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Just Eat Real Food

Eating whole foods, as close to their natural source as possible, is the foundation of a nutritional ketogenic diet.

Article by Mandy Pagano | 07 Feb, 2021

Article originally published on Ketovangelist.com on 6/27/17. It has been lightly edited for re-publication.

For those who are new in the keto community, our way of life seems to present many mental blocks and challenges. Some have a hard time getting over the idea that eating fat "causes" all sorts of dire physical ailments (it doesn't). Others have difficulty figuring out what to eat, or how to eat. Others are convinced that the human metabolism is constantly in a zero sum game of in-versus-out, and out must win or else you get fat, sick, and die.

Our culture is full of a lot of misinformation about food, how our bodies work, why we get sick, etc., and so on, and for a lot of people it can be hard to break through all those cultural signals and the advertising and/or proselytizing that goes on to convince us we "need" all sorts of processed goods.

Human beings have lived for thousands upon thousands of years, and it is only with the advent of modern mechanical agriculture and industry that we have seen surges in and prevalence of the so-called diseases of society. Type II diabetes, gout, heart disease, and obesity in centuries past were predominantly diseases of the rich, because they are the ones who could afford to eat lots of what were "processed" and sugary foods. These foods were once (rightly) considered decadent.

So, What Happened?

In the past century or so, we have essentially turned all our long-standing cultural and popular ideas about food - held for thousands of years, by the way- into something completely opposite and contrary to the collective human experience. Now, we have advertising and public awareness campaigns that have made stuff in a box- jam-packed with sugars, starches, and chemical additives- seem like a completely normal and healthy part of the human diet, and have simultaneously demonized real food that's naturally pretty abundant and nutrient dense (like steak and butter) as decadent and dangerous.

In Keto World, we flip that paradigm back over to restore our historical and experiential way of thinking about food, and there is one foundation underlying it all: JERF, or Just Eat Real Food.

JERF is the Prime Directive, the Golden Rule, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. If you can follow this rule, you can keto.

What Is Eating Real Food?

If it can be had from a farm, a boat, or a ranch, it's generally OK. If you couldn't get it from a farm, a boat, or a ranch, don't eat it. That's it. Real food doesn't come in boxes and have ingredients. Real food is ingredients. The only reason most ketonians buy our real food from a grocery store is because we don't happen to work or live on a farm, a boat, or a ranch.

Saying that JERF is the Prime Directive for keto may seem a little trite, but it is no joke. It's really the answer to the vast majority of questions we get about the lifestyle.

How is eating keto healthy?

Just eat real food.

What do I eat?

Just eat real food.

How do I get in my nutrients?

Just eat real food.

Help! I'm overwhelmed at all the recipes!

Just eat real food.

Our food should come from an animal or a plant, and should be something they could produce on said ranches, boats, or farms centuries ago. Fresh meats and seafood, dairy, and non-starchy vegetables are naturally packed with all the nutrients you need, and they don't require factories to procure.

Anything that must be manufactured (with lots of laboratory chemicals) in a factory- and inevitably has to be "fortified" to be considered nutrient dense enough for consumption- is something you probably shouldn't eat. If it has to be extracted via a hydraulic press and/or bleached, you probably shouldn't eat it. If you have to mechanically strip it of its outer coatings and roll it for it to be eatable, you probably shouldn't eat it. If it's the outer coating of something that wouldn't have been eatable without a machine stripping it and finely grinding it, you probably shouldn't eat it.

See where this is going?

Unintended Consequences

The industrialization of our food supply has also left people ill equipped to provide healthy food for themselves. We regularly see people who are completely bewildered when we tell them to toss the boxes and eat real food. It is not uncommon to encounter people that simply do not know how or what to eat if they can't get it by opening a package or popping a top. This aspect of most modern lifestyles is topsy turvy, to say the least.

We don't want to demonize modernity too much, as it's undeniable that less people starve because industry has made more food available. The issue is about quality, and the way we as humans were designed or evolved (whatever your preference) to eat. It is undeniable that since human beings began relying on food products instead of just eating real food, we've seen levels of obesity and diet-related disease soar to rates that are commonly referred to as "epidemic."

Eating real food instead of chemical-laden junk out of boxes is universally acknowledged as the healthiest way to eat. Even "health" groups that complain about saturated fat or cholesterol, or insist carbs are necessary (they're not) are hard pressed to deny that any lifestyle in which you're opening a package to eat 99% of the time is not optimal for human health.

Eating fresh meats, dairy, and vegetables is healthy. Period.

Eating Keto is eating real food, and that is as healthy and as easy as it gets.

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