“Real Food” can be defined as natural, unprocessed, traditional and nourishing foods that human have always eaten. This includes things like whole fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, fish and seafood, and animal protein. These lie in stark contrast to our modern foods which have been grown with the use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, have very often been genetically modified, and had chemicals and flavorings (synthetics and other highly-addictive allergens) added.
For those living a gluten-free lifestyle, supporting “real food”, or “pro food” as it’s sometimes called, with our purchases is important because it reduces the risk of being exposed to and ingesting gluten. Processed foods — both conventional and gluten-free — may contain trace amounts of gluten, which may not be required to be declared on the ingredient labels of foods. Remember also that as of yet, the government has no standards for gluten-free processing and labeling; companies police themselves. And you’d be especially hard-pressed to find a conventional processed food item that doesn’t contain some form of gluten. Here is a gluten-free diet guide with lists of hidden gluten and charts of safe and unsafe foods. Here’s a list of various names and aliases for gluten.
Cross-contamination concerns increase with food that is processed in facilities that share equipment. Take for example, a case of a gluten-allergic little boy whose mother fed him heat and eat chicken nuggets that claimed to be gluten-free. Minutes later, he suffered a severe reaction and was taken to the hospital, all because the company’s standards for their processed gluten-free items were not high enough.
In choosing to eat “closer to the ground” (that is, farm-to-table eating, or choosing minimally processed and handled goods), you have better control of your health and are more aware of potential allergens. Keep your meals simple and clean — no chemicals, additives, dyes, or fancy science (genetic modification, hydroloyzing, autolyzing, etc.). Note that although many “real foods” do contain grains, specifically gluten-containing grains (wheat, spelt, white flour), it is easier to substitute or omit these items altogether.
Real Food Resources: