Healthy VS Real…Wait, What?

I must admit this is a post I have been thinking about for quite a while.  During my journey (of only six and a half months) I have heard countless people refer to eating healthy compared to eating “real” food.  What does that even mean?

What sent me over the edge was watching Ruby last night.  I watch it on Netflix, so I am behind on the seasons, I know.  The episode I watched last night was Ruby having Thanksgiving dinner at her house (with lots of family, friends…and food).  They actually prepared two feasts instead of one…one healthy feast and one “real” feast.  During the episode Ruby said something to this effect, “I don’t want everyone to have to eat healthy when they want real food.”  I ask again, what does that mean?

How is healthy food different from “real” food?  In my opinion (which is worth only as much as I think it is…inside my own head, of course) healthy food *is* real food.  All that deep-fried, heavily processed, over-sugared, mass-produced junk is *not* real food…not to me.  Half of it is not even recognizable as what the food industry is trying to pass it off as anyway.  Insanity.  I mean look at this picture:

If you have not already seen this picture floating around the Web, just guess what it might be. What it actually is…well, they *say* that it is chicken. McDonald’s chicken McNuggets, to be exact. That, folks, is mechanically separated chicken paste. It is absolutely repulsive and looks competely inedible to me. I showed it to my daughters (ages four and seven) and neither said they will ever ask me to swing into McDonald’s ever again.  (To be clear I do not take them to any fast food joints, but my mother does.  Then they hound me to take them on other days.  No more.)

So, I ask…Why would people *choose* to eat that chicken paste over a recognizable chicken breast?  More importantly…Why would people refer to *that* as “real” food and healthy food as something else?  It boggles the mind, really.

I think, on average, people have a serious misconception about healthy food.  I think people assume that healthy food equals bland or boring food.  Which, of course, is certainly not the case.  Some of the best food I have ever eaten was also some of the healthiest food I have ever eaten.  It all depends on how it is prepared/seasoned, I think.

Personally, I love healthy food.  I love fresh food (veggies and fruits are absolutely delicious fresh instead of frozen or canned).  I do not even consider myself to be “on a diet” right now.  The word “diet” (to me) signifies temporary change and that is not what I am after.  I am after a new lifestyle…these changes are forever.  So, it is important that I eat food I love.  Food I do not have to “make” myself “live through” until “better” food is “allowed.”  Maybe that is the difference?  Does the average American think healthy food is strictly designated to those on restricted weight loss diets?  Is that what the negative association is all about?

As a side note about delicious, flavorful, healthy food…I found this gal through one of my other blogger friends (sorry, I cannot remember which…).  She has *all* kinds of great recipes that are also healthy.  Guess what, though, it is all *real* food, too!  How great, right?

So, now I must know…have you encountered this healthy versus “real” food issue in your own life?  How do you feel about healthy food?  Do you hate to eat healthy food?  Would you prefer to eat what majority of Americans obviously consider “real” food?

-Erica

4 responses to “Healthy VS Real…Wait, What?

  1. So, let me just say…that a month ago I was a fast food addict. I always joke around that Chick-fil-A feeds their chicken crack because it’s so addictive. And, I think part of that might actually be true..not that the chickens are fed crack, but that so many chemicals are in fast food that it does literally make it addictive. I have been eating fresh fruits and veggies and home cooked meals and I can certainly tell a difference. I think it’s taken me 3 weeks to get all those chemicals out of my system and get out of their fast food stooper.
    I have NEVER considered fried, processed food to be “real” food. I always call that crap food. Real food was the healthy food. Now, it’s so much easier that my husband has finally woken up as well and has decided to eat healthier food, and actually become vegetarian mostly. I feel so much better now with the foods I’m eating. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your post. That picture totally grosses me out though. I don’t get why anyone could call crap food real food. The only reason why people are drawn to it is the chemicals they put in it…well that’s my theory anyway. Now that it’s out of my system, I no longer drive by a McDonalds or any fast food place and want to drive through.

  2. In an ideal world I’d eat “real” food. But I often rely on processed stuff even in recipes. And there are some convenience foods that just make life, well, convenient. Like black bean burgers. Nothing real about those! Yikes, the ingredients list.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I have not seen this picture yet and now I am definitely done with McD! I am also trying to eat less processed foods but it hard these times! You are being slammed with that fake food everywhere and sometimes I wonder if something is “real” or not.

    • I agree it is challenging to eat healthy (real) food today…especially when eating out. McDonald’s consistently advertises their chicken as 100% white meat. They fail, of course, to tell you what else is lurking in that chicken…it reminds me of the “made with whole grain” issue. They can put that on the label if there is a small percent of whole grain in the product (but the label *implies* it is made ONLY with whole grain when it is not). It is intentionally deceptive to consumers, which makes it even harder for us to make the right choices.

      -Erica

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