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JERF!">What it Means to JERF!

Posted on 21. Jul, 2012 by in What to Eat

Red Meat Con­sump­tion Linked to Increased Risk of Total, Car­dio­vas­cu­lar, and Can­cer Mortality

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Meat Eat­ing Behind Evo­lu­tion­ary Suc­cess of Humankind, Global Pop­u­la­tion Spread, Study Suggests

Sig­nif­i­cant Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Risk With Low Carbohydrate-High Pro­tein Diets, Experts Warn

Inter­mit­tent, Low-Carbohydrate Diets More Suc­cess­ful Than Stan­dard Diet­ing, Study Finds

Los­ing Belly Fat, Whether from a Low-Carb or a Low-Fat Diet, Helps Improve Blood Ves­sel Function

All of the state­ments you see above are actual head­lines that have popped up in the news over the last year.  I gath­ered them to show you just how crazy we have become about ana­lyz­ing the food that goes in our mouth.

It’s no won­der we are all so con­fused about what we are sup­posed to eat.  One day we wake up and meat is bad for us.  The next day, meat is good for us and is the rea­son we are alive today.  Another day, eat­ing low carb is great for weight loss and great for blood ves­sel func­tion.  Wait, low carb is not good for car­dio­vas­cu­lar func­tion though.  But isn’t weight loss eas­ier on a low carb diet?  And isn’t weight loss good for car­dio­vas­cu­lar function?

Dammit! Im so confused!

Well, at least we all can agree on something….

Dark Choco­late and Red Wine Are Heart-Healthy Foods of Love, Dieti­tians Say

Im kid­ding….

Every­one knows that shit will kill you!  It’s true.  I read that somewhere.

Any­ways, I’m clearly off track.  I think what I am try­ing to say is that know­ing what to eat is extremely com­pli­cated.  Seri­ously, how can we be expected to eat healthy, when we can’t even agree on what healthy is?

When­ever I start to feel over­whelmed or con­fused about what to eat, I try to remem­ber one word…JERF.

What is JERF?

Just. Eat. Real. Food.

That’s it.  No bois­ter­ous claims or elab­o­rate stud­ies to con­fuse you.  Just real food.

But what exactly is real food?

Here’s how I define it:

 

Real food spoils.

Want to know the dif­fer­ence between a 12-year old McDon­alds ham­burger and one that comes “fresh” off the grill?  Not a whole lot.  The pic­ture below shows a McDonald’s ham­burger from 1996 on the left and another McDonald’s ham­burger on the right that was brand new in 2008.  This is clearly not real food.  Real food has a short shelf life and should go bad within a few days of being picked or pur­chased.  You will know you’re buy­ing lots of real food when your refrig­er­a­tor fills up and emp­ties itself every few days.   

 

Real food has a recent con­nec­tion to the earth.

When it comes to get­ting the most nutri­tion out of our food, time is not on our side.  The shorter time a food can spend away from its nat­ural envi­ron­ment on earth, the more we can con­sider it real food.  Even super­foods like spinach lose most of their nutri­tion con­tent within just 8 days of being har­vested.  Imag­ine what kind of nutri­tion you are get­ting from the box of cereal that’s been sit­ting in your cab­i­net for months.  Real foods prefer­ably come from a local source so they can be con­sumed within days of being harvested.

 

Real food doesn’t need a fancy pack­age, or any pack­age at all.  

Its funny to me when I see pro­tein bars like Detour using their pack­age to pro­mote their “lower sugar”, “15 grams of pro­tein”, and “rich­ness in branch chain amino acids”.  I would much rather have a few ounces of grass-fed beef that has more pro­tein, more BCAA’s, and a lot less sugar.  But grass-fed beef is a lot more hum­ble so it doesn’t need the fancy label to tell you how cool it is.  All this good stuff also comes with­out the “milk choco­late fla­vored coat­ing” and “sugar free caramel made from malti­tol syrup” that make up the ingre­di­ents list of the Detour bar.  Don’t get caught up in fancy mar­ket­ing tech­niques or out­landish claims.  Most real food doesnt’t have any pack­ag­ing at all.

 

 

Real food doesn’t need to be cooked in order to make it edi­ble.  Real food can be eaten raw. 

Most legumes are toxic in their raw state.  They need to be cooked in order to make them safe for human con­sump­tion.  Like­wise, most of us wouldn’t dare go up to a wheat plant or other grain and start eat­ing it.  The same can be said for fac­tory farmed meats and eggs that need to be cooked to pre­vent the spread of sal­mo­nella and other dis­eases.  Im not say­ing that you shouldn’t cook your food.  But if a food is so low qual­ity that it has to be processed or cooked in order to make it edi­ble for you then its prob­a­bly not real food.  And you’re prob­a­bly bet­ter off with­out it.

