agree with you. can’t believe how much crap is available for us these days. or worse, how much it’s become an ordinary part of life you’re cnsidered weird if you don’t eat certain snacks or drink coke.

    but the girl-child won’t eat solids.and after trying all the healthy stuff we’ve discovered she likes salty, dry and crispy. the best thing we’ve found is ric cakes, but i’ve caved and let her have crisps and pretzels. she has to learn to eat somehow. fortunately she enjoys small amounts of fruit. we have our ideals, and then there’salso life. lol

    we’re fortunate to have farms surrounding us with all organic, pollution-free crops. yay!

    • July 14, 2010 9:09 am

      Yay for the organic farms!

      Do you give her smoothies? I was considering green smoothies to get more vegetables into Michael’s diet (because he’ll drink almost anything), but then I discovered he’ll eat a lot of veggies if he can dip them in dressing.

  10. July 14, 2010 4:25 am

    Great post, Lisa. I’m right there with you! We avoid anything “fake” and buy our meat directly from local farmers (and as much of our produce from local farmers as well).

  11. July 14, 2010 8:34 am

    Oh, this is such a great article! We’re right there with you when it comes to eating real food. There’s so much rubbish available and it’s really disheartening when you’re out and see families stuff their shopping trolleys with all that fake stuff. Especially when they say they say they eat that way because it’s more economical.

    One of the things I found when I first turned around our eating habits was that the ingredients were a lot more expensive, but I also noticed how much longer they filled me up, which meant I bought less snacks, which evened the cost out considerably.

  12. July 14, 2010 7:28 pm

    I am amazed now at how much I notice the difference between organic and non-organic produce. Organic food has flavour – lots of it! And better texture too. I have a hard time eating some non-organic foods, like apples and potatoes. They taste really empty.

  13. July 15, 2010 3:08 pm

    I found that once I started avoiding buying much of the processed food at the grocery store, my cart became much lighter.

    • July 15, 2010 3:12 pm

      Yeah, mine too! I guess that’s what it looks like without all the extra “filler.” Not to mention all the extra packaging.

  14. July 15, 2010 3:51 pm

    Such a wonderful ideal! I am sure most people don’t even realize what goes in to their food.


  1. When to Splurge on Organic (and when it is okay to skip it) « Becoming Mamas
  2. My Own Omnivore’s Dilemma: no acceptable solution « The Practical Dilettante
  3. try, try again « very, very fine
  4. Starting Solids at 6 Months | Little Snowflakes
  5. Why I Love The Real Food Community | Breastfeeding Moms Unite
  6. Food — Science@home
  7. Eat Your Food or Else | LittleStomaks
  8. There’s No Food Like Home’s « Navelgazing
  9. feeding a family of six… « living peacefully with children
  10. No Gluten- No Cry | Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
  11. Food, Glorious Food! | Diary of a First Child
  12. Happy Families Can Have More Than One Diet |

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