Real Food Tips: 10 Common Misconceptions

Don’t be fooled by these misleading food myths:

  1. A healthy diet means eating “low-fat” and “fat-free” food products…wrong!
    Michael Pollan basically abolishes this myth in his book In Defense of Food, and you can check out our mini-pledge post from week 6 for some detail.
  1. Mutli-grain crackers are better than crackers made from white flour…wrong!
    “Mutli-grain” is a misleading buzzword because unless those grains are actually “whole grain” the product is really no better than those made from refined grains (like white flour).
  1. It’s “natural” so it must be a good choice…wrong!
    If a product is natural it simply means it wasn’t made from any artificial ingredients, which is certainly desirable, but don’t forget that white flour, sugar, and even high-fructose corn syrup are all derived from “natural” ingredients and they are also all highly refined.
  1. Organic packaged food is better than conventional…okay, mostly true.
    The problem is though that since the product is organic people sometimes just assume it’s also “healthy.” But there’s an awful lot of what I call “organic junk food” out there that’s still highly processed (like organic cookies, organic ice cream sandwiches, and organic candy) so no matter what the package says you still have to read – and scrutinize – the ingredient label.
  1. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is much worse for you than sugar…wrong!
    According to Michael Pollan HFCS has not been proven to be worse for you than sugar it’s just a “reliable marker for a food product that has been highly processed.”
  1. The bread that’s being made in the grocery store bakery is “fresh”…wrong (in most cases)!
    I certainly haven’t surveyed every single supermarket in America, but all the stores I’ve been to have a bustling bakery where workers appear to be pulling “fresh” baked bread out of their ovens. While it’s true they’re baking the bread right there in the store oftentimes they didn’t actually make the dough themselves, which means it’s full of preservatives and other unnecessary additives like dough conditioners (just read the ingredients and you’ll see what I mean).
  1. I was told that margarine and Earth Balance are better for my family than butter…wrong!
    As Michael Pollan says in his book Food Rules, “Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not” because it’s best to just stick with the “real” thing as opposed to an imitation. Need I say more?
  1. Some people say, “Well, isn’t cheese a ‘processed’ food?”…right (sort of).
    Our family actually avoids all highly processed food because even cooking is technically a form of “processing” or changing your food…and we definitely aren’t practicing a “raw food diet.” Mainly to draw the line somewhere we define highly processed food as products containing  more than 5 ingredients. But – just for the record – no matter how many ingredients are on the list, if a product is made with anything refined (like “wheat” that’s not whole) or if it’s deep-fried in refined oil then we definitely consider it to be highly processed as well. That means bags of 3-ingredient deep-fried potato chips are out (sorry!).
  1. Following the latest food trend (that’s oftentimes led by the food industry) is the way to go…wrong!
    If something feels like an up and coming food “trend” I mostly try to avoid it because I prefer to stick to traditional diets that people have survived on for centuries, which certainly didn’t include “boosting your omega-3’s” with a box of enriched pasta.
  1. This cereal box says it will lower my cholesterol so maybe I should give it a shot…wrong!
    Do not believe – and in fact don’t even read – misleading health claims on the front of food packages. Only trust the ingredients.

 

 

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94 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: 10 Common Misconceptions”

  1. Love that you use Michael Pollan as a source!! His books are amazing! I have learned so much from him!
    To me, diet is pretty simple, if it comes from nature with no added chemicals its good. If “man” had a hand in concocting it leave it alone!!

  2. I know this was published 3 years ago, and you often say sugar is sugar, but it appears there has been more recent information on HFCS proving that it (not plain corn syrup) really is worse for us than traditional sugar and that it causes some health concerns including liver disease. Perhaps that part should be updated.

  3. Yeah, the HFCS thing…. I like my sweets, and although I limit them to a once in a while food, I’ve found that if I choose a sugar treat, I feel normal, but if I eat HFCS I get sweaty and swollen glands. I definitely think sticking to sugar is a lesser of two evils.

