In my previous post on real food
, I explored the basics of what real food is and how different it is from what we’re eating today.
In this post I’ll try to explain how to eat it, where to find it, and what meals could look like.
Here’s the good news!
It’s so very simple. You do not have to read every new research that’s been done, nor do you have to read complicated scientific gibberish. Everyday science seems to change its mind. Also, science has just scratched the surface on how different foods impact our body. This is because food has so many components and in our bodies everything works so intricately that a little thing off balance sets of something that snowballs into something even bigger. So instead of looking at a particular food group in isolation, we’re better of studying the bigger picture.
Just look at what traditional societies have done for so many thousands of years and apply it to what we’re doing today.There are many ways to eat well. Not everyone has to do exactly the same thing.Having said that these things have stayed the same over time through different traditional and evolutionary landscapes:
1) They ate locally produced food that was in season. (But of course)
2) They did not eat stuff from boxes/packaged. (duhh!)
3) They ate natural food. (really, I wouldn’t have thought)
4) They did not eat animals pumped with hormones and antibiotics or diseased. (need I explain?)
5) They ate slow food. (No Mc Donald’s in sight)
6) They listened to their body (and not their brains)
7) They recognized the importance of food. (Aphrodisiacs?)
8) They ate real fats. (Don’t get me started)
9) They ate simply (food was just food)
How can we apply this to our lives today?
Eat locally grown food. I’m not going to lie. I love that I get olive oil all through the year, though olives are far from local. After I’ve explored the ingredients and it seems as natural as can be in a bottle, I am happy to have it on my shelf.
Not everything modern is bad don’t get me wrong. (Thank goodness gracious heavens above, anyone who is listening, for epidurals!)
Having said that, you can go a long way by trying to get as local as possible. Hari Bhari Tokri’s
Ubai Hussain explains this. He says that many crops are grown all year round in not the best conditions for their growth because they are cash crops. For example, Nagpur oranges are grown because the area is famous for oranges. They are grown all year round thereby depleting the soil of its natural minerals and resources because they bring in the moolah. Ideally when the season for oranges is over, farmers traditionally would grow other crops, which required different set of resources, and when orange season came around again the minerals would be replenished.
With the Hari bhari tokri scheme, they only grow local vegetables and keep changing them seasonally. You won’t get the same vegetables in consecutive tokris (baskets). Fertilizers used are natural cow dung. In this way, fresh local vegetables, grown as naturally and ethically as possible could be delivered from the farm to your doorstep.
Don’t eat processed food
. Choose non – processed sources wherever you can. Buy whole milk from the local milkman, try and grill him about the dairy where the milk comes from, and be involved. Don’t buy packaged cheese, which is highly processed. Buy fresh, local sources
Real food does not have labels that say ‘healthy’ ‘low fat’ ‘all natural’.
Shop very carefully. Read the ingredients and research what you’re buying, because lets face it, we city people do not have the luxury of picking our apples from beautiful orchards.
A note here. Those rolled oats and breakfast cereals are indeed heavily processed and are an absolutely no no.
Eat things found in nature. Like coconut oil, not vegetable oil. Eat a variety of colourful FOOD as opposed to food found in colourful boxes. That’s because there are different vitamins and minerals found in different colours of food. Mother Nature knows best.
Look for good sources of meat. Buy meat from a local butcher, ask him where his meat comes from, and eat in restaurants that meet your standards, build relationships. I know this is easier said than done in our city where these concepts are met with raised eyebrows, but it’s changing and we can be the change by asking these questions! Try and look for humanely raised animal products. I’m going to help find this. I’m sure it must exist locally.
Eat slowly appreciate every bite. Many times when food is ingested after binge drinking, in front of the tv, or at work in front of a computer, we don’t even realize we’re full or what we ate. We’re not really all there. We’re not satiated and want to keep picking on things. If you really taste everything you’re eating you may discover new tastes and textures that you love.This reminds me of my son. He spends time at the breast and is extremely satisfied after a feed. When at times he drinks expressed breast milk (like the times when I am at boot camp) he polishes off a whopping 5 ounces and cries for more not realizing he is full because he drained the bottle in 3 minutes as opposed to the half an hour at the breast. He does not feel satisfied after a whole meal.
Listen to your body
. Make an effort to eat when hungry, stop when full. Who says you have to eat breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner? You don’t. These are new rules and it’s more mental than anything.
Ever heard of interminent fasting?
It’s awesome because we have such structured lives. Going without a meal now and then is important because of many reasons; one of them being it teaches you to listen to your body.
Sugar and heavily processed salty foods have addictive properties. That’s why we’re not able to differentiate between real hunger and cravings. Eating nutrient dense food staves of cravings.
Food has many purposes. Food today has become about pleasure and indulgences and a lot of people have warped relationships with food. In traditional societies men and women of child bearing age ate foods high in fat because they knew how important fat and it’s nutrients were for the mother and the fetus. They were intuitive about food and did not need supplements. Learn to accept that foods purpose in our lives is to nourish and heal and not to cause stress and depression.
Eat good fats. Nature does not make bad fats, factories do. Of all the dietary changes out there, nothing is as drastic than what we’ve done to fats and oils. Suddenly our diets have quickly gone from consuming pure animal fats like ghee to plant based unnatural oils. These are ‘fake’ fats and terribly problematic.
“Did you know that there are several well known tribes in Africa… the Masai, Samburu, and Fulani tribes… where their diet consists mostly of raw (unpasteurized) whole milk, lots of red meat, and cows blood? The typical members of these tribes eat 5x the average amount of saturated fat compared to overweight, disease-ridden Americans.
Despite their very high saturated fat intake, they display extremely low body fat levels, and heart disease and diabetes to natives of the tribe is virtually non-existent.“
I can write 10 posts on fats because I am so upset about how it’s been labeled as the bad guy while low fat skim milk is being guzzled. And I will, but right now, lets get back to real food.
Keep it Simple Meals don’t have to be complicated. Indian meals usually are. There is the sabzi, the daal, the chapatti, the rice, and then you’ve had a complete meal. This idea of a meal is so ingrained in our heads that we cannot fathom a meal without all of this. But if you can open your mind and look beyond this carb-laden fare.Here's what my day looks like in terms of meals.
Breakfast: Two eggs fried in coconut oil, or two eggs omelet with mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, and masala, made in coconut oil. Coffee. Fruits.
Lunch: A sabzi cooked for the family, mostly dry, (like cabbage cooked with Indian masalas but not over cooked). So essentially my meal is, a bowl full of whatever veggie there is, a bowl of yoghurt, and sometimes some organic brown rice (mostly not more than a spoonful). Sometimes salad with home made dressing. My homemade dressing is: Olive oil, raw honey, homemade mustard, and feta.
Tea: A big mug of tea. If I’m hungry that day, I’ll eat some almonds or a spoonful or two of ghee or coconut butter or fresh cheese or even some cream. Sometimes I have a milkshake with whole milk and a seasonal fruit. Mostly though, it’s just tea.
Dinner: A big salad and some grilled chicken and maybe a soup. If there some chicken Indian style cooked with the gravy I eat it on it’s own. I also eat any veggie that’s been cooked.
It’s important to get out of the mindset that only the entire meal is a meal. Once you break free of these ingrained shackles you’ll find a delicious world out there where you actually taste the fruits and veggies, appreciate delicious butter and cream, have endless energy, and you won’t be bound to food.
An entire meal can be just some chicken with veggies on the side, or a couple of eggs for dinner, or no meal at all! It's not complicated and you don't really have to watch portion sizes or count calories if you're eating real food!
Thanks for reading!