Simple Steps toward Getting Started on Your Real Food Adventure

It may feel overwhelming when you look at the whole foods, real foods, Weston Price Foundation (WAPF) recommended approach to improving your health. You will notice that almost everything is home cooked, starting from scratch. There are more steps involved in preparing foods, for example, soaking nuts and grains before use. Furthermore, there are foods mentioned that you never even heard of or were informed are bad for you. This is all true.

Years ago, I taught a class called “Healthier Food Choices” in which I spoke about how, for example, conventional packaged food ingredients were bad and how one could make a “healthier food choice” by choosing a food with similar but “healthier” ingredients from the health food store! I have traveled a long distance since then. Now, I simply council people to stop buying packaged foods entirely and to start making their own meals from real food. There is no longer any need to read food labels, because I no longer buy foods that require a label. If there is more than one or two simple ingredients it goes back on the shelf. If I am in a Whole Foods, Wild By Nature or any conventional grocery store, I shop the perimeter where the fresh produce and meat counters are located. Of course, the best way to shop is to buy directly from your local farmer through a buyer’s club and to support your local organic farmer by joining his/her CSA (community supported agriculture). But we are getting way ahead of ourselves here.

Before you take your first steps, you need to crawl a little. So the very first action to take is to start to become familiar with the basics. Visit the Weston Price Foundation website. Follow the links provided here. Read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the book that presents the work of the brilliant Dr. Weston Price. Read this blog and other real food blogs. You cannot expect to do and learn everything all at once. The logical approach is to take one small step at a time. As you are reading and educating yourself about real foods, you can make small goals for yourself, such as, changing one food item a week or even a month.

The first step should address the important issue of fats. Which fats should you eat? Get rid of all the conventional vegetable oils, margarine and trans fats like Crisco in your kitchen. By the way, Crisco stands for crystallized cottonseed oil, definitely something you do not want to eat!  Instead, buy organic extra virgin olive oil for salads, unrefined sesame oil, coconut oil and butter or ghee for cooking and baking. Use duck and goose fat, and get some lard and tallow from a supplier of grassfed beef for high heat cooking.

Conventional vegetable oils are really bad for you, including, and especially soy and canola oil. These two oils in particular are worse than other vegetable oils as they are part of the genetically modified “four”: soy, corn, cottonseed and canola. Unfortunately, they are pervasive in our food supply. They are in all salad dressings, lots of baked goods and other packaged foods. We just don’t know how eating genetically modified foods will affect our health over time. See more about genetically modification at my past post. There will be a lot more about fats in upcoming blogs!

The second step you take should involve the issue of sugar. Americans have too many sugars in the diet. Sugar is disguised in many forms and is hidden in all packaged foods. It can even be found in frozen vegetables! Refined sugar is empty of nutrients , high in calories and highly addictive. Sugar appears as sucrose, dextrose, maltose,white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and fructose. Avoid these additives to your food as they bring the blood sugar up very rapidly, cause an insulin surge and then a crash. These products and all artificial sweeteners are highly addictive which makes refraining from them difficult. But the longer you stay away, the less craving you will have. You may replace these manufactured products with cautious use of natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup, or rapadura which is unrefined cane sugar. At least these have trace minerals and other nutrients. However these natural sweeteners should also be limited.

There is a huge learning curve when it comes to changing your food choices. But once you learn something new, it becomes very easy to implement.There is a lot of misinformation out there. The Weston Price Foundation recommendations are based upon the wise traditions of our ancestors, which have been proven over and over to support vibrant health. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next installment of Simple Steps Toward Getting Started on Your Real Food Adventure.

This is also posted at: Grain-free Tuesdays, Simply Indulgent Tuesdays, Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Weekly, Fight Back Friday,

Monday-Mania”/Monday Mania>,Grain Free Tuesday

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  • June

    My concern is how does one go out with others – eat at a diner or meet friends for dinner or go to your family for meals and continue to eat healthy. Is this a diet that can isolate you?

