Easy ways to eat real food

tomato harvest

I got really excited a few months ago when a grocery store came into the town 30-minutes from me–the town I have to travel to if I don’t want to buy groceries at Dollar General (I didn’t know that was even a thing until I moved here). Walmart and one other grocery store was all that I had to choose from, and I knew this third option was supposed to be a “discount” grocery store.

I walked in, grabbed a cart, and walked in like a boss. Smiling, chin up, and with a saunter behind that shiny new metal box on wheels. I walked down the first aisle. And the second. And the third. Then I jumped to the outskirts, because I hadn’t found anything to put in my cart yet, and the outskirt is where the healthy food is supposed to be, right?

Eggs. Milk. Cheese. That is literally all I could find of “real” food in the store. So I put eggs in my cart. And a brick of cheese in the cart. I didn’t even know what was in the boxes that lined every shelf in the store from top to bottom. I’d never eaten or bought these instant-type meals before. So, I picked up a box. It had preservatives that are in skincare (I know, because I avoid those things on my skin). It had plastics. Why are there plastics in our food? And WHY were other people putting these things in their carts? I was confused. And shocked. So I ran full speed ahead when I saw a gentleman pick up the unsuspecting box with no living food in it, knocked it out of his hands, pointed through my breathlessness at the ingredient list, and then he thanked me profusely before I checked out and left. Okay, the last part didn’t happen. But I did check my cheese and eggs out, and I never returned.

How did we get from eating real food, to preparing cheap boxes of who knows what, and not only buying it, but eating it and thinking that is normal? How did living food become a luxury, something we have to be intentional about, something we have to think about, something we have to begrudgingly force ourselves to incorporate into our lives and put in our bodies–our living, breathing bodies?!

Real, live, raw foods contain enzymes that our bodies need, prebiotics, minerals, vitamins, fiber…really, really important building blocks for health and life. Raw vegetable/fruit diets are researched to literally cure all sorts of problems, including cancer. So why aren’t we eating hardly any raw foods? Maybe because we see it as time consuming, expensive, and difficult. I’m not perfect at this, but man, am I trying! Here are some ideas to help make it easier, more accessible, and more interesting for us all.

  • Just do it. Literally, just make yourself start adding salads, veggie sticks, and whole fruits into your meals and snacks.
  • Change the shape of what you’re eating. Scrape down one end of a carrot to turn it into a point–your kids will love you. Julienne your summer squashes, cucumbers, or carrots (Pampered Chef sells a handy dandy julienne peeler). Put your summer squash through a spiralizer. Thinly slice your onions. So many options! Just changing the density and shape can make vegetables more appealing to eat.
  • Add herbs and spices. You’d be amazed at what some butter or ghee, and rosemary, thyme, basil, and garlic can do to fresh or frozen peas. Not only that, but they had nutritional and medicinal value to your food!
  • Brown butter with a single fresh herb and pour that over lightly cooked veggies. A winter squash with 4 TBS browned butter/8 thinly sliced fresh sage leaves is FAST to make, and tastes DELICIOUS.
  • Do monthly or weekly cooking and freeze things. While you’re at it, dice up veggies and freeze them together, too. It’ll make a fast and easy go to for topping pizzas, making omelets, and more.
  • Juice. You can pack A. LOT. of fresh fruits and veggies into a glass of juice. Mix and match or follow recipes.

Remember–cook your fruits and veggies as little as possible to retain as much nutritional value as possible. Get creative. Don’t let it sit in your fridge and rot. And just. do. it.

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