Goals Update: Time for Real Food

Vegetable stand
Photo by Michael Cannon

So, as usual, my exercise goal for May/June has not exactly taken off.  I’m still picking it up off and on, but with the summer heat, it is very difficult.  I wilt like a flower after 10 minutes.  I do have a plan to try and get something done at the university gym in the mornings before class, but I’m afraid of burnout.  I’ll have to see what it’s like come August.

Anyway, instead of wasting another two months trying to pick that up, I’m going to move on to the next goal.  For July/August, I will be focusing on moving my eating habits to Real Food.  Now, you might say, what is Real Food, and why does it get capital letters?  Is it opposed to imaginary food?

In a sentence, Real Food is traditional foods, prepared in traditional ways, from whole ingredients, with no processing.  I think we can all agree that the American food system is full of errors and fallacies.  Boxes labeled with various advertisements trying to tell us they’re healthy, and laws created under the guise of “protecting Americans” when they’re really in place to increase the profits of Big Agriculture.  Pesticides, chemicals, and genetically modified foods.  A government recommended eating plan that makes us fatter, not healthier.  When there is arsenic in our chicken and our cows are fed corn instead of grass, there is something very wrong.  Our great-grandmothers probably wouldn’t recognize half the stuff we eat as food.  Some people aren’t even able to cook things that don’t come out of a box.

There’s also the issues that we eat things out of season.  Strawberries are not supposed to be eaten in winter, pumpkins aren’t supposed to be eaten in spring.  A lot of our food is picked before it is ripe, so that it can survive shipment across hundreds, and even thousands of miles.  So, hand in hand with eating Real Food is also eating Local Real Food, as much as possible.

Switching to Real Food means paying more attention to where my food comes from, what it’s made with, and what it’s been fed (in the case of meat).  It means making more things from scratch, focusing on making traditional foods like homemade broths and fermented foods.  It means using more whole ingredients, fewer things out of a box or a can.

Now, this process has been a long time coming for me.  I’ve been reading books and blogs, and testing out small changes in the way we eat.  I’ve been buying more local foods, reading the ingredients on things that I buy, and making homemade bread and broth.  These next two months, I want to take it to the next level.  For example, I haven’t seriously considered getting grass-fed beef or pastured chicken.  The cost, I must admit, is a bit prohibitive.  Also, there are traditional ways of preparing grains with something acidic, or sprouting the whole grains, neither of which I have really attempted.

Now, there are certain other movements that are attached to Real Food, such as Paleo or Primal diets.  I’m not going to promote any of those.  My own attempt at Paleo ended after about 4 days, and I honestly believe that the human race thrived after the development of agriculture for a reason.  That’s why there are soaking and sprouting techniques, ways of making grains better for our digestion than eating them just straight.  If you’re interested in those, or if they’ve worked for you, feel free to provide links.  I don’t mind, it’s just my personal experiences haven’t been good.

So, to summarize, the next two months will focus on whole foods, traditional foods, real foods, moving away from processed junk, and even more home cooking.  I’ll let you know how I’m doing it, what my resources are, and recommended reading in future posts, as well as some more recipes, especially for homemade foods.