Living a natural life has many aspects to it. How and what we eat will affect most everything in our lives, as it is in direct corealation to energy levels, moods (and thereby relationships and parenting as well), health and the family budget, so it might be worth to evaluate your diet once in a while. You won’t be able to function right if you eat a poor diet, it’s as simple as that. Eating natural foods is also a great way to connect with nature and maintain that link in everyday life, as an added bonus for your soul.
So, why eat a natural diet?
The short answer: You should eat a natural diet because you need to feed a natural body, and by feeding it something it can recognise, it will be able to use it and thus function better.
The more complicated answer is that we really haven’t changed much since the stone age, genetically speaking. Our bodies are designed to live the way the stone age people did, and they sure didn’t have a sandwich and a beer for lunch. In fact, the shift from a hunter/gatherer kind of life to agriculture was a disaster for the human race. We became shorter and sicker from the malnutrition. Our bones became poorer, our teeth became decayed. It was a terrible idea. And it became increasingly worse when industrialisation came about, with mass production and processing of foods that were already bad for us in the first place.
It’s only been 10 000 years since agriculture began. We haven’t been able to adapt to the relative new food groups (grains, rice and corn), and we sure haven’t adapted to the last 100 years of burgers, fries and boil-in-a-bag kind of food.
Natural foods are the foods you can find in nature, fairly unprocessed. Fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, nuts and berries are the foods our ancestors ate and thrived by, so that’s a great rule of thumb when you decide to change your diet to a more natural one. Those are the foods you know the human body can handle, unless you have an allergy.
Also, if you are of a Northern European decent, you might be able to tolerate dairy products as well.
How to change to a more natural diet?
This can actually be a bit tricky for two reasons. One, you might not live alone, and have other people to consider – and they may not be as convinced about this as you are. In that case, you need to make small changes and take your time. You might start by working around dinners you’re already making, for instance by cooking your own taco sauce at home, instead eating of the pre-made one with a lots of added sugar and chemicals in it, and then eat your taco meat in a lettuce leaf instead of in a taco shell. After a while, you can begin seasoning your own taco meat, and then the whole dinner will end up completely natural.
Whenever in need of a snack, see if some nuts won’t do the trick, and perhaps you will discover that you can satisfy your sweet tooth with some cherries or a banana. Maybe even a tea sweetened with honey will do.
Slow and steady wins the race, and when your diet changes slowly over time, your family might follow without even realising it. If you manage to hold your ground, the others might eventually get so tempted by the all the deliciousness you are making, that they can no longer keep their paws off.
This brings on the next challenge; you need to know what food you will be able to make. You probably have a few signature dishes, or a few cakes you always bake for company? You should still have that, but you probably need to change them around a bit and try out some new, more natural stuff. This is a process, and this will take some time and experimenting too, as you will need to figure out what you and your family like in terms of natural foods. Get yourself a ring binder, print out some recipes and get started. This can actually be really fun!
One of my favorite casseroles is so easy to make, and natural to down to the last ingredient. I cook some meat in either butter (not margarine!) or coconut oil, while crushing six tomatoes in the food processor. I add whatever I have in the fridge to the tomatoes after they are crushed, like leak, garlic, zucchini, red peppers, onion etc, pour it over the meat in the casserole, and then I just let it simmer with lots of herb seasonings and some broth added to the mix. If you want to, you can take that zucchini and slice it so it looks like spaghetti, and serve as a side dish if you need to replace that pasta.
There are many recipes available online, and Google is your friend. A hint; if you google «paleo» and «primal», you will get a bunch of good hits!
If you have a favorite recipe you want to share, then please – go ahead and post a comment.