Yes, that’s right. I’ve done the research. I did the hard work. I did the digging. If I had a chemistry lab, I might’ve even done the testing myself. If you’ve ever wanted to know which foods help prevent cancer, help slow down aging, stop smoking, make you taller and even make you more attractive, this post is just for you.
I’m sure you see these “articles” all over the Internet, or on the cover of every grocery store magazine. “This food will help you curb belly fat!” or even “This drink will help you stop wrinkles!” or I know you’ve seen “This food will help save mankind from the ultimate perils of fatness!!!!1111!11!1!1” Well, forget them. This, right here, is the definitive list.
Get ready for it.
Are you ready?
If you want to cure, fix, prevent or eliminate most problems that affect the human body… eat the food that comes out of the ground.
Short list, right? It really is that simple.
It’s not meant to be insulting, but it should definitely sound like a gigantic “duh” moment. Problems with your skin? Bet swapping out a chemical-laden food for real food will help with that. Problems with your hair? Sure, you can take a vitamin for that… but the natural origin of that vitamin? A real food. Trouble with your digestive system? Guess what may be able to help? A real food.
When you go grocery shopping and you pick up foods with big bright signs that say “now with fiber!” or something ludicrous like “fortified with Vitamin X,” guess what? Those are chemical versions of those vitamins. Those vitamins aren’t “extracted” from natural resources! It couldn’t possibly have the same benefit, and keep it real – because of the way those vitamins are delivered, they may not even be usable in your system (for example – some vitamins only dissolve in fat.. but they’re offered in fat-free foods as a “benefit!” You wind up passing the “vitamin” right out of your system.)
We’re always looking for shortcuts.. we want to buy things in boxes that tell us “Ooooooh, I can get a day’s worth of Vitamin C!111” or “Oh, all my fiber in one bowl? Really? Must buy!” We read articles in magazines telling us how drinking ammonia, a kool-aid/bleach mixture, or apple cider vinegar can help us lose weight… when it’s really only protecting us from what we would’ve eaten otherwise. We’re gung-ho to buy something telling us it’s “good for our heart,” even if that “something” is a bag of Fritos.
We’ve created a culture that is so obsessed with “what we put in our bodies,” that we’ve overlooked “what we are putting in our bodies.” So blinded by “fat is bad… ooooh, this is low fat!” that we don’t remember to turn it over and see all the chemicals required to make that “low-fat” item. It never dawns on us to remember that if we’re seeking to lower our fat intake, we should just… eat less of the fatty item. It also never dawns on us to think about how we’re sacrificing the taste of the fatty item – “low fat” items never taste as good as their regular counterparts. We’re just so focused on “ooh, low fat!” and feel so guilty about eating the food in the first place, that we suffer through the disgusting – usually salty and cardboard tasting – food. Yuck.
We’d buy a cereal colored with a food coloring known to cause mental deficiencies because it says “made with whole grain… good for your heart!” on the side. We agonize over vitamins and minerals that we don’t understand… we just know that we need them. We know that we need them because someone told us we do. Before processed foods, we didn’t need to know we need these vitamins and minerals… because before processed foods, we were eating real food! We were getting them in our diets anyway.
The problem with this “superfood” kind of culture is the fact that it creates a panic surrounding certain elements of food, but allows you to ignore the food itself. Why? Because elements of food can be recreated, packaged and sold. Food, in and of itself, can only come one way. It’s beneficial to the food industry for you to focus on parts of food… because they can infuse their products with parts of food. And guess what – if they infuse their products with the right combinations of “parts of food,” they can even get pretty stamps and stickers from organizations we “trust” telling us how good their product is for us! Meanwhile, no stamps or stickers for the valuable stuff – the produce section. Hell, the produce section doesn’t even get any labels or wrapping.
You probably clicked this link because you thought you were going to get the answer to all your nutritional needs. Well, in reality, you did. Everything you need to live, thrive and do both happily is in real food. Everything. Ev-ery-thing. It doesn’t have an advocate paying a writer to talk about it being a “superfood.” It doesn’t have a bright sticker telling you how good it is for your health. It’s just there… in all its colorful glory… chillin’ in the produce section. Give it a shot. It won’t hurt.. I promise!
This is why I love your site. There’s no magic pill but mother nature’s own!!
Love it! I’m weening myself off the processed crap. Not as hard as I thought. The hardest thing to stay away from is deli meat…It’s so easy, cheap, and low in fat! lol. Very soon I shall find the solution to my lunch meat dilemmas.
I promise you, it’s MUCH cheaper for you to purchase a whole chicken, chop it up, and store the meat that way. I promise that’s your best bet.
Congratulations on winning the Black Weblog Award! You’re my favorite health and wellness blog and I’m so glad you won!
Great post! But WHAT is a good swap for deli meat? 🙁
Buying a chicken (or turkey) and slicing it yourself with a nice sized knife, really. Make a marinade with whatever spices and flavors you desire, and store your meats with that for a while. That’s your best bet, IMO.
Wow, Erika it’s like you’ve read my mind. I was actually thinking about emailing you and asking if you could address the “health food” scam that is running rampant in this country. Especially since said food usually isn’t healthy at all! Every time I see a FiberOne commercial it makes me sick. If their food is still delicious it’s because a lot of their products are still loaded with sugar! In their Oats and Chocolate bar, there’s 9 grams of fiber but also 10 grams of sugar, which honestly seems low to me considering how often sweeteners come up in the ingredients lists. There’s HFCS(!), sugar, high maltose corn syrup and honey and that’s in addition to the chocolate chips that have their own sugars. Besides, I remember reading not too long ago that the “fiber” added to snacks and the powder you can put in water may not be useful to your body like real fiber anyway. I know granola bars NEVER fill me, no matter how much fiber they have.
