ABOUT REAL FOOD
In an increasingly fast-paced world where processed food and take-aways seem to be the best option, we need to reconsider what our body and health are truly craving.
I have always been fascinated by nutrition and the healing effects that certain food can have on our body (learn more about my story here), especially the stories of people who have change their fate by changing the way they feed themselves.
You may have heard of Kris Carr, author and expert in the field of wellness, who was diagnosed with cancer in her early thirties, she is now an advocate for eating your way to health and has shared the recipes that contributed to her recovery with millions of people.
In her book Cancer-Free with Food (link below), author Liana Werner-Gray studies the food that will help you to prevent cancer. And guess what? All that food can be found in nature, from the earth, unprocessed, natural food that has the power to heal us. This is what I call Real Food.
weight loss and real food
The food we eat can be a delicate subject to touch on because it is often attached to our culture, our religion, our traditions, and/or our childhood. We also use food when dealing with certain emotions in order to reassure ourselves and bring some sort of momentary relief from situations that may make us feel sad or lonely.
Reassessing our relationship towards food
It becomes increasingly important for us as individual to reassess our relationship towards food and check where we are at. Because food is not only there for us to survive (or else we would be happy with a very basic diet) but it can be a real source of pleasure, a way to socialise, and more importantly it is what nourishes your body and your mind. It gives you the energy to wake up in the morning, the energy to go to work, the energy to start that project you have been dreaming of, the energy to travel, supporting your body all the way from the time you wake up until the next morning when you are ready to start again.
This is the reason why every single morsel of food you eat must be chosen with care and be appreciated.
Food is, after all, your fuel for life
Here are a few questions you may want to reflect upon:
- Does the food you eat make you feel energised?
- Do you eat a diversity of food every week?
- Do you take some time each day to choose and prepare your food?
- Are there any food you know you need to remove from your diet?
- What stops you from doing so?
choosing nutrients over calories
Instead of counting calories we should start counting the nutrients we feed our body with.
Choosing to eat real food is choosing to eat food that nourishes your body, giving you all the nutrients you need to be at your best physically and mentally.
Those nutrients are found in nature, in the food that reaches our plates with as little changes as possible from its initial state. It is found in the food whose beneficial properties remain and does not contain any additives, sweeteners, preservatives and flavourings.
Choosing to eat real food is choosing nutrients over calories. The former is an indicator of health while the latter brings nothing but confusion. While an avocado is high in calories it is loaded with vitamins and essential fatty acids that contribute to weight loss as part of a balanced diet. Once again, choose nutrients over calories.
Heal your Body with Real Food
When it comes to weight loss a balanced diet is key to achieve your goals.
In our western world the word diet often as a negative connotation partly due to all the faddy diet we have seen emerged over the last 30 years or more. How do we achieve a balanced diet?
A balanced diet is a diet that contains all the macronutrients and micronutrients in the adequate amount for your mental and physical Self to be in good health.
This can be found in a variety of (real) foods.
- Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins; they are the foundation of our diet.
- Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals; they are vital however we need a lot less of those, thus the name micro.
The key to weight loss is to adopt a diet which is essentially made of the real food in each of these categories, while minimising our consumption of processed food.
Here is a non exhaustive list:
Real Food - Carbohydrates
VEGETABLES must be the first ones on your list, full of fibres, vitamins and minerals, they provide instant energy to your body. I won’t give you an exhaustive list of all the vegetables right now, instead I think it is important you start with the one you love the most and then start introducing new ones.
Try to include a few green vegetables into your plate at least once a day (kale, spinach, courgette, broccoli, asparagus, etc.), start in a juice if you are not very keen on greens.
Real Food - Fat
When we think of fat some of the few things that come into our mind are oil, fried food, or other food that makes us fat, or the (very) unpleasant one in our belly area. This is not the most accurate definition though because if that was the case all you would want is to get rid of it, and believe me, you do not want that!
- Fat regulates our body temperature
- As for carbohydrates, fat is an important source of energy vital to our body
- Without fat our body would be unable to absorb some essential vitamins (vit A, D, E & K, which are not water-soluble unlike others)
- Fat is a major constituent of our cell membranes
- Fat keeps our skin plump and healthy. For gorgeous looking skin!
- Fats are essential in our diet if we want to live a long and healthy life
Fat is an essential nutrient and must be consumed from the right sources. Limiting our consumption of saturated fat and introducing healthy sources of unsaturated fat will contribute to a healthy mind and body.
Try the food listed below and you will soon become a fan of your healthy sources of plant-based fat:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Real Food - Proteins
Proteins allow our body’s cells to repair and are essential to the formation of new ones.
Not all proteins are equals, while a cup of lentils provides slightly less proteins than a steak, it is however, high in fibre and does not contain the saturated fat that a piece of meat comes with. Its luggage, as I like to call it, is a lot less heavier to carry.
Sources of plant-based proteins:
- Beans & legumes (lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, butter beans, black beans, pinto beans, edamame, split beans, borlotti beans, black beans)
- Nuts & seeds
- Tofu & tempeh
VITAMINS & MINERALS
They are called micronutrients because compared to macronutrients we need them in much (much much) smaller quantities. They are, however, as essential to our health. Vitamins and minerals are in fact vital!
All vitamins and minerals can be found in our diet. However, some people may need to take some supplements which always need to be discussed with a health professional first.
Vitamin D for instance is recommended during the winter months when we don’t get as much sunshine, and a Vitamin B12 supplement is highly recommended when following a 100% plant-based diet.
All the food cited above, particularly fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins & minerals.
achieving your weight loss goals
There is much more to food than counting calories and it is important that you consider what the food on your plate brings you. Health and satisfaction are to me the two most important factors to look for when choosing what you will feed your body with.
If you are eating healthy but don’t find any pleasure in eating a big plate of broccoli then you will soon be fed up of eating healthy. On the other hand, if the food you eat is a source of pleasure but is loaded with saturated fat and refined sugar your health will not be able to keep up for long. This is where balance is key.
That big plate of broccoli I just mentioned ? Make it exciting by roasting it with olive oil and sea salt and adding spices such as paprika, mixing it up with other veggies, grains, or pulses and a tahini Caesar dressing drizzled on the top. A lot less boring isn’t it?
Real Food needs not be boring or time consuming, all you need is to make it fit into your lifestyle. There is no secret, in order to lose weight you need to eat healthy food, which to me means eating food that brings you the nutrients you need, leaving you feeling satisfied, with no sense of restriction whatsoever. This goes against what you may think about diets, however I believe it is the only sustainable way to do it.
It won’t happen in one night, nor in one month, but it will last you a lifetime …