Real food is, well, real good! At Hunter and Gather we believe that eating well is at the heart of the real food lifestyle.
Giving your body what it needs to thrive shouldn’t be confusing or complicated. Forget counting calories and eliminating every pleasurable experience from your life in a pursuit for health. We’ve gone back to basics to pack our plates with real food and reap the benefits! Here’s why…
The Promising Past and Our Healthy History
As humans we’ve come a long way as a species – and that didn’t happen overnight. In fact, more like over 250,000 years! The Palaeolithic era accounts for over 95% of human existence and is a time when our hunter-gatherer ancestors used their natural instincts to survive.
During most of this time we lived off the land – grazing on the grass and feasting on the fruits of our natural environment. With no such thing as supermarkets, stoves or spiralizers, we ate fresh and fuss-free.
The human diet was unprocessed, free from added ingredients and 100% natural. And our bodies thrived on it. We became top of the food chain and achieved a longer life expectancy than most other species on the planet.
The Problematic Present
We have a greater understanding of food and the effect it has on our bodies than ever, so why are we seeing epidemics of diet and lifestyle related conditions? Over the past 30 or so years the prevalence of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes has grown exponentially. These are both conditions directly linked with poor diet and lifestyle choices.
With agriculture more advanced than ever and the food industry flourishing, how is the modern diet doing us more harm than good? I’m no mathematician but something does not add up here! The answer to these questions is fake food.
In the modern age, we can now make meals from non-food ingredients, preserve them for years and survive on synthetic slurry. The effect this is having on our bodies is real. In short, we are not designed to eat these types of foods. Think of it like putting diesel in a petrol car, it’s the wrong type of fuel.
Your Fabulous Future!
Modern life isn’t all bad. We now have access to fresh food from around the globe year-round. It’s amazing to think that our great-grandparents didn’t eat bananas because they weren’t grown locally when we’re now so spoilt for choice! Remember, for every bad food choice there’s a good food choice in an aisle nearby! And for every real food that isn’t to your taste, there’s ten more that you’ll love.
It’s never too late to change your lifestyle for the better and to reap the benefits. Our bodies are constantly metabolising what we eat and using it to renew and rebuild cells and tissues. From the short-term energy boost to long-term happiness, the advantages of a real food lifestyle are endless.
Read on to find out what real food is and which ‘foods’ are wearing a fake moustache for their trip to the supermarket!
Real Food that’s the Real Deal
Eating real food means thriving, not just surviving. A diet rich in a variety of natural, unprocessed foods ensures optimal nutritional intake and promotes the associated health benefits. Take a look around your local supermarket and ask yourself where all of this food comes from. If the answer is a tree, farm or field you’re probably on the right track.
Real food is packed with natural nutrients that do us good, let’s take a closer look.
- Healthy Fats – DO NOT FEAR FAT! It is essential in the human diet, providing the body with energy and vitamins, as well as helping to absorb other nutrients. The most natural and nutritious foods all contain fat – meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds. Avoid trans-fats that you’ll only find in heavily processed junk foods and swap out refined vegetable oils for heart-healthy avocado, olive or coconut oils.
- Good Quality Meat and Dairy – High welfare, ethically raised animals such as organic, free-range and ‘Pasture for Life’ beef, chicken, lamb, pork and wild-caught seafood are all great examples of real food. If we don’t believe in filling ourselves full of crap, we can’t endorse a poor diet for the animals we eat. Organic meat, eggs and cheese are packed with protein and free from the harmful pesticides and fertilisers that can creep into the non-organic or grain-fed food chain.
- Organic Vegetables – There’s a reason why we’re encouraged to eat more veg, in fact there are many. Vegetables are host to an abundance of vitamins and minerals. They also contain powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage and prevent disease. Opt for green leafy veg and a range of colours to maximise nutritional value. But avoid starchy veg (like potatoes) which are carb dense and cause bloodsugars to spike.
Frankenstein Foods and Dinners in Disguise
Frankenstein didn’t find his monster, he created it. Just like the mad scientist experimented with different body parts, adding and taking away until he was satisfied, the food industry follows suit! It may sound dramatic (and somewhat Halloween-y!) but the reality is that synthetic foods begin their life as an experiment in a petri dish.
Fake foods are heavily processed, pumped with preservatives and artificially flavoured to produce a product that is cheap and nasty but ‘tasty’ to the masses. Here’s some of the nasties you’ll avoid with a real food diet.
- Refined and Natural Sugars – Added sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever. Even natural sugar has been shown to have no function in the human body. Too much sugar can contribute to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. We recommend sticking to a low sugar diet, contributing ideally <5% and definitely not >10% of your daily energy intake.
- Harmful Fats – These are entirely different from the healthy fats we mentioned and should be avoided altogether. You’ll find them vegetable, sunflower and seed oils. These are all refined as part of the manufacturing process – removing the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which protect the oil from oxidising. Without getting too science-y, this can promote oxidising in the body – a process which has been linked with multiple diseases including cancer.
- Grains – Such as wheat, corn, rice, barley, rye and oats. Today’s grains are heavily processed, stripped of their nutrients and sometimes even genetically modified Regularly eating grains has been associated with increased levels of allergies, intolerances and even disease.
- Drinks in Disguise – Fizzy drinks and fruit juice are full of free sugars, which hit the bloodstream like a sugary waterfall. This causes an energy spike followed swiftly by a slump. And forget sugar-free versions – these will be packed with nasty chemical flavourings and synthetic sweeteners to make up for a lack of flavour.
It’s a Lifestyle, not a Diet!
In the past we ate when we were hungry, drank when we were thirsty and slept when we were tired. Fast forward 100 or so years and ‘being healthy’ seems to consist of dissecting our diet and forcing ourselves to into gruelling exercise regimes. This goes against all our natural instincts. Ignoring hunger, fighting fatigue and forcing fitness will not make you a healthier person.
We believe that a real food lifestyle should focus on following our instincts and trusting them to prompt us to meet our daily needs for food, water, play and rest. Forget getting your 2 litres of water, 5-a-day and 8 hours sleep at night – it’s your instincts that count. Our bodies have evolved to tell us what we need and when, so instead of swimming against the tide, let’s learn to go with the flow.
Remember, we are all different. Following the real food ethos is not about committing to a one-size-fits-all diet. It’s about adapting your current diet to be the best it can for optimal health. Shopping for fresh ingredients, cooking from scratch and avoiding Frankenstein food is a great start!
We developed our entire range of products with real food in mind. We use a minimal amount of natural ingredients and no nasties - all of our products are free from sugar, gluten, preservatives and harmful oils.
Not only does this make them keto and paleo friendly, but using the highest quality ingredients gives our avocado oil and mayonnaise an unrivalled flavour. Great food that’s great for you and tastes…great! What more could you ask for?!
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.