What Should We Eat?
The answer to this question should be simple, but in today’s world it rarely is. There is always someone new telling us they have the solution to everyone’s dietary habits, suggesting that if we don’t follow their advice we will surely drop dead.
Even a lot of nutritional advice from so-called experts is often based on overblown correlations and inaccurate interpretations. And that is not even mentioning the $50 billion supplement industry. I worked out that if I had to follow the advice of just one company, I would be taking up to sixty-five different tablets, three times a day!
We are all different; there is no one way of eating that works for everyone. Human beings are actually able to adapt to different ways of eating over time! So, rather than getting caught up in whether we should go paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, raw vegan, or follow the blood type diet or even genetic typing (to mention just a few diets that are popular today), it would be much better to focus on real food.
What is real food? Real food is fresh and nutritious, predominantly local, seasonal, grass-fed (for meats), as wild as possible, free of synthetic chemicals, whole or minimally processed, and ecologically diverse. It is a powerful life-force for the land, and for the animals that eat it (including us!). Real food focuses on quality rather than mass-produced quantity.
The only food rule we have in our house is to eat real food mindfully: thinking about not just how much we eat, but what we eat and how what we eat affects us mentally and physically, and how what we think affects our food choices. This is an attempt to reintroduce a culture of thinking and effort back into eating, one based on diligently stewarding the mind, the body and the world around us.
Our Real Food Essentials
What are some favorite real food items we have in our pantry at home?
- Organic, cold-processed extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO): we love using EVOO in salads, as a marinade, in dips—you name it! Thankfully it is widely available in most stores, and online! Some brands we love is the Whole Foods 365 brand, Bragg’s unfiltered olive oil and local varieties when we travel! And did you know that healthy fats like EVOO help us absorb all the fat-soluble nutrients in our produce? No wonder olive oil tastes so good on a salad!
- Ghee: This is a clarified butter, and is generally lactose-free. We love using ghee to cook, as it can withstand higher temperatures, especially if it’s a good sauté or stir fry! It’s also great blended with coffee for a delicious morning treat, or if you are baking. If you are a vegan, you can use organic, unrefined coconut oil instead!
- Steel-cut oats. I love a good bowl of oatmeal in the morning, which is so filling and so delicious! I usually buy steel-cut oats, as they are less processed and refined than rolled oats, and very satisfying.
- Nutritional yeast. This is an inactive yeast that is loaded with B vitamins, and mouth-wateringly good on just about anything! We love sprinkling it on salads, soups, or using it in dips! We usually buy Bragg’s nutritional yeast, although there are many great brands out there!
- Greens. Although moderation is generally the rule when it comes to food, you really can’t have enough green leafy veggies! Packed with nutrients and delicious, I always try make sure I get my greens in! Some of my favourites are kale (of course!), arugula (otherwise known as rocket lettuce), mâche lettuce, rainbow chard and dandelion greens.
Want to learn more about real food, and the relationship between our thinking and our eating? See my book Think and Eat Yourself Smart! There is also a great app to help you improve your physical and mental health through a real food way of eating.