Greetings from the Real Food Dude in New Mexico. I want to take this opportunity to defend my major life style change from the standard American diet (which is the SAD diet indeed-- pun intended) to a "real food" diet. I'm not trying to defend myself from those that may just call it another diet fad or a food yuppie endeavor. Rather, I wish to defend any major life style change I make partake on for my own personal system of self checking. It's important that I can fully articulate my convictions and base any life style change on core values that I wish to guide my life by. If I fall short of this, I'm surely doomed to make any kind of everlasting change. It just so happens that a lot of my different values intersect with the actions of eating real food. I wish to describe those values below. I will start with the most obvious and move into maybe the not so obvious ones.
I wish to value health more. Really, this has to be the reason for anyone wishing to make a change in their diet. However, I now realize that the focus on health has to be looked at in the long term and not just in the short term. It's about more than just trying to lose the 40 lbs. I need to lose. It's about avoiding all the nasty chronic diseases that have become an epidemic in our Western culture (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, auto-immune, chronic fatigue, IBS, etc.). There's a reason why all these things continue to increase in our culture despite all the indoctrination we receive from the USDA and FDA.
Now that I'm a husband and Daddy of a soon-to-be two year old, I'm always seeking ways of making our family stronger. Being the head chef of the house, I see tremendous potential of a real food diet strengthening the bonds of my family. It's important to realize that eating real food is way more than just seeking out the organic label at the health food store. Real food is beyond organic in that it aims to avoid pre-packaged food all together. Real food will take more time, but this is good time that can be spent with the family. I'm still very much a newbie at real food and will be attempting to garden for the first time. I imagine tending to the garden with my little toddler and to have her help with the harvest. An exciting family outing will involve a trip to local farmer's market. I wish for the whole family to partake in the cooking of the meal and to continue the quality time together to sit down and share the meal together. If food is respected in this manner I see no reason why all meals should not be enjoyed together as a family.
Reminder to Slow Down
We are often too concerned with finding the most efficient and economical ways to do things. This unhealthy principle is often used to make more time for things such as work, sports, TV, Facebook, and other consumerist activities. But time for our food should not be sacrificed for things that do nothing but distract us from abiding to our values or achieving our goals. The time spent on real food will have a good return on investment when looked at from a health, relationship and overall happiness stand point.
Self-Reliance and Resisting Conformity
Let's face it. Eating and other health guidelines change at extremely frustrating rate if all we do is listen to our Government, the media, corporate interests, and other so-called experts in the field. It's time to take a step back, clear our minds from all the indoctrination, and apply common sense. With a little common sense, ability to reason, and history we will realize that eating real food is not so radical. What is truly radical is the consumption of "fake" food which is constantly being invented to keep our consumer minds happy and to keep up with the always-changing guidelines. In reality, the human species and real food has been pretty consistent over the course our our existence. Doesn't it make sense that we can continue to eat like our ancestors (who didn't suffer from such chronic illnesses) and quit relying on the food pundits to tell us what to eat?
Grow food as a family and work on the relationships with your loved ones. Buy quality food in season from your local farmers and work on the relationship with the hard workers who are responsible for feeding you. Be proud of your own hard work in preparing and cooking a meal. It will taste better and deserves to be shared with others. Work on those relationships with friends around the dining table. They will soon recognize their appreciation for real food too.