The REAL- FOOD- ONLY Challenge

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The typical Canadian Diet can make life a rough road paved with malnutrition, obesity and disease.   The sad fact is that this is unnecessary. We have been at this eating game since the beginning of time, why are we so confused about what we should eat?

Maybe the problem begins with a misunderstanding of what food really is. The dictionary defines food as”any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal or human for nutrition or pleasure.” Really?

“Substances” can be products passed off as food, which neither nourish, nor heal, but simply give us a taste experience that makes us think we are nourishing ourselves.   When we substitute the eating of products instead of real food, we create deficiencies, fatigue and cravings for the nutrient complexes we really need to survive and thrive.

True “foods” nourish and heal. They are the raw materials the body needs to rebuild cells, replace parts and replenish our tissues. How do we tell the difference between a product and real food?

You know you are eating a product if it is designed or adulterated by man. A whole apple is made by nature. Applesauce in a jar with additives for shelf life is a product. An egg is a food. Boiled quinoa grains that have not been genetically engineered are whole foods. Pasta is a product….any refined flour, breads, sugars; dairy products are products …and so on.

So what should we eat? The answer to this question simply lies in nature and not in the research laboratory.  For starters begin to give your body lots of whole fruits and vegetables, fresh protein and fats like beans, nuts, seeds, whole chicken and fish.

By design, our bodies are capable of living very long and healthy lives. It is we who interfere with this design by a) burdening it with stress, toxins, nonfoods, allergens, etc or b) undersupplying the raw materials (whole foods) our bodies need to rebuild, replenish and rejuvenate cells to sustain good health.

As an example, let’s take a finely designed car like a Mercedes Benz. By design it performs exquisitely and, if cared for, lasts a long time. However, if we mistreat it, run it into a wall, rip out a spark plug, or put sugar in the tank instead of fuel, can it function as it is designed? No. Yet this is exactly what we do to our bodies.

Sometimes we feel we don’t have much choice about the stress in our lives – maybe its family, finances, job politics… But we are always in charge of what we put in our bodies. It’s simply a matter of choice and commitment to giving your body what it really needs.

Here is what Dan, university professor and coach, wrote after he committed to a real food diet.

“I didn’t know what it meant to FEEL healthy. Aside from losing 15 lbs, I feel better, have more energy, sleep better and the greatest benefit is that I haven’t had my migraine headaches in 4 months (a bi monthly occurrence for me beforehand). I no longer have heart burn, and love the food I’m eating…”

What about you? Will you take the Real-Food-Only-Challenge for just one week? And then? Repeat. And then…repeat.


signature_w_heartCathy Lidster, Health Educator, offers free nutrition classes monthly. She can be reached at Centennial Building Wellness Centre, 250-819-9041,, or