  4. Yes! Curious about your take on spice blends though, containing more than 5 spices and if you’re ok with that (convenient for those that don’t want to make their own blends all the time) For example Wildtree’s Organic Taco seasoning ingredient list includes organic chili powder, organic yellow corn flour, organic cumin, sea salt, organic onion, organic oregano, organic garlic, and organic black pepper. Would love your take on it, thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. We would be more likely to eat them if we made them ourselves. :) I admit to occasionally indulging in chips fried in avocado oil.

  5. About high fructose corn, or any other fructose syrups- (agave etc.): as I understand it, these syrups, while chemically identical to cane sugar simply do not taste as sweet as cane sugar. In order to achieve the same sweetness as, say, soda made with sugar, the manufacturers need to use significantly more HCFS than they would with cane sugar. This is possible because HCFS is so much less $$ than cane or beet sugar. So a can of Coke with HCFS contains 10 (+-) teaspoons of sugar while one made with cane sugar contains 8 (+-). While at first glance, this doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but it represents 20% more sugar in foods made with HCFS than cane or beet sugar. And, which is the ultimate message of this blog, it generally all represents about 70-80% more sugar than you might use if you were making, for example, your own fizzy lemonade (soda water, 1-2tsp sugar, juice of a lemon).

  6. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Brittany. We aren’t advocating consuming it. We are just saying it is not that different from refined table sugar. We say stay away from both. ~Amy

  7. My doctor said that to lower my cholesterol (or he would prescribe meds), I needed to cut out eggs, beef, and pork. I started walking and ignored the diet advice. The next time I went to his office my cholesterol had gone down 40 pts. I told my chiropractor what the doctor said and he told me to NEVER take meds that lower cholesterol because your brain is mainly made of it and those medications are worse than having “high” cholesterol (the high number is lowered every few years).

  8. The store bread thing really shocked me. Here in TX H-E-B bakes a ton of bread. I used to buy it until I read the ingredients which is a mile long. Fortunately they have an organic Tuscan bread with very few ingredients. I also found Como bread at Walmart.

    1. Robin, my husband and I recently moved to Houston, and I have discovered the HEB. It is my favorite conventional supermarket ever, but I’ve never seen the organic Tuscan bread. Is it in the bread aisle or the bakery? I would love to try it. Thanks! (And it’s good to be back in Texas after 13 years in a small town out of state, btw!)

  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    All due respect because this is a very useful and educational post however I do think there is significant evidence pointing to why HFCS is significantly worse than sugar. Check out this lecture called Sugar: The bitter truth in which Dr. Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF, talks about how HFCS is actually poison. This is NOT to say that sugar is ok by any means, but there certainly is a difference in the way we metabolize HFCS and sugar.

  10. I would assume that High fructose corn syrup would be bad since 90% of the corn sold is genetically modified, resulting in possible new chemicals in them that human bodies have never been exposed to before. That, and they’re engineered to produce their own pesticide as well as be showered in round-up (hence “round-up ready”). I’ve never seen organic HFCS put in ordinary products too so I’d just suggest staying away from that in general.

  11. I am a vegan so I do use Earth Balance and they use Non-GMO, sustainable practices (found through much research), to provide a “butter” made of real fruit and nut oils. I understand the predicament, however, I must say that I would rather eat Earth Balance than butter which has pus, antibiotics, and hormones in it (regardless of organic, there is still issues with dairy I have).
    I agree, everything in moderation!

  12. Hi, Is Organic 100z% Durum Semolina and organic 100% Durum Wheat Semolina pasta Bad?

    Also is citric acid in 100% certified organic products bad?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jackie. For the pasta, I would probably try and stick with 100% whole wheat pastas. Citric acid is a natural substance found in many fruits, although, the form in which it is added to products is probably different and somewhat processed (I’m not exactly sure what products you are referring to). I don’t think it’s unsafe per se but probably not something you need to have in your food unless it’s naturally occurring.