  • John

    I enjoyed your article immensely! Although I considered myself a healthy eater (always buying “low fat” and “sugar free” foods), I now realize that I have to take it to the NEXT LEVEL. Thanks so much for the awakening.

  • Jill

    Hi June,
    You are only as isolated as you feel. You should NEVER feel deprieved when you are eating this way. The key is to learn how to make the foods you really enjoy and relearn how to use traditional fats in cooking. For so long we have been on the low fat craze and you forget how delicious everything tastes with some real, traditional fat in it!You will never lose lasting weight without fat in your diet, to say nothing of the importance of the nutrition fats bring. I will have a lot more to say about fat in later posts. But we go by the 80/20 rule. If you can eat this way 80% of the time, (as long as there are no urgent health issues that require real diligence,like SCD/GAPS)it will make a great impact on your health. The other 20% do the best you can. That certainly can be accomplished when you are eating at restaurants.

  • Jill

    Hi John,
    Wow. I am so glad this article made an impact on you. I always tell people to learn how to put the good fats back into their diet and take out the sugars and all the artificial sweeteners. They are addictive and neurotoxic. And they keep you from getting over the sugar cravings. Keep reading as there will be more to come in this Simple Steps series.

  • Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Great article! I’m looking forward to the next installment.

    I think sugar is the hardest ingredient to clean up and reduce in a diet. We’ve been following a Real Food diet for awhile, and sugar is usually the ingredient that we backslide the most on. The next one is meat. For our family of 7, it’s hard to justify spending an average of $8/lb. on beef, and chicken is not far behind at $3 to $4/lb. Finding a meat buying club has helped, but it’s still a struggle.

  • Jill

    Thanks Barb!
    I agree. Sugar is very hard to eliminate entirely. Healthier alternatives would be raw honey or maple syrup. But in “real life” kids are confronted with sugar snacks all the time, especially when they are in school. Everyone (including teachers) loves to offer children sugary snacks. I used to get so outraged, because at every event or activity, there would be someone there providing a snack. It was always juice and cookies or some rendition of such. Was I the only parent who didn’t want my kid eating sugary snacks at every activity? Why do they need a snack at all if it is something they are doing after school for 30 – 40 minutes? Didn’t they get a snack (hopefully a good one) at home right before they came? I could never understand why people think children need snacks every hour…it is the parents creating this need for sugar. Many of the kids really needed to NOT eat all that sugar and to learn to enjoy an activity without involving a sweet food…OK I’ll stop ranting.

  • Peggy

    Lovely write, incredible site layout, carry on the good work

  • sara

    barb…as for the meat…it may be worth while to you to look into buying quantities of meat…like a side of beef…i don’t know where you are but here in Virginia the going rate is $4.50 per pound or so hanging weight. (works out to $5.50 or so once it’s said and done, depending on how you get the animal cut up). of course that price applies to the tenderloins as well as the ground beef but over time i find this is an extremely economical option for most families. of course if you don’t have a large freezer it gets a little harder but that is more of an investment that pays back in spades.

  • Jill

    Hi, Sara,
    Thanks for the comment to Barb. I have never bought a whole side of beef, but it is certainly something to think about and do the math for. When I first started this whole food journey, I very quickly realized I would need a large freezer. At this point I also have a extra refrigerator!

  • Jill

    Hi Peggy,
    Thank you so much for your kind words. I tried to get to your site, but an error occurred…

  • hellaD

    Wow, fantastic article. I often forget that there are folks out there who don’t know these basics since I was on the NT diet for 5 years before going on the GAPS diet. It is really good to remember to start from the beginning and try to remember how it was when I was getting started and this is a good reminder. Love your site!

  • Jill

    Hi Hella,
    Thanks For your comment. Since this is a new blog, I feel like I have to start from the beginning. I am trying to reach the folks who are following the USDA standards, thinking that is healthy…