People are paying all that extra money for glorified candy because they’ve been tricked to believe that fiber is hard to get. It isn’t. 25-30 grams is not a lot if you are eating proper food and there are some cheap, delicious foods loaded with fiber. Right now I’m soaking some dried chickpeas for a meal later. In just 1/4 cup of those dried chickpeas there are 14 grams of fiber. That’s half of your daily intake from just part of one meal. Dried beans and legumes are a very cheap health food, but they’re largely unappreciated by American consumers.
Thanks for another great post! I admit that I was looking for a list of “secret” super foods! LOL Thankfully, I’m realizing that the FDA has…or had us all fooled!! So in order to not only lose weight, but to live a healthy lifestyle, I actually need to learn to eat right. So, yes, I will start spending more time in the produce section. 🙂
How do you prepare chickpeas and do you eat them with a salad or by themselves?
You can eat chickpeas in/with ANYTHING! They’re generally cooked the same way as any and all beans, no difference – soak ’em overnight with spices, cook ’em moderately for a couple hours, boom. Easy as pie.
Spice ’em and eat ’em alone, or top a salad with ’em, blend ’em with rice and a veggie, or put ’em in a food processor and make dip. All kinds of choices!
Like Erika said, chickpeas are very versatile. Some people throw them in salads. They can also be used to make dips, falafel etc. I was trying to think of new things to do with summer squash so I made what I now call “garden” chickpeas. I used canned chickpeas, put a little olive oil in a pan (or pot) with chopped fresh garlic, put the lid on and let the peas get soft. Towards the end of the cooking, I threw in yellow and green (zucchini) summer squash, red onion and halved grape tomatoes. I let everything kind of “stew” in the pan until the veggies were soft and had soaked up some of the garlicky flavor. Very colorful and very tasty.
Love this. It really is just that simple. I love shopping the perimeter of the grocery store and ignoring the boxes in the middle, almost as much as I love picking a few things up at the farmers market.
OMG- I read an article that says that crunchy cheese doodles are the newest super appetizer to serve at parties. My goodness and gracious how many people fall for this crap??? I am disgusted by the whole damn thing. This as people make fun of me with their orange tongues and blue fingers….keep’em coming.
I love this so much. It makes me so happy to hear about people who are choosing to stop being ignorant and start being responsible for their bodies and their decision. Thank you for being so real and down to earth! Haters can hate, but they’re the one’s losing in the end 🙂
Ding, Ding, Ding!!!! Lol. You really hit the nail on the head with this blog – it’s so simple, it’s genius! Thank you Erika for your knowledge along with a side of humor. :)))
Haha! You got me. I did think that you were actually crazy enough to create a long list of great foods but I hear you. I’ve been incorporating juicing (well, my Magic Bullet since I can’t afford a juicer yet) using fresh fruits and vegetables for the past 3 days and I already feel a difference. I’ve been using beets, kale, cucumber, parsley, spinach, grapefruit, carrots and ginger. I’m going to mix it up a little this week. I’m not on a juice fast, I still eat solid food but I definitely want to reach optimal health by using fresh fruits and vegetables along with exercise. I made a long list of goals that have nothing to do with the number on the scale, because that will go down as I address my overall health. Some of the things I want to get rid of are swelling in my legs, fatigue (I’m anemic), a lack of concentration among others.
I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to entertain the conversations in my head that are negative. You know, “You’ll fail” or “Okay, you’ll lose some weight but you’ll just put it on again along with an extra 20 sooo, why try at all?” Even as I’m typing this, these thoughts passed through my mind but I’m just going to take this one day at a time.
Thanks again for the work you do in creating this blog.
Erika – what do you think about the rotisserie chickens made in grocery stores? One of my favorite go to easy meals is rotisserie chicken, brown rice and steamed broccoli. Please don’t say it’s bad!!!
It’s a hell of a lot better than some of the other options out there, I’ll tell you that.
Don’t get caught up in absolutism. Do the best you can today, and constantly re-assess how you can improve to do better tomorrow. If the best you can do today is getting the rotisserie, then pat yourself on the back for not getting it fried while simultaneously wondering how you can roast your own chicken in the future. *hug*
Thank you for this. So many people don’t believe the reality of food. As a plus sized woman, people just assume I eat whatever. But if you come in my kitchen, my cabinets are almost bare, but my fridge and freezer are full. Fresh food is the bomb, and thankfully I know how to cook using herbs and spices. I don’t use much salt at all, I only eat Greek yogurt (LOVE IT), no fake cheese, lots of whole grains and beans, don’t buy sugar or fake sugar (I DEPLORE fake sugar and can taste it at 20 paces), and I’m trying to drink as much water as I can, with a couple wedges of lemon or lime!!! I only do chicken and turkey, with an occasional ham steak (don’t judge me LOL).
I started eating clean the first of the year. Doing a mostly vegan diet (except for a piece of grilled fish one day and beans with chicken on another). I have always had a weakness for french fries and my family has not decided to eat the same as me. They had homemade burgers and fries (the frozen ore ida fries) and I had a few… I couldn’t resist the temptation. I can attest that the next day, after ONLY around 5-7 fries, I felt like S***! I have been walking four miles every other day for the last couple weeks and that day I felt like passing out! I’m sure it was all that salt. So, yes, real food IS super food! I have never been in great shape, but after starting to eat clean, my endurance level gets better EVERYDAY!
Taking in note:)
Just reading this post reminds me of when I was living in Korea. My husband and I bought a box of Cheerios from Costco and we noticed that it had a big, heart shaped sticker on it. We peeled it off when we got home only to see it covered up “Can Help Lower Cholesterol & Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease”. I guess Korea was like “We’re not telling our people that.” They might buy it just because it said that.
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