  13. Nicole on January 16, 2013 at 11:11 pm said:
    Thank you! I am a homemaker, mother of four uber jocks, wife of a super athlete. I am providing something like 32,500 calories per day to this family, in certain proportions, to help them reach their personal goals and dreams. Big dreams- like college dance and college football. Over the years I have made any changes needed in our diets, all around the world- but what a wake up call your website is! This and Food Babe have been my reading of late, and my inspiration. Went to the grocery store tonight. Well- food labels are shocking!! Here is what amazed me the most; I shop at the United States Air Force Military Academy Commissary! One would think that this would be the epitome of healthy shopping, since the supreme fighting force in the world eats from its shelves. Nope- I will have to do the best I can, and I will have to consider additional local grocery stores too. Thank you, Nicole

    Reply ↓

  14. A friend asked me about people with high cholesterol etc how that would affect them with now eating real butter and eggs. I am starting my 10 day pledge and am now wondering too if all the real butter and eggs are bad for me?

    1. Actually, as we as a society began to eat less real butter and eggs, heart disease increased. The lipid theory of heart disease is based on very weak evidence. You should not be scared of real butter and eggs! Saturated fats are good for you; without them, you cannot absorb all nutrients properly.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Margie. I would just say everything in moderation. Yes, I would imagine if you had too much of either one they might be bad, but, again, in moderation as part of a balanced diet I think they should be fine. You can ask your doctor as well if you still have concerns. Jill

  15. High fructose corn syrup is worse than regular sugar. It comes down to the ratio of fructose to sucrose in sugar is 50-50 and bonded. In HFCS their is un-bonded fructose and sucrose with higher rations of fructose that are more rapidly released into the system elevating insulin levels… which underlies nearly every chronic disease

  16. Disagree with #5, just because HFCS is something people can have a sensitivity to, if not an allergy. It’s made from the cob, not from the corn. My brother has a sensitivity.

  17. Great site Lisa.
    More people need to open their eyes to ‘real’ healthy eating. ~Wake up people!:)

    Great point Lacie, about HFCS. I disagree with that also.
    Why should we believe Michael Pollen anyway?

  18. I like this too as a reminder…if you are not educated consumer it is so easy to be duped. Natural to me means a nice sweet potato that came out the ground not a bag. Appreciate this!

  19. I love your site, such good reading. I work a fairly busy corporate job and I have a couple of items I’m struggling to find substitutes for:
    – Canned tuna (I have salads at work for lunch that I make myself, this is the protein “keeps me full” element, any suggestions for what I could substitute?
    – Instant soup – I know instant soup isn’t good, but how about miso paste? What’s the verdict on that one?
    I can’t get buy wiht just lunch and need snacks throughout the day, what are good suggestions other than fruit and celery? Anything filling but easy? Instant soup is my saver at the moment.
    Would love your feedback!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Polina. For your salads, you could grill up some chicken or salmon at the beginning of the week and add that to your salad. Or, you could also do beans for a meat free option. I’m not sure what to say on the soup. I would suggest making it yourself. You could always freeze it and bring it frozen in the morning and it would probably be defrosted by lunchtime. As for the snacks, check out this recent post on snacks…https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/07/31/85-snacks-for-kids-and-adults/. Best of luck. Jill

    2. For snacks, I eat an ounce or two of cheese, or raw nuts. Very tasty and appetite satisfying, not to mention it’s protein so it holds you over for a long time
      .

  20. I like your blurb about “natural” when I explain it to newbies I tell them not all “natural” is good for you; radon is natural but is a radioactive alpha emitter and will kill you if inhaled.

  21. I strongly disagree with the misconception that HFCS is not worse than sugar….firstly, it’s made from genetically modified corn, and is FAR more processed than sugar. If being GM isn’t bad enough, it confuses your brain and your glycemic levels. Of course they haven’t “scientifically” found it to be worse, the FDA is in with monsanto, and seeing as it’s in everything, if it was wayy worse than sugar people would be less likely to buy it.

