February 19, 2010

What Are Real Foods?

Natural Foods Diet

This post is the second part of my natural foods diet series. If you missed the first post, I talked about the importance of natural foods and why I made the switch.

In this part of the series, I’m going to give you an overview of what I consider “real food” and will breakdown some of the most common foods I consume on a daily basis.

My Take On Natural Foods

Determining what is real and what is not is a very difficult task. I think the meaning of “real food” can vary depending on the person. Some people would argue that food like milk and cheese is real, while others would say it is highly processed. Therefore it is important to determine what “real food” means to you and adjust your diet accordingly.

I’ve personally decided that I am going to stick with eating food that comes in a natural (or as close to natural) state. I am trying my best to avoid any ” highly processed” foods that are full of artificial ingredients and preservatives. I also buy organic and local foods as often as I can.

For the most part, I am avoiding any boxed or packaged foods. Anything that comes in fancy packaging with celebrities on it, crazy health claims, or “new and improved” labels telling me how the new recipe is better (like Domino’s new pizza). Soda has been completely removed from my diet, as well as frozen pizzas, lean pockets, deli meats, and most bread products.

What I Eat

So what do I eat now that I’ve removed a lot of processed foods? Below are the foods I eat on a daily basis in order based on how much I consume:


I’m sure it’s no surprise that vegetables are at the top of my list. Since removing the bad foods from my diet, I have drastically increased the amount of veggies I eat everyday. They work wonders for feeling full and actually taste amazing once you get used to eating non-processed foods.

Some of my favorites include spinach, carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.


Just like vegetables, fruit intake has also increased with my new diet. I try to eat 2 – 3 servings a day and love it. When you cut out processed foods, fruit tastes amazing. It’s crazy how much different it tastes once your body is not hooked on fake food.

My favorite fruits include bananas, apples, pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries.


When I first started this diet, I was having a hard time debating if I should consume grains. I’m a big fan of Mark’s Daily Apple and one of the things he often talks about is the negatives to eating grains. It’s been shown that the human body can survive just fine without them. But it turns out I love them to much to give up.

However, I have cut back on the amount of grains I eat as well as the types. Oatmeal is the main grain I eat. I tend to eat it every morning for breakfast and often use it to make pancakes.

I also consume quinoa, brown rice, and homemade pita bread made with oat flour.


Meat is another touchy subject. I’ve tried going without in the past but always came back to eating it. I am too picky of an eater to survive without meat and enjoy the taste of it. So instead of cutting it out of my diet, I’ve just made it a side portion of my meals instead of the main entree.

As far as the type goes, I tend to eat chicken the most often. It’s somewhat cheap and very versatile. I also mix in a variety of fish and beef as well each week.


While some people may argue that dairy is bad, I feel that dairy is fine in moderation. It’s a good course of protein as well as calcium. Eggs and greek style yogurt are the main types of dairy I consume.

Eggs are one of those items that people seem to be pretty skeptical about. One week they’re a superfood, the next they will kill you of a heart attack. However, I honestly feel that eggs are not a problem. They are a well balanced food and one of the things I consume daily. The key is to find quality eggs from a local or organic farm.

Just like eggs, milk is another one of the foods that people tend to debate about. For the most part, I only use it in my coffee and oatmeal. I don’t even drink a cup a day since it does have a good amount of sugar in it.

Miscellaneous Items

Besides the foods above, I also eat/use a few other items frequently. One thing I am not afraid to use a lot of is spices. I eat a ton of cinnamon, jerk seasoning, and crushed red peppers. I also use salt and pepper from time to time.

For sweetening, I use pure stevia extract that doesn’t have any fillers added to it. It’s super potent and can sweeten just about anything. It’s a tad expensive, but once you buy some and see the size of the scoop you will realize how long a little powder will last. I also eat raw honey from time to time, which you can find at most health food stores.

I eat 100% cocoa powder in my oatmeal, which is full of fiber and contains no sugar. I also drink a lot of tea and coffee every day, two things I could not live without. I also consume a lot of wine, specifically red wines.

When it comes to snacks, hummus is one of the foods I have grown to love. It tastes great, especially with homemade pita bread. I still can’t believe I eat the stuff, I used to be the pickiest eater in the world.

So there is a breakdown of most of the food I eat on a daily basis.


In the final post of the series, I talk about the transition phase and share some tips on switching to a natural foods diet.

Photo: Augapfel

11 thoughts on “What Are Real Foods?

  1. Pingback: Natural Foods Diet - Part 1

  2. Shane

    I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple a little over a month ago and started changing my diet. The biggest change for me was cutting down on grains. I had been following a P90X diet for a while so I thought I was doing a good thing by eating brown rice and wheat bread. But after I stopped eating them I was amazed to see about 5 lbs come off very quickly. I still have cravings for pizza or pancakes every once in a while so I’m experimenting will almond flour recipes now.

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      That’s awesome to hear that it helped you lose weight. I used to eat a lot of brown rice myself, but have cut back quite a bit. I still eat a lot of oatmeal, but only because I realized that if I get rid of grains I get way to skinny.

      It’s hard to eat tons of meat, especially when you see where a lot of it comes from….

  3. Adam Pieniazek

    Dude, hummus sandwiches are awesome.

    Fresh ciabatta bread + lettuce + tomatoes + vidalia onions + hummus + green & red peppers = super tasty and perfect for a snack during a long bike ride.

  4. Erica

    Totally agree on hummus. Love it! Haven’t tried pure stevia or raw honey yet. I will keep an eye for those items whenever I next visit a health food store. (Don’t think they’re available in most supermarkets.)

  5. Pingback: Tips For Switching to a Natural Food Diet

  6. Free Traffic Site

    Veges!!!!! I love them.. I give me more power that you can imagine. Veges are like life boosters. I stay fit eventhough I’m busy in my business because of veges. Thanks for the post!

  7. Brad @ Diet Solution Program Review

    Processed foods are hard on the body. Whole food are the trick to good health. Sadly though to me it seem expensive to buy fruits and veggies, at least where I am from. We have a farmers market during the summer months, but it never lasts long. We have plenty of beef and such. I make my own breads, soups and jerky, and that is as close to it as I can for being almost free too. I just made a ham bone soup, froze half of it and when I want some more I just let it thaw in the fridge for 2 days. Good stuff. Never had hummas sandwhich, but going to try one cause it sound good.


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