Many of you are aware of what is being called by some a “real food movement,” in an effort to bring people back to real food instead of fake, man-made, processed foods. To our great- grandparents and grandparents, it is laughable that many are going to such great efforts to redeem, explain, and use the foods they grew up on. However the unfortunate reality is in our high-tech, fast paced, convenience driven culture, real food is foreign food to many people. In the next few nutrition blogs, we will take a look at some of the benefits of these foods in more detail.

What do I mean by real food?

There is not an official definition (and it’s not needed) but it is beneficial to understand what I mean by “real food.” Here are a few definitions, all of with which I agree.

  •  Those that nature gives us, plants, roots, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, eggs, milk (unpasteurized) and those made from it. (
  • Real food is wholesome and nourishing. It is simple, unprocessed, whole food. Real food is pure and unadulterated, sustained yet largely unchanged by man. (
  • Food that is as close to its natural and original state as possible. Real food is not produced in a factory, it is not engineered in a lab, nor is it full of artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors.(

 Here is what real foods should do:

  • Real food is food that has been eaten for thousands of years without ever really changing – fruits and veggies, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, fermented foods, etc.
  • Real food doesn’t have a list of ingredients. As Michael Pollan would say, “Don’t eat anything that has more than five ingredients.” And if you can’t pronounce them, chances are, it’s probably not real food.
  • Real food comes from local farmers and ranchers and is grown without steroids, antibiotics, chemicals and pesticides.
  • Real food should be the fuel our bodies use to carry out its everyday functions.
  • Real food looks like what it is – a tomato that smells like a tomato (not a tomato that has been altered in a lab), an egg from a chicken who got to eat grass and grubs and peck at the ground, a steak from a cow who got to graze on open pasture.

(adapted from– since she says it as well as I would)

 In contrast, “fake food” could be defined as: foods that human beings create or alter trying to imitate, enhance, or mimic the benefits of the natural food. Usually fake foods are created either to make money or provide convenience.

As we prepare to discuss real food in more detail, take a look at the foods your family eats this week and ask these questions:

  • Do we eat more fake food than real food?
  • Have I bought into the marketing messages that fake foods are healthier (lowfat/fat free products)?
  • Do I know what to do with real food?

I’ll be back next week to talk more about real food which is so vital to the health of our children from head to toe. If you have any “real food” questions or comments, feel free to use the comment section below.

– Blakely Page RD,LD- the Registered Dietitian with Marian Hope Center

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