Friday, December 16, 2011

What is food?

What is food?  It’s kind of sad that this question must be asked and answered, but most people have clearly lost a sense of its definition.  The fact that the definition of food, something so essential to human life, is misunderstood by the public at large is at the heart of the problem with the current state of human health.

So, what is food?  A quick internet search found the following definition: “Any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.” (

So the purpose of food is to be nourishing, to sustain life, to provide energy and to promote growth.  Outside of providing energy, I would say most of the Standard American Diet (aptly abbreviated SAD) is not food.  It certainly isn’t what I call real food.

Real food is nourishing, sustains life (healthy, vibrant life), provides energy (not a spike in energy quickly followed by dips in energy, but sustained energy), and promotes growth (of muscle, bones, healthy cells, beneficial bacteria, hormones, etc.).  Real food fulfills the very definition of food.  Fake food (i.e. processed foods like frozen dinners, pizza, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, English muffins, waffles, bottled salad dressings, etc) is not nourishing, barely sustains life (and leads to diseases that diminish life), both provides and robs the body of energy, and does not promote growth of anything except adipose tissue.

So, for the real food impaired, here are a few ways to recognize real food:

Real food was alive once.  It grew in the ground or was a living animal eating it’s natural diet and doing it’s natural thing.
Real food doesn’t need an advertising campaign.
Real food usually doesn’t need packaging, but if it does, it usually doesn’t have more than one or two ingredients (ex. cheese – ingredients are milk, rennet, enzymes; almonds – ingredients are almonds, etc.).
Real food is food that your great, great grandparents and every generation before them ate and thrived eating.
Real food is organic.
Real food takes time to prepare in your kitchen.
Real food is damn tasty (not fake tasty, using chemicals like msg and chemically manipulated “natural flavors”).
Real food doesn’t give you a headache, or bloating, or constipation, or the runs when you eat it.
Real food is ... real.

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