Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Adopting a Real Food Diet. Spring Treats!

In a recent Blog I presented some tips for discussing changing to a Real Food diet and helping friends and loved ones do the same. A Real Food diet is based on fresh, seasonal, local foods - many of which are plant based - and humanely raised, chemical and hormone free meats and poultry.  Real Food folks also avoid farm raised fish.  Observers of a Real Food diet shop locally and buy as much food as possible from Farmers’ Markets, Farms, and Markets representing local producers. Real Food eaters cook at home from scratch often; observe a regular “dinner time”;  and avoid fast food, artificial sweeteners, "substitute" foods like no fat yogurt or margarine, convenience food, and commercially processed and/or commercially frozen food.

Honestly the more I know, the more concerned I become that folks are doing themselves harm with the way that they are eating, so the more knowledge about a Real Food Diet that we can share, the better. More and more I get the opportunity to have in depth discussions with folks who are concerned about their diet and their health and the connection between the two.  Of course, I still have to field the “fresh food/food at the Farmers Markets is too expensive” complaint.  I tend to not engage with that too much because there are ways to analyze it and it is often not true, depending on what you buy, what you waste, the cost of prescription medications, etc.  Real Food as opposed to chemically laced supermarket products might just be worth a few more dollars.

The Food/Health Connection

I have spent a good deal of time already in April watching documentaries and doing a lot of reading and research regarding the connection between Food and Health.
Documentaries like, “Forks Over Knives”, “Cooked”, “Fed Up”, and “Food Matters” - just to name a few - are well worth putting some time aside to view.
I was particularly interested in learning more in depth information about the astonishing rates of diabetes in America - not to mention Heart Disease and Cancer - and the relationship between those diseases and diet.  

I learned some astonishing facts:

*In 2013, 50% of all Americans were taking at least one prescription medication!

*1/3 of all Americans will become Diabetic in their lifetime!

*Americans ingest, on average, 147 Pounds of refined sweeteners a year per person!

Happily, one of the most promising things that i learned was that, through diet, the progression of these diseases can sometimes be slowed or even reversed!  Imagine that.  And imagine how Big Pharmaceutical feels about any scientist or physician advertising  that reality!

Out of all of this learning, and with my own personal experiences, I have come to the conclusion that practicing a Real Food approach can go a long way in improving the American way of eating and the health of Americans in general.

I offer these questions again here to help folks get started in a Real Food direction.

Asking the Right Questions/Getting Started on the Path to Real Food

In order for a person to develop their own goals, it is necessary for them to look at their own habits and practices and decide where they want to make changes.  These general questions can be a good start to helping individuals see their habits and patterns and what they would like to change.

  1. How often do you eat fast food in a week?
  2. How often do you eat take out in a week?
  3. Do you “Brown Bag” your lunch?
  4. Do you make menus and shopping lists prior to shopping for food?
  5. How often do you cook “from scratch”?  Would you like to do more real cooking?
  6. Do you have a - relatively - set “dinner time” for everyone? 
  7. How often in a month do you cook for family and/or friends?  Would you like to do more of that?
  8. Do you know where the Farmers Markets and Markets selling local farm products are in your immediate area?  
  9. Where do you shop for food?
Honest answers to these questions, along with the development of a do-able plan, can provide a real blueprint for adopting a Real Food diet.  This is just a start.  But it is a start!

Please Note:  I do have a limited number of spaces available this Spring for consulting with individuals looking to adopt the practices of a Real Food diet.  These short term consults involve supporting individuals in getting an idea where they are currently and where they want to go in changing their diet.  It also includes some start up "Recipes for Success" as well as an analysis of the best markets and resources in the area.  Shopping tours and menu development activities are also available.  Contact the Philly Foodist at:

Spring Treats are Here!

Now is the time folks!  Keep your eyes open because the Asparagus, Ramps, Morel Mushrooms, and Fiddlehead Ferns have arrived!  These delicious treats have a very short season and are worth binging on when you can get them. I will be sharing some of our favorite asparagus recipes as the season unfolds.  Ramps and Fiddlehead Ferns bring such a punch of flavor to any dish:  think pasta or rice or sautéed with grilled chicken, fish or meat.  Morel Mushrooms are so amazing - pair them with a basic cream sauce with thyme and freshly ground black pepper and you have an incredible side dish. Morels sautéed by themselves in a little butter with salt and pepper are amazing. Some folks like to stuff them.  The point is, the recipes are out there so do not hesitate when you see any of these spring treats and use your imagination to cook with them. 


Fiddle Head Ferns

Cherish Real Food!