What Real Food Is (And Is Not)

By January 15, 2013Nutrition, WAPF

The following information is provided courtesy of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt nutrition education foundation. Read our mission statement. . . Become a member and receive our lively and informative quarterly journal. Click here for a message from Sally Fallon Morell. Read our Dietary Guidelines here.

Americans are facing a very tragic health crisis. More and more adults are suffering and dying early from heart disease, cancer, and other medical problems; and more and more children are afflicted with learning disorders, behavior problems, failure to thrive, frequent infectious illness, asthma, allergies, and autism. These conditions can be helped and even prevented by eating a diet of nutrient-dense foods, the kind of foods our ancestors ate to be healthy and strong.

Healthy 4 Life, a publication of the Weston A. Price Foundation, provides easy-to-follow dietary guide-lines for cooking and eating healthy, delicious, traditional whole foods.  Healthy 4 Life recommends eating high-quality whole foods every day to provide an abundance of nutrients, chosen from each of the following four groups:

Animal Foods

Meat and organ meats, poultry, and eggs from pastured animals; fish and shellfish; whole raw cheese, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals; and broth made from animal bones.

Grains, Legumes & Nuts

While-grain baked goods, breakfast porridges, whole grain rice; beans and lentils; peanuts, cashews and nuts – all properly prepared to improve digestibility.

Vegetables & Fruit

Fresh or frozen, preferably locally grown, either raw, cooked or in soups and stews, and also as lacto-fermented condiments.

Fats & Oils

Unrefined saturated and mono-unsaturated fats including butter, lard, meat fats, poultry fat and other animal fats; palm and coconut oils; olive oil; cod liver oil for vitamins A and D.

Foods to Avoid

These foods can cause many health problems including poor growth in children, learning disabilities and behavior problems, allergies, asthma, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and auto-immune problems

Polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in processed foods, chips, snack foods, cookies, pastries, for cooking oils and for fried foods, which science has shown to cause numerous serious health problems.

Foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, ice cream and cakes.

White flour products such as pasta, white bread, rolls and bagels.

Processed foods and fast foods containing many additives, including MSG and hydrolyzed vegetable protein; these are poisonous to the nervous system and can cause weight gain.

Modern soy foods, such as soy protein, soy protein isolate, soy milk, tofu and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which can cause digestive problems, hormone disruption and thyroid disease.

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal and Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda), which are added to diet sodas and weight loss foods.  These are toxic to the nervous system and may even cause weight gain.

Stimulating foods containing caffeine and caffeine-like substances, such as coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks and chocolate.

Healthy Choices

Eating a healthy diet does not mean you have to eat foods that you don’t like.  There are plenty of healthy foods that are also delicious.  These foods will make you feel good, protect you from disease and keep you at a healthy weight.

Instead of vegetable oil, margarine, spreads and vegetable shortening, use butter, lard, bacon drippings, meat fats, olive oil and coconut oil.

Instead of foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, ice cream and cakes, use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup to make homemade cookies, ice cream and other nutritious desserts.

Instead of white flour products such as pasta, white bread, rolls and bagels, use whole grain sourdough or sprouted grain breads and minimize white flour products.

Instead of processed foods and fast foods containing many additives like MSG and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, use natural home-cooked foods, real herbs and spices, and sauces made from homemade bone broths.

Instead of modern soy foods, such as soy protein, soy protein isolate, soy milk, tofu and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, drink whole raw milk and eat nourishing foods like cheese, eggs and meat.

Instead of polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils for cooking and for fried foods, cook in healthy traditional fats like lard, poultry fat, butter, ghee and tallow.

Instead of low-fat and diet foods, use whole, natural foods that contain the fats you need to prevent overeating and maintain a healthy metabolism.

Finding Healthy Foods

Many of the foods recommended are difficult or even impossible to find in supermarkets.  If possible, purchase animal foods and organic grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables at a health food store.  If your only choice is a supermarket, shop the perimeter of the store for meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and avoid the aisles where processed foods are displayed.

If possible, purchase a portion of your foods directly from a farmer – foods like eggs and meat will be more nutritious if they come from animals that are raised outside and on pasture.  Likewise, raw milk and other dairy products should come from pasture-fed cows, goats or sheep.  In many states, the only way to obtain raw milk is to purchase it directly from a farm.  For sources of raw milk, visit www.realmilk.com.

The Weston A. Price Foundation

Your best resource for finding healthy foods is your nearest local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Go to www.westonaprice.org to find your nearest local chapter or phone (202) 363-4394.  Many local chapters have organized buying groups or food co-ops that provide grass-based animal foods including raw milk from local farms.  They can help you obtain healthy foods at a reasonable price.

Some local chapters also have meetings, pot luck dinners, cooking classes and lectures that can  help you learn to prepare healthy foods for yourself and your family.

The Weston A. Price Foundation Shopping Guide, which provides brand names of healthy foods, can be ordered from the website, www.westonaprice.org or by calling (202) 363-4394.

You can access the complete Healthy 4 Life booklet in pdf format here.