  22. Thank you so much for this article. DH and our two kids have had a food revolution in our house in the last two years but just recently I met someone who eats ONLY organic and natural food. And I was really intrigued bc she says they rarely get sick and she stopped breaking out. They can only afford to do this by completely eliminating eating out at all. So we decided to take the next step and try this. We haven’t eaten out (except Subway) for a few weeks now and my face is clearer than it has been in 10 years– nary a bump! But anyway, I realized that my friend still eats a lot of sugar, which has been a major no no for me after finding out I was prediabetic and hypoglycemic (a skinny girl who live on junk food for 15 years, literally). So for these few weeks, I have found myself eating MORE sugar than at any other time in the last few years because much of the convenient organic foods in our small town are basically sugar foods (organic bars, and cereal, which have tons of organic sugar). And that is not necessarily better. I also bought 10 boxes of Annies organic macaroni and cheese, which I stopped eating two years ago because of the high carbs which turns to sugar and makes my HG trip out. I had lost my way temporarily, so thanks for your post, it just woke me up out of my organic trance!

  23. I am very excited because my Sweetie just asked what I was reading and we had a really good conversation about me wanting to eat more whole foods.
    He has been resistant to my changes, so him being receptive to listening is a good start. He asked why I was bothering since my health already sucks (dialysis & a colostomy, also relearning how to walk). I explained that really it could get much worse and this at least I could have control over.
    He seemed to “get” that and I think he will be more supportive in the Future.

    Thanks for helping me have this conversation with him,
    Sammo

  24. Thank so so much for all of the hard work you put into getting your story out there, it is definitely helping people! I just came across your website and have already bookmarked a few recipes that look amazing!

    After reading a few comments I feel that I have to defend Weight Watchers. I have been a current member on their new system since July. Although they do have products that seem to be highly processed (which I believe are there to help people transition from eating foods that are even worse) the message is always that eating real, non-processed food is always better. And in regards to Lori’s comment about weight loss programs not teaching healthy eating habits.. that is what weight watchers is all about. They are trying to get you to make better choices in food. There are “power foods” in Weight Watchers which they stress should be the main part of your diet. Things like, fruits, veggies, whole wheat, dairy, and many foods listed on this website are all part of this. They emphasize that these “real” foods fuel your body giving you more energy and help keep you full longer than sugary, processed foods do. Much like this website, Weight Watchers teaches you how to make healthier choices when it comes to food.

    Since joining weight watchers I have begun eliminating processed food from my diet and this story and the recipes are going to be a tremendous help, thank you so much!

  25. I love your blog and I love your stuff. If our wave lengths were any closer we would be one. However, I have spent a good deal of time over the last year researching nutrition and its relationship to chronic disease. And I believe you might want to take another look at the issues with high fructose corn syrup. While a little of it probably isn’t an issue, the levels consumed by Americans in processed food, soft drinks, etc. have a very negative impact on the liver. And since the liver is the “master controller” in our bodies, we might want to avoid doing that. That said, thanks for the great job you are doing for parents in America.

  26. Hi, just found your blog! Thank you for the great tips and recipes, I started a 30-day challenge/ pledge to a healthy lifestyle for myself and family we are on week 3 now and I’ve found so many awesome foods and it hasn’t been hard it just takes some planning and organization. I have 2 toddlers and 1 10 year old who’s my picky eater. I posted my progress on Facebook and share recipes and some of friends have been motivated to do the same.

  27. Earth Balance is worlds better than most margarine in terms of health and nutrition, however avoiding it based on the fact that its an “imitation” really does make sense! The problem is, as a nutrition professional, I can’t yet jump on board with promoting butter. The saturated fat is well known to be unhealthy for your heart, brain, and more. There is potentially better health benefits of “organic butter”, but currently, “organic butter” has as much saturated fat as regular butter. Probably skipping any of these “spreads” altogether is the best option. Noting your family’s awesome diet, you will all be just find with a bit of saturated fat from butter! Thanks for your inspiration …getting me thinking, researching, considering, this all after having a certain idea in my mind! I am always open to others’ ideas, and I will definitely be looking further into “organic butter” as an option! Have a nice night, Lisa!

    By the way, you are really efficient at getting back with people. Thank you for that too! I’m sure it’s another reason why your website is so loved! You’re clearly a hard worker and passionate about all of it!

  28. Hi Lisa! I thought this post was GREAT and it is SO cool that it is helping so many people live healthier lives! Love the idea that people are even following a pledge at your site!!

    One thing to mention is about Earth Balance (coincidentally I just wrote a post including it last night on http://www.fresh-you.com). Earth Balance is vegan (so better than butter…didn’t come from something with a face) and no hydrogenated oils or MSG… (so better than most margarine). Plus, the ingredients list seems rather short (longer than 5 though!), and pretty innocent (some oils, soy, salt, lactic acid…list is large enough to read).

    Just something to consider, but overall I love all these rules and I love the book Food Rules by Michael Pollen!

    Have a nice day and thanks for all that you do!!!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I am actually not a huge fan of Earth Balance mainly because of the refined oil (like canola) it contains and also because of the fact that it’s trying to “imitate” butter. Pollan touches on avoiding imitation foods in “in Defense of Food.” I understand this is a go-to item for vegans though…but if you’re down with animal products I say stick with the real thing – butter!

  29. In making whole wheat bread less dense is all in the process of making it . I have found that if I weigh my dough before putting it into the pan for the last rise and being patient for it to rise that my bread is soft and less dense. Also, I have played around with different recipe’s and certain ingredients will make a heavier bread.
    I have never heard of Better Bread Flour.

  30. What about Better for bread flour? OK to use or not? I struggle with the density of the whole wheat bread when trying to make a sandwich.

  31. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. It has inspired me to get back to whole foods again! The only that I would add is that I make my own bread products from grinding my own wheat. I have been doing that for about 6 years. HAve you considered that for your self? It is very easy and cost efficient! King Arthur flour is fine , but doesn’t have all the components of the wheat Kernal . It would go rancid on the shelf if it did. Something for you to consider.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I just started grinding my own wheat last year, and I think the taste is far superior to the store-bought stuff!

  32. I read your blog all of the time, and have learned quite a bit. I do wonder though- just because a food has more than 5 ingredients, that doesn’t mean it is processed. It can still be real food. Is that just a rule you stick by when buying something in a box or bag? I mean, I make bread that has more than 5 ingredients but all of it is “pure”.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      The 5-ingredient rule only applies to packaged food (not something you make yourself) and it was just to draw the line somewhere since we ask people to follow along. Some packaged foods with only 3 ingredients (like deep-fried potato chips) are still highly processed and some with 7 ingredients are okay because it’s just a trail mix of nuts and dried fruit. You still have to read the labels, but we needed some kind of “rule” so everyone could join the pledge.

  33. I was given a diagnosis of thyroid cancer back in August of 2011 and decided it was time for me to get healthy. I am so thankful for all your wonderful tips and recipes! I am currently reading In Defense of Food and finding it very enlightening. Thanks and I look forward to reading your blog :)

  34. I found this quite by accident and am anxious to try some of the tips for cutting processed foods out and replacing them with better choices. I do find it funny that the ad at the bottom of the page is for RedBull though and another for McDonalds. Just sayin…

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Thanks for the heads up. I just went to the site and saw PSAs and an ad for Banana Republic. Sometimes those ad networks have a mind of their own, but unfortunately it is a necessity in order to cover the cost of doing business. If I see something selling processed food I take a screen shot and ask them to block it. I will check back to see if I can get a hold of what you saw!

