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Defining Real Food - Modern Alternative KitchenModern Alternative Kitchen

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What is Real Food?

I would guess that most Americans would say that the majority of the food they consume everyday is nutritious. And I am sure they would say it is delicious. Unfortunately, for those eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), neither one of these are true. Most foods consumed today are NOT food; instead, they are genetically-modified organisms (GMO’s) that were created in a lab, processed with chemicals, wrapped in toxic plastic, and then shipped (often for thousands of miles) to a warehouse/grocery store where they sit – sometimes for years – before they are consumed. How is that nutritious? You’re right – it’s not!

When we are talking about Real Foods we are talking about whole foods with minimal to zero processing. Most of these foods can be found in your own backyard (or someone else’s), either in your garden or from a variety of farm animals.

This includes:

  • Organic Produce: Fresh fruits and vegetables, grown locally when possible.
  • Pastured Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken, and Eggs: Essential for a healthy diet is MEAT. Yes, I said it (and I am not alone, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation).  “Pastured” means free-to-roam and fed grass, not corn and soy laden with hormones and (you guessed it) more chemicals. If the animals we eat are eating junk, we might as well cut out the middleman and eat junk ourselves.
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  • Dairy: Always full fat, and preferably raw, but at the very least organic. Milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, butter, and yup, even ice cream!
  • Fats: Healthy fat is vital for absorption of nutrients. You can get these from coconut oil, fats from pastured animals ( butter, beef tallow, lard), cold-pressed olive oil, and palm shortening.
  • Seafood: Wild caught only, no farmed fish!
  • Whole Grains: In small amounts and only when properly prepared through soaking and/or sprouting. The soaking process neutralizes the phytic acid in grains that allows proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. If you are eating a diet high in grains and not soaking them before consumption, you are at risk for mineral deficiencies, which can lead to a number of other health issues. Many nuts and seeds also need to be soaked and/or sprouted to be digested properly.
  • Nuts, Seeds, and Beans: So many choices here, but always make sure they are organic!
  • Natural Sweeteners: Used sparingly, honey (preferably raw), maple syrup, whole cane sugar, and stevia (leaf and extract only).
  • Fermented Foods: Sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, sour cream, and miso, among others. Fermented foods have gut-friendly bacteria, additional nutrients, and are easier to digest. Wise Choice Market offers a number of fermented vegetables such as carrots, black radish, and daikon.


We will be talking about all of these foods in the coming months here at MAK. If you want more information on these foods right now, check out Modern Alternative Mama’s ebook Real Food Basics!


Which of these foods is most surprising to you?

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  1. If my choices for milk are homogenized whole milk in a glass container or nonhomogenized skim milk in a plastic container which is the better option? I know that neither are perfect but both are grass fed without homones from the farmer. They are vat pasturized vs. the ultra pasturized organic from the chain grocery store.


    • Hi Tara! In your situation, I would choose the nonhomogenized skim milk. While full fat is preferable, the benefit of the fat does not outweigh the negatives of the homogenized milk. Make sure you are getting plenty of healthy fat from other sources (full fat cream, butter, coconut oil, etc.).


  2. Great post! Reinforces much of what I’ve learned so far about healthy eating!


  3. Love this list! Question for you: I often hear about grass-fed cattle and I know what cows should be eating, but what should I be looking for when purchasing pastured pigs and chickens…what did each animal eat traditionally and what questions do I need to ask of my farmer? Thanks for your time!


  4. Thanks for breaking this down. It’s so much easier to focus on a few key points.


  5. […] The goal at Modern Alternative Kitchen is to inform, educate, and prompt discussion on real food. We recognize that everyone is at a different stage in their journey to real food and we want to meet you where you are. Some people have been eating real food for years and make their own cheese, raise chickens, and have a whole closet of items fermenting! But, we know that is not realistic for everyone, so we want you to be able to ease into your real food journey wherever that is for you.  If you are new here and are curious about what real food is, be sure to check out this post! […]


  6. We italians are quite lucky, using olive oils, tomatoes, etc. but even in the mediterranean area meat always means industrially processed cattle. And while organic wine, oil and vegetables are quite affordable, organic meat or ham or salami are so expensive…


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