What is real food?

This is the question I get asked most often. Many people don’t give food much thought. They don’t stop to think what constitutes real food, they just assume if it’s edible, then it’s food. My definition of real food is food that is as close to its original state as possible. Real food is not processed, manufactured, or refined. It doesn’t use chemicals, hormones, or pesticides to grow. My favorite quote, which comes from my mom, is “eat what will rot, just eat it before it does.” If your food doesn’t go bad in a timely fashion, then that’s a good indication that it’s not real food!

Eating healthy is so expensive. I don’t have that much money.

I always hear this comment when I am discussing healthy eating. I think that there is a stereotype placed on organic and natural foods that you have to be rich to eat a good diet. This is not true at all. Granted, while eating a healthy diet can be more expensive, it doesn’t have to be a budget buster. And remember, making one or two small changes at a time can greatly impact your health. To read more about how to eat healthy while staying on a budget, check out this post.

Isn’t soy good for you? Why do you say not to eat it?

When the soy rage started in the ’90s, it was touted as a health food, great for the heart, and one of the best foods you could eat. If you look at some of the studies that have come out about consumption of unfermented soy products you’ll quickly be able to see that the risks of eating these products outweigh any benefits they might have. Traditional Asian cultures do eat a lot of soy products, but the soy they consume has been fermented. To learn more about the difference between fermented and unfermented soy products, please read my series on the subject. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

I’ve heard people have died from drinking raw milk. Why do you advocate consumption of a dangerous product?

There is constant debate over raw milk. It is a topic of heated discussion among people who are for and against it. My stance on raw milk is that it is a healthy, nutritious food. As a matter of fact, some people call it a nutritional super food. The debate on raw milk comes from the concerns over the safety of humans consuming raw milk versus pasteurized milk. The basis of my pro raw milk stance is the fact that before the 1920’s, raw milk was the only kind of milk available. Pasteurization was only used as a band-aid to cover up poor dairy farming practices, poor cattle health, and a lack of willingness to adhere to high sanitation requirements. Also, as with any food that we consume (unless you grow/raise it yourself), there is always a risk of illness. Take a look back at the number of food recalls there have been over the last decade and tell me that there is any more chance I will get sick from drinking raw milk than eating some spinach in my salad. Read more about the debate over raw versus pasteurized milk.

How do I find farmers markets in my area?

I strongly encourage my family, friends, and readers to do as much shopping as possible at their local farmers markets. It not only gives you access to much higher quality food, but it also helps support your local economy. Your supermarket produce travels, on average, 1,500 miles before you ever see it. By shopping locally, you are executing your right to choose what foods you will and will not eat. Here are some resources for you to locate markets in your area.