 

Real food doesn’t need to tell you how healthy it is.

The other day I saw a Chee­rios com­mer­cial that shows the ingre­di­ents list on the box to prove to con­sumers that whole grains are the first ingre­di­ent in their prod­uct.  They even con­ve­niently cir­cle the whole grains like you see in the pic­ture below.  What most con­sumers miss though is that the sec­ond ingre­di­ent is sugar, and most grains, (even the whole ones) are quickly con­verted to sugar once they enter the body.  So essen­tially, Chee­rios are just a box of sugar.  Be sus­pi­cious of any claims that com­pa­nies use to pro­mote their own prod­ucts.  Real food should speak for itself.

 

Real food ate real food. 

It makes sense that unhealthy plants and ani­mals could lead to unhealthy humans that are con­sum­ing those plants and ani­mals.  Whether its cows that are sup­posed to eat grass, but are fed grains, or plants that are sup­posed to thrive off water, nutrient-dense soil, and sun­light, but are grown on depleted land and loaded up with pesticides.

Its even gone as far now as cows that are acci­den­tally eat­ing parts of other cows because the cow parts in chicken feed are spilling over into the chicken lit­ter and being fed back to the cows.  Fac­tory food pro­duc­tion prac­tices are get­ting out of con­trol.  Do your best to con­sume prod­ucts that were raised organ­i­cally and humanely and you will greatly increase your con­sump­tion of real food.


Real food does not need to be altered. 

Low fat, reduced fat. Reduced sugar.  For­ti­fied foods like breads and cere­als.  Skim milk.  Egg whites.  Gluten-free foods.  There are an end­less amount of foods that are altered in order to make them more appeal­ing to consumers.

Real food doesn’t need to have com­po­nents added or removed to make them healthy.  Real food is either healthy in its whole form, or its not.  Its that simple.

 

Real food does not need to be for­tified. 

Breads, cere­als, and grain-based prod­ucts are the biggest cul­prits here.  Almost every sin­gle one of them is depleted of their vit­a­mins and min­er­als dur­ing pro­cess­ing.  The only rea­son you see those things in the final prod­uct in your gro­cery store is because food com­pa­nies have learned how to arti­fi­cially add them back in after pro­cess­ing.  Im sorry, but if I have to eat bread to get my daily mul­ti­vi­t­a­min then I would rather just take the mul­ti­vi­t­a­min and skip the bread.  Real food should retain its vit­a­mins and min­er­als from the earth all the way to your mouth.

 

Real food is not a supplement.

Seems like a no-brainer, right?  Except for when you live in a soci­ety where every­one is look­ing for a quick fix or the next mir­a­cle drug.  Don’t be fooled by com­pa­nies like Gen­eral Nutri­tion Cen­ter (GNC) that don’t sell a sin­gle prod­uct that could be con­sid­ered real food.  That’s not to say that some sup­ple­ments can’t be ben­e­fi­cial, but they are no replace­ment for real food.  Make sure what­ever sup­ple­ments you choose to take are in addi­tion to the real food diet you are already eating.

 

While we can’t expect to hunt and gather all of our food straight from the earth and eat it imme­di­ately, we cer­tainly can make bet­ter deci­sions when it comes to eat­ing more real food.  Next time you think about reach­ing for that pro­tein bar, box of cereal, or loaf of bread because you’ve been told its healthy for you,  just real­ize that it fails most, if not all, of the real food rules you see above.  Don’t get caught up in the hype.  Just Eat Real Food.

 

Speak­ing of JERF, Sean Crox­ton over at UndergroundWellness.com just released the Real Food Sum­mit which is a series of 27 pre­sen­ta­tions by some of the smartest peo­ple in the world of health and well­ness.  All of the pre­sen­ta­tions cover vary­ing top­ics on the mat­ter of real food, and Sean was nice enough to throw in some cool bonus gifts as well.  Sean is one of the most down-to-earth blog­gers on all aspects of health, and from what I know, he is the cre­ator of the term JERF.  If you don’t end up pur­chas­ing the Real Food Sum­mit pack­age, make sure you at least check out the Under­ground Well­ness pod­cast, which you can find for free on iTunes. Or hop onto Twit­ter and tell Sean how much you like to #JERF

**The link above is an affil­i­ate link, mean­ing we will recieve a small com­mis­sion from any­one who pur­chases a pack­age through that link.  Thanks in advance for sup­port­ing our blog and allow­ing us to con­tinue to spread our super­hu­man message.

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One Response to “What it Means to JERF!”

  1. Gail Maya-g Taylor

    03. Dec, 2013

    Real food grows On a plant, not In one.” Great post, thank you.

    Reply to this comment

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