Sunday, January 03, 2010

The quest for real food

I don't really do New Year's Resolutions. I used to "make them" and then I would fail miserably. I do set goals, however, and I must admit, I am fantastic at that. This year, I have made the goal to eat at least 1 REAL food per day. My long to term goal is to move into "clean eating." This will be a slow process, but I would like work towards phasing out "food products" all together.

What do I mean by a "real" food? I mean a food with very little processing and ingredients I can pronounce. I mean getting back to food in a state that is relatively close to natural state. I do not mean RAW. I do not mean, "no more sweets or treats." I do not mean becoming some sort of weird fanatic. I just want to eat food that is better for me and for me, personally, that means food with less chemicals.

For instance, I used to buy Campbell's Tomato Soup. The ingredients: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste)Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Salt, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola and/or Soybean)Flavoring, Ascorbic Acid, and Citric Acid. I was feeling okay about my original choice until I read these four words: High Fructose Corn Syrup. Really? High Fructose Corn Syrup in Tomato soup? I know, I know, I know. It's EVERYWHERE and really the research is conflicted on this stuff. However, why does my tomato soup need it?

Now, I choose to buy Dei Fratelli Tomato Soup. The ingredients: Tomatoes, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Soy Bean Oil, Sea Salt, Dehydrated Onion, Peppers, Dehydrated Garlic, Vinegar, Citric Acid. Contains Wheat. I feel much more comfortable about these ingredients. Number 1, there are less of them. Number 2, I know what all of these things are. Yes, there is sugar my tomato soup and my preference would really be to find a version with no sugar in it. But, somehow, I just feel better about actual sugar versus a modified sugar like high fructose corn syrup.

I can find fruit, vegetables, and fresh meats quite easily. However, when I think REAL meat, I prefer to buy from a local farmer and not support the factory farming industry. Particularly, I will join a CSA to help with that those particular foods (fruit, veggies, meat, eggs). Bread items I'm purchasing locally from Gunkel's Bakery. The tricky part comes with "convenience foods." These are the foods that tend to be overly processed. For me to start avoiding these will be a slow process, and indeed, that is why my goal is ONE real food per day.

Do you have ideas or tips for eating more "real" food?


C said...

Oh my goodness! I just had a conversation about this with a friend the other day!

I find that if we make our food from scratch, it's easier to eat "real" food. All our produce is from our farm and our beef is too. Eggs are from my SIL's farm, and any fish we eat is caught from the fresh water lakes here (by my Dad!).

Amazing how as a culture many of us aren't eating "real" food anymore. Everything is processed and altered completely from its original form. So many additives and preservatives are added to our food.

My husband prefers to eat raw veggies. He says I shouldn't cook them because they're perfect in their original form. All the nutrients are still intact, etc, etc. I think it's just because he doesn't like cooked veggies! LOL!

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S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University