Real Food Defined (The Rules)

Real food basically means anything not highly processed (like artificial additives) and containing only five or fewer whole ingredients. It means mostly avoiding ingredients you would not cook with at home.

Here are the seven rules we followed during our original 100 Days of Real Food pledge:

  1. No refined grains (such as white flour or white rice); only 100 percent whole grain. Items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat” by itself.
  2. No refined or artificial sweeteners (such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda); only honey and pure maple syrup in moderation.
  3. Nothing out of a package that contains more than five ingredients.
  4. No factory-farmed meat; only locally raised meat products.
  5. No deep-fried foods.
  6. No fast food.
  7. Beverages to include only water, milk, occasional all-natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee and tea, and (to help the adults keep their sanity) wine and beer in moderation!

I promise, there’s still food left after eliminating everything mentioned in our rules!

What you CAN eat:

  • Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables (we recommend that you shop for these at your local farmers’ market)
  • Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  • 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (find a local bakery for approved sandwich bread and check the Understanding Grains post for more info)
  • Seafood (wild-caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
  • Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation)
  • Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
  • Also, check out the Recipes & Resources page for a more detailed list of meal options including links to recipes

2,536 thoughts on “Real Food Defined (The Rules)”

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  1. This mesmerizing blog post lays down the guidelines for embracing the world of authentic, unadulterated ingredients. Learn to distinguish between processed and real food, and empower yourself with knowledge about sustainable and mindful eating. From vibrant fruits and vegetables to organic meats and whole grains, this guide will inspire you to prioritize the purest and most wholesome options. It’s time to embark on a flavorful adventure that celebrates the true essence of real food!

  2. Doreen Barnett

    I just purchased your 100 days of Real Food on a Budget ..We recently retired and are finding it hard to make ends meet but want to eat healthy too !!
    I Lovd what I see so far so just joined here for more ideas
    Thank you ❤️

  3. I love this idea and this helping me start the new life diet plan I wanted. I didn’t understand what good, unprocessed food was and how to eat. Now I do. I hopefully will find this an easier way to eat and become the healthier person I desire.