  35. Megan @ MAID in Alaska

    Great reminders – thanks so much for posting this! I shared the link to your post on my MAID in AK Facebook page.
    :) Megan

  36. Great list! I find myself wandering over to your blog when I need a real food alternative for something my family wants to eat. I’ve really been trying to follow the five ingredient rule.But I have a request….my family loves box mix brownies. Have you seen the ingredients in those babies?? We don’t have them often but it’s coming time again for a treat. Any chance you have a real food brownie recipe in that fabulous head of yours? :)

  37. @Jennifer…don’t give up! I have decided that to expect my whole family to cut out highly processed foods altogether is probably impossible; but I take solace in knowing that when we are home (which is really most of the time anyways), we are eating the best we can. Even just that change makes a difference! And I am finding that the more I do this, the more we are getting used to it, and the more we don’t even want to eat the other crap. Of course, my kids are younger, so it’s a little easier at this point ;)

  38. This is a good list. One of the things I struggle with is how much my kids are given food elsewhere. They are forever getting food, candy, drinks at school, sports, parties, church, etc that I can’t control. So trying to say that my kids don’t eat HFCS, artificial colors, etc is not true. I don’t give it to them, but they get it almost daily! I can’t stand it and sometimes it makes me want to give up on trying to fight the battle (of course they prefer the junk stuff).

    1. So glad to see others struggle with this! Our church is the worst. They seriously think they are being mean if every kid isn’t stuffed with junk when they leave. We have had to have 4 conversations about this remind them that our kids don’t need it, they just at breakfast!

    2. I know you posted this a few months ago, but we’ve been dealing with this as well. Last Sunday, I brought in a whole bunch of stickers and asked if I could put them in the candy basket that’s used for rewards.

      I was also the only parent who went in a separate snack for my preschooler at school last year. I tried to make it something super yummy and special so he wouldn’t feel left out (like a banana muffin). He always came home and said his snack was better.

      I am not very good at being confrontational, but I am learning to stand up for my kids!! Even if it’s just to ask for a sticker instead of a lolipop at the Dr. or to say, “My child will be eating the snack I sent today.” Very empowering once you get started!

  39. as far as #8. eating cheese. dairy in general is not healthy for humans. last i checked i have 2 legs not 4. when i cut out dairy a couple of years ago, i had health problems clear up, that i had no idea was related, like breast pain, that i had, had for years, stopped 2 months after i quit. it is also leading cause of breast cancer because of the excessive hormones.
    if you eat dairy, at least make it organic and or goats milk, which is more closely related to our digestive system.

  40. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and slowly heading towards real food. My kids are 11 and 13 and they aren’t big fans of everything, to say the least! This past week I cut most of the remaining sugar out…and this was the first week that my 11-year old didn’t ask for a snack in the afternoon…I don’t think it was because she didn’t like her choices, I think it was because she actually wasn’t hungry. Real food fills you up much longer than processed!

  41. Hey Lisa! Just wanted to let you know that we have tried several of your recipes over the last week. We LOVED the steak fajitas! Our first try at the homemade tortilla was interesting, but so worth it. The granola is amazing! I can’t stop eating it. We also stole your idea of making pizza with our friends. We had two families over for dinner and everyone made their own pizza (with your homemade dough recipe) and all the organic toppings. It was a big hit! We can wait to try more recipes! Thank you!!!

  42. Great list! These are all things we are trying to follow in our household. The less than 5 ingredients rule is key – although trying to get my kids to follow that one is very difficult!

  43. HFCS is not actually a food. It’s a chemical. The only reason it’s been classified as a food is because there’s a powerful lobby behind labeling food in a misleading way. I don’t think we need to eat sugar either but we all will sometimes so I opt for that since it’s closer to actual food. There are sugars on the market that are less refined with names like sucanat, dehydrated cane juice, etc. Although they’re still refined they do maintain some trace minerals. In my everyday life I use very little sweetener at all since good whole food doesn’t need it.

  44. HFCS may not be necessarily “worse” than sugar, but it most definitely worse for the environment as most highly processed foods are… another good reason to avoid!

  45. Hi Lisa,
    I have a 9 year old daughter who, unfortunately, has gotten used to societal junk food. We have recently started encouraging healthy decisions but mostly have to make those decisions for her. (Grandma is no help, buying her ice cream!) My question is, how can we help her adjust to the fact that our family is just going to eat more healthily? She gets bored with it rather quickly and complains that I make her eat things she doesn’t like (broccoli, black beans, zuccini, etc.) Help!
    Thank you,
    Jennifer

  46. I just finished In Defense of Food last night (partially based upon your recommendation) and so I wholeheartedly agree with this list! I am working on getting us to a more whole foods way of life. I think it will take awhile, but my husband is on board and is going to read the book next. Yay!

