Along with sleep, what you eat is likely the biggest determinant of how healthy you are. Now, the real question is: why is it so hard to figure out what we should be eating? A wolf doesn’t have a problem figuring out what a healthy diet is, birds know exactly what they should be eating (you probably see where I'm going with this.) So what’s the deal with us humans? I think the answer is that most of what we’re presented with isn’t real food. A stroll down the grocery aisle will confirm this, what you’ll see is (to quote Michael Pollan) “edible food-like substances,” but precious little “food”. We’ve been convinced that the foods nature has provided us are inadequate and need our intervention. We steer clear of fat, along with other important nutrients. Then we dissect food, and put it back together in unnatural ways, generally making sure that we never eat anything remotely resembling the foods our body recognizes.
What I mean by “real food” is simple…foods that are in, or very near to, their natural state. Here’s a short list of guidelines to lead us to real foods:
Food grows and dies; it isn’t created.
Food rots, wilts, starts to smell (you get the picture).
Food doesn’t need an ingredient label (and probably isn’t in a package either). Example, an apple is an apple, chicken is chicken, and almonds are almonds… and, yada, yada, yada!
Food doesn’t make health claims and doesn’t have celebrity endorsements.
So where do you find all of this food? Ideally, your local farmer’s market; the food is fresher with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, raw cheeses, and grass-fed meats and eggs (not pies, cookies, and bagels), real food from real farmers. Okay, so let’s get real, a trip to the grocery is inevitable and I understand that. The key to the grocery store is sticking to the perimeter. Think about what you see on the outside of the store…meat, eggs, produce, nuts; all foods that are incredibly healthy and unprocessed. About the only thing I can think of worth venturing into the middle aisles for are things like olives, vinegar, rice, tomato sauce, and toothpaste.