You’ve probably heard the term “raw foodist?” A raw foodist is a raw food diet enthusiast and one who eats a vegan diet made up nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. All food consumed is prepared under 116 degrees. I think it’s more important to be a “real foodist” and eat whole foods than to eat a 100% raw diet.
The term “whole foods” gets thrown around a lot but whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural or original state as possible. This means they have not been processed or refined. An almond is a whole food, but almond milk is not, although almond milk might be considered to be a health food by many.
Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, raw milk, eggs, meats, poultry, and fish. However, all of these things are excluded when processing takes place and additives are included. Real food is old and traditional. Real food usually has an aroma junk food often does not. Notice how little packaging real food has. If you want to be healthy eat a package and label-free diet.
In regards to eating real food no one says it better than Michael Pollan, (from In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Dr. Barry Sears also has this great saying, “Carbs grow out of the ground and protein moves around”.
Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to being a “Real Foodist:
- Do shop the farmer’s markets.
- Do shop the perimeter of grocery stores where the healthy food lives because the center isles are where the processed foods are.
- Do buy foods without packaging or labels.
- Do eat foods with seeds or a core.
- Do eat “fork and knife” meals rather than grab and go food
- Do grow your own food (if you can!)
- Don’t eat food with lots of packaging and wrappers.
- Don’t eat food with two paragraphs of ingredients.
- Don’t eat ingredients you cannot pronounce.
- Don’t eat food that your Great Grandma wouldn’t recognize as food.
- Don’t eat foods that won’t spoil or expire.
- Don’t eat foods with mascots or cute characters.
- Don’t eat any food ending in “o’s” or with slogans.
- And lastly, don’t eat anything that was made in a lab.
Ever notice that nature-made foods induce good health and man-made foods cause disease? Many develop addictions to man-made foods, especially those made of gluten, wheat or dairy. Often people are allergic to the very foods they constantly crave. Once an elimination diet is undergone then the real culprits are revealed.
By the way, an elimination diet is usually practiced under the advice of a doctor or nutritionist. Sometimes a patient might slowly withdraw common allergens, such as wheat, gluten, eggs, nuts, dairy, corn or milk.
A food journal is kept and the patient will record any symptoms experienced. Another method is to start with a very bland diet of plain foods, which are unlikely to produce symptoms (like brown rice for example). The patients will then slowly add foods back in, monitoring what symptoms are experienced.
Some common food allergy symptoms are hives, acne, wheezing, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, severe fatigue, migraines, vomiting, dizziness, mental confusion, nasal congestion or trouble breathing and even anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction. Symptoms include trouble breathing, tongue swelling, shock, chest pain, rapid pulse or loss of consciousness. Food intolerances may cause a stuffy nose, bloating, weight gain, constipation or fatigue or just feeling “off”.
Once the food allergies are recognized one might experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Within a week or two those symptoms may pass. Often it’s the foods we love that we are most allergic to. I remember when I first found out I had to get eliminate wheat and gluten from my diet, I was so sad about losing my morning oatmeal and Saturday night pasta. But I was motivated by my newfound improved health and wellness. I no longer had migraines or bloating. Eventually, I became aware of gluten free oats and pastas made from quinoa, brown rice and corn. I was finally able to have my gluten free cake and eat it too.