Real Food Defined (The Rules)

Pin It

Below are the rules we followed during our original 100 Days of Real Food pledge. If you are taking the 10-Day pledge you will follow these same rules.

100 Days of Real Food Rules

What you CAN eat:

  1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
  2. Lots of fruits and vegetables (we recommend that you shop for these at your local farmers’ market)
  3. Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  4. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (find a local bakery for approved sandwich bread and check the Understanding Grains post for more info)
  5. Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
  6. Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation)
  7. Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea, and, to help the adults keep their sanity, wine and beer!
  8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
  9. All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation
  10. Also check out the Recipes & Resources page for a more detailed list of meal options including links to recipes

What you CANNOT eat:

  1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
  2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
  3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
  4. No deep fried foods
  5. No “fast foods”

Please leave a reply below if you have any questions about what is okay to eat during your pledge.

_______________________________________

How to Avoid Processed Food in General

If you feel that you have the will, but not the skill to do the 10 Days of Real Food pledge then here are some general lifestyle changes to consider instead…

  1. Read the ingredients label before buying anything. For years, if I even looked at food labels, I was reviewing items such as fat grams, calorie count and sugar content. While this may be important to some, the best indicator of how highly processed a food is can actually be found in the list of ingredients. If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you may want to reconsider before buying.
  2. Increase your consumption of whole foods especially vegetables and fruits. I am sure you’ve heard similar advice a thousand times, and I hate to tell you that it couldn’t be more true. This will help to displace the processed foods in your diet, and will actually make your food selections in general very simple. No more counting calories, fat grams, or carbs when your only concern is selecting whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.
  3. Buy your bread from a local bakery. I actually used to eat white bread, but what I bought for my husband from the grocery store was what I thought was whole-wheat bread. When we finally checked the ingredients and found 40 different items on the list, including white flour and sugar, we decided it was time for a change. Why would there be so many on the list if it only takes a handful of ingredients to make bread? We since started buying our bread from Great Harvest Bread Company. Not only do they grind their own wheat every morning, but their honey whole-wheat loaf only has five ingredients – whole-wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and honey.
  4. In addition to your bread choice, when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always go for the whole-grain option. And don’t just believe the health claims on the outside of the box.  Read the ingredients to make sure the product is truly made with only 100% whole grains – not a combination of whole grains and refined grains which is unfortunately how a lot of “whole grain” products are made. The white flour or other refined grain alternative is simply high in calories and low in nutrition.
  5. Avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and those “that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients” according to Michael Pollan. Despite the mixed research on if HFCS is really worse for you than good ol’ white sugar, it just happens to be “a reliable marker for a food product that has been highly processed”.
  6. Don’t order off the kids’ menu. The next time your family is out to dinner try to avoid the kids menu. Those selections are most often things like pre-made chicken nuggets, fries, and pasta made with white flour, among other things. Instead try assembling some sort of side item plate (like baked potatoes and whatever else your kid will tolerate) and/or try sharing some of your meal.
  7. Visit your local farmers’ market the next time you need to restock your fridge. According to Michael Pollan not only will you find “food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious”, but you will also find a selection of pesticide-free produce and properly fed meat products. It is also better for our environment to purchase locally grown products as opposed to the supermarket produce, which travels on average 1500 miles from the farm to your plate.
  8. Lastly, to once again quote Michael Pollan, he says to “eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” If you had to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you wanted French fries then you might not eat them very often. Only eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically ensure the frequency is appropriate.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

2,220 comments to Real Food Defined (The Rules)

  • Amjad

    Hey all!

    We’re taking on this challenge but just wanted to know whether gluten-free flour that is made from potato starch and rice flour is considered acceptable?

    Thank you for your responses in advance. And we’re really excited to be doing this.

  • Naz

    Hi,
    i just have a question. My hubby and i are of indian origin, so a lot of the food we prepare needs some sort of “oil” to prepare. what oil would you recommend to use. we currently use a combination of vegetable/corn oil, and ghee(clarified butter. we plan on starting our pledge on the 27th of the month. it will be quite interesting preparing for it in the next week considering our cuisine.

  • Fred

    “No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)”

    I’m fairly certain white rice is better than brown rice unless you soak it. Same with white bread vs whole wheat bread, although I really doubt you would soak bread and then eat it. Whole grains contain anti-nutrients like phytate which bind to minerals and prevent absorption.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14985216

    I also think deep-fried food is fine if you cook it yourself in coconut oil or grass-fed butter or lard.

  • I appreciate your great info and tips. Thanks!
    I am just really perplexed about your inclusion of beer and wine as OK drinks??
    That is so counterproductive to good sense and good health.
    Why exclude so many other harmful substances, but day, oh well! Beer and wine are ok for the sanity of adults??
    Makes no sense nutritionally or logically, to me.
    Thanks,
    Kari

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there Kari. I think it is fair to just say the Leakes enjoy wine and beer form time to time. I don’t think they are arguing for its superior nutrition, per say, but a glass of red wine is touted to have some benefits. It certainly is fine to not include any alcohol it in your diet. ~Amy

  • amy

    How does cutting processed foods positively effect children with ADD/ADHD/short attention span?

    Thanks!

  • Ace

    How do you feel about carob chips as a chocolate substitute?

  • Just a few question.. Is peanut butter ok? What about stevia

  • Jenny C

    Hello,
    We are excited to take the 10 day challenge starting in the next week (still need to sign up!). However, I am concerned about the meat…it says only locally grown meat. We buy meat from our grocery store, and buy organic meat, and don’t eat a lot of it, but I doubt it is local. I have no idea where we could get local meat around my hometown. I’d be fine with no meat for 10 days, but don’t know if my 3 year old would be. Any suggestions on how to find out where to go to buy meat that is locally grown?!
    Thanks!

  • M

    Hi all
    I have a immune disorder which causes me to have to horrific allergy attacks, hard to breath, hot red rashes, etc. I have been to a allergist and I am allergic to most nuts, shell fish. Even with the meds they continue. I decided I have to start eating natural seems the preservatives are doing me in and there is no test for that. My question is frozen veggies a ok thing? We live in a area where after September there is no more fresh veggies or farmers market. Thanks

  • Christine Levy

    What peanut butter brand would you recommend? Thanks

Leave a Reply