  47. In regards to Myth number 5, I have heard that although HFCS is chemically the same as sugar that our bodies process them very differently. There is an interesting lecture (a bit long) on your tube called “Sugar the bitter truth” where he explains how your body will process sugar, vs HFCS, vs. White bread…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

  48. I live overseas. Many “quick and easy” recipes call for processed packaged ingredients, which I can’t get here (a good thing). Thank you for sharing easy and healthy recipes featuring easily accessible ingredients!

  49. This is a whole new world to me. I’ve done the diets and lost the weight with “diet food” that was not all that much healthier. This time we are focused to make dietary changes due to my sons health conditions. No MSG, no chocolate, and low sugars. It truly is a new way of life. Eating on a diet and eating healthier are two different ball games. Who knew?
    Thank you for all the fun things and ideas. I have found several ideas for Meal plans on your site that will work for us.It has been a slight bit overwhelming, but I found a bit of comfort in your site, as I got more ideas for dinners. I made my first batch of chicken broth yesterday in prep for one of your soup recipes I plan on making this weekend. Thank you for putting more variety onto our kitchen table!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      So glad to hear the blog has been helpful, and I hope you see some improvement in your son’s health!

  50. Yup, number 8 is the one I struggle with the most {and also, bummer about the potato chips :)}. Just how much processing is OK? I think if the process is natural (ie, fermentation, growth of cultures), that is something our body is equipped to deal with. Extruded, fortified, and bleached – probably not so much.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I agree if something is processed in nature (like honey for example, which is made by bees) then that seems like a better choice than something that’s been processed – or “manipulated” shall we say – by food scientists and factory workers.

  51. Kinda along with the first myth- my eyes were really opened up when I was reading Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism book – and she pointed out protein bars were not a healthy diet food. It was just mind blowing to me because at the time I was going to Weight Watcher meetings where every week they had another box of diet bars on sale… complete crap. I soon stopped going to the meetings because they were pushing so much processed diet crap. Although now they’ve changed thier program – so I couldn’t say how it is now.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      So glad to hear they are working to update the Weight Watchers program…I agree a lot of their packaged foods seem rather processed!

      1. I went last summer and they still push a lot of processed and totally artificial foods. They also have Hungry Girl as a blogger; many of her recipes have mostly processed foods!

        I still need to lose weight and am finding real food more satisfying but a lot more work.

    2. thats the problem i find with all these wieght loss programs, they’re all really about cutting calories and fat, but not teaching proper or healthy eating habits. i cant follow ‘eat pizza, dessert,’ etc, thats highly processed, in mini amounts just so i dont have to give up the crap food thats making me fat, and unhealthy in the first place.

  52. Thanks for all you do. I feel like we live by your site and updates. Regarding the 5 ingredient rule. It was good to start with. However, there are a lot of things with only five ingredients, but they are not desirable….sugars, added salt, preservatives. Sometimes I have found things with 10 ingredients, but all of them seemed find to me. Case in point, a salsa from Trader Joes. By the time you add in all of the veggies and spices, it is more than five, but none of them are sugars or preservatives.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I couldn’t agree with you more…a lot of people struggle with that “rule” because there are absolutely exceptions (on both ends). When we decided to ask others to follow along with our real food pledge we just had to draw the line somewhere.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I appreciate the heads up, although that quote was actually from his book Food Rules, which is a little newer, but I must say there are some pretty convincing arguments out there detailing how horrible (and addicting) sugar is for us as well. I think the bottom line is to avoid both (which is what we do).

  53. I feel like I have read nearly every word of your website as our family embarks on this journey of cutting out processed food! Such a helpful resource and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for this labor of love. I would hug you if I could!

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