Get Real...................How I See It

Food and nutrition are such hot topics right now.  Sugar, carbs, fats.  What to eat, what not to eat. There’s so much information at our finger tips, it’s little wonder we’re left feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do.  Then we consider our role as parents.  Our natural inclination is to school ourselves on what we consider best for our children.  We have a natural inclination to want to “get it right” for them. So how do we navigate our way to a position of certainty, in a time when all the food norms we’ve grown up accepting to be best are being spun on their heads?  How do we keep our own heads from spinning out of control?

I think it comes down to two words – Real Food.  If we keep these two words in mind whenever we’re making food choices for our family then we really can’t go wrong. Real food is anything that exists naturally – nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, natural oils, eggs.  As famous writer Michael Pollan so beautifully put it “Food made by a plant not in a plant” Of course meat, poultry and fish, if you’re not vegetarian, are also great examples of real food too.

There’s a global food revolution taking place, an awakening if you will.  We are learning more and more about the connection between a sugar laden diet and chronic (preventable) disease such as Type 2 diabetes.  We are learning more and more about the influence sugar, preservatives, colourings and additives have on our children’s behaviour and their ability to learn and concentrate.  We are learning more and more about the correlation between good/bad diet and good/bad gut health and the impact this has on our overall physical and mental health.  We are learning more and more about how, if we strip our diets right back and commit to making as many real food choices as possible, we can eliminate things like Type 2 diabetes, allergies and behavioural issues and allow our bodies to function and serve us as they were designed to.

For me it’s an exciting time, we’re resetting the clock and going back to basics.  For me, real food makes sense, it inspires me.  Food is our fuel it makes sense to choose the fuel that lets us perform at our best.  I’m further inspired by my children, everyday I’m motivated to make real food their norm. 

Here are a couple of real food tips from my home kitchen:

Make as much as you can from scratch - Ditch the packets and the lists of ingredients that read like a science experiment – the longer the list, the less likely it is to be good for you.  
Kids in the kitchen – Get them involved, talk to them about food, what you’re eating, why you’re eating it
Savoury snacks – Offer savoury snacks instead of sweet. Vegetable sticks and hummus, cheese, nuts and seeds. Sugar lurks inside most store-bought products these days, as a result we’ve come to expect that everything should taste sweet – reset the palate/don’t foster this expectation
Set your kids up for the day with a great breakfast – Swap sugar laden, store bought cereals for healthy fats and protein rich options like eggs and bacon, nut milk/coconut milk smoothies and nut butter on toast, porridge served with cream and or coconut oil, sweetened with berries or banana
Be prepared – Set aside an afternoon or morning each week to plan your week’s meals and bake/make snacks to have on hand throughout the week
Ditch the sugar – enough said
Full fat everything – anything “ lite” or low fat is high in sugar
The good oil/fats – Stick to oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee and butter. Steer clear of any processed oils such as canola oil, vegetable oil, soya oil, rice bran oil and any kind of margarine spread. There’s nothing real about something, that among many other things, has to be bleached
Get your Sherlock on – get in the habit of reading ingredients and ignoring the marketing. It’s so important to know exactly what’s in our food.  I’ve got a 4-6 ingredient rule and they all have to be words.  I don’t care what promises are made on the front of a packet, the ingredients never lie!!
Get a guru – Social Media is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to food, it can be hard to know who to listen to. There’s a wealth of amazingly generous and informed people out there so find someone or a group of someone’s with a philosophy that speaks to you.

It doesn’t have to be earth moving and it’s certainly not rocket science it’s just two words that together, make so much sense – Real Food, guaranteed to be great for your family’s health.  Now that’s some marketing you can trust!!