Once upon a time (not very long ago), I lived on Jack-in-the-Box tacos and Coke zero. I thought organic cookies in the store were an oxymoron and I couldn’t understand why people would eat things from the health food store.
I said things like “EVERYTHING causes cancer!”, “Life is too short to not enjoy your food!”, and “Everyone else I know eats like this and they are fine!” to try and justify my habits.
I thought eating healthy was eating low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, etc I made no connection between my diet and my endometriosis, chronic fatigue, adult acne, allergies/asthma, low blood sugar, inability to get and stay pregnant, and other issues.
I participated in Weight Watchers very successfully because I could eat chocolate for breakfast and lunch and fries for dinner and still lose weight as long as I didn’t go past my point allowance. Then I would get to my target weight, quit, and gain it all back. Then I would join Weight Watchers again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Clearly I lacked moderation in my life.
I didn’t always care
I tell you all this because I want to make it clear that I didn’t always care about real food. I used to think it was ridiculous. But when we started making changes and started seeing results, I realized that God really did know what he was doing when he designed our food for us. He designed it to nourish, to sustain, and to please. He placed the first humans in a garden full of real food and it is no coincidence that the first sin also revolved around food. Satan has been twisting food around since the first days of creation, and believe me, he hasn’t stopped.
The heart of this blog is to encourage people towards abundant, joy-filled living. I blog about real food because I truly believe it is a huge part of abundant living. How?
3 Reasons to Eat Real Food
1. Our bodies are designed to eat real food. “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. ” Genesis 1:29. When we eat foods from nature, our bodies know how to digest it and use it for energy and nourishment. When we eat chemicals and ingredients made in a lab, our bodies do not recognize it as real food. Food Babe sums it up well:
Not only is processed food making people fat, it’s causing disease. Energy is lost when your body cannot extract the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food you eat in an efficient manner, when it becomes weighed down by preservatives and chemicals it must cipher through, and digest substances that provide zero nutrition to the body. This energy is critical for our vital functions, organs and hormones to work at their optimal level. Without this energy people will feel sick, tired and unhappy and continue to be prescribed drugs to make them feel better instead of addressing the root cause – what they put in their mouth. (source)
2. The food God created heals, the food man creates promotes sickness. Another way I’ve heard this said is “Every time you eat or drink you are either feeding disease or fighting it.” The more I learn about herbs, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, etc., the more convinced I become about the power of real food. This simple teething tincture with clove has amazing numbing power and this cold-buster salve made with oregano really works at shortening cold symptoms. The things God has given us are very powerful healers, we have just lost sight of it among modern medicine. Processed foods can’t do that for us. No one says “just add some caramel coloring and red 40 to your drink for an extra immune boost!” or “Did you get your recommended daily intake of granulated cane sugar?” or “I’m feeling sick, it must mean I should eat more french fries.”
No, we know these things are bad for us, but most of us just don’t care! Most people do not read the ingredient labels. We have been brainwashed to only look at the numbers: calories, fat, fiber…. We are so focused on the “parts” that we have no idea what we are actually consuming and what it is doing to our bodies.
Let’s take this bottle of coffee creamer for example. It says fat free so it must be a healthier option, right? Instead of looking at the calories and fat, how about we look at the ingredients: water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skim milk, contains less than 2% of light cream, sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavors, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate-60, sorbitan monostearate, sodium polyphospate, beta carotene.
Your great grandmother would not recognize this as food. This is not food. This is a chemical concoction that contains a couple food-like ingredients. Our bodies do not recognize this as food. It does not promote health in any shape or form. If you want a delicious coffee creamer, then add a dash of maple syrup and a dash of vanilla to some real cream. That is 3 ingredients, cheaper than the Coffee-Mate, plus the real fat in the cream will create a filling of fullness that will last much longer and leave you feeling satisfied instead of needing more and more cups of sweetened chemical coffee. (As a side note, many of those ingredients are also genetically modified. So yes, you are also drinking a little bit of pesticide which has been shown in some studies to decrease fertility, cause miscarriage, and destroy the gut lining. Read more here.)
3. Nourishing your body with real food is an act of love.
When my eyes were opened to all the deception in the food industry and I began to make changes towards a real food diet, it was an act of love two-fold. First, it was an act of worship. As a Christian, the Bible says my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.(1 Corinthians 6:19) In choosing to take care of my body and health, I am showing God that I take that seriously. I am not a time traveler, but if I was I would not show up to one of the temples in the old Testament and graffiti it. For the same reason, I’m not going to litter my body with junk.
( Side note: In 1 Corinthians 10:23, the Bible says:
I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
Clearly, eating processed/junk foods is not a sin, but it is not beneficial. I think sometimes people can become a little too over zealous with drawing that line. I am not saying it has to be all or nothing. We still eat processed foods when we are out and about and/or fellowshipping with others, we just do so in moderation and as a rare treat. After all, it may come across as snobbish and unloving towards others if we turn down food that they have lovingly offered to us. In general, though, we focus on eating real food.)
Eating real food is also an act of love towards your family. When you lovingly make homemade meals for your family – that is an act of love. Furthermore, if by eating real food you can minimize/avoid future health problems, you owe that to yourself and to your family as well. If I choose to indulge in an unhealthy addiction to processed foods, I am basically telling my family that I care more about that food than I do about my own health and them! I know it can be so easy to think that the choices we make only affect us, but that just isn’t true. They also affect those who love us. My kids will have to take care of me someday and that is either going to be sooner or later and a lot of that is going to depend on how well I take care of myself. I want to be there to see my kids grow up. I want to be an active participant in their lives. I don’t want to cut short their time with me because I can’t exert self-control or because I don’t have time to spend in the kitchen.
I recognize that may come across as harsh, and I surely don’t mean to discourage anyone. Remember that girl at the beginning of this article? I humbly write this blog post as someone who no longer has allergies, asthma or low blood sugar. Those things all went away when I cleaned up my diet. Do I still struggle with other health issues? Yes! Could these health issues be a whole lot worse if I was not making an effort to nourish my body with real food? Double yes!
Eating real food is probably not going to solve all of your health problems, but it will help.
If you are reading this and you want to eat a real food diet, but you have no idea how to get there, then be encouraged. All it takes is little baby steps. Slow and steady wins the race, my friends. Here are some articles I wrote for beginners to new food:
You may also want to check out The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies – an ebook designed to help you learn how to eat real food on a budget.
If you are starting out, pick one area and make the switch to real food in that area. Once your family has adjusted to that one simple change, then you can focus on making another simple change in a new area.
How do you feel about real food? Should we care?