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.
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.