What exactly is ‘real food’? How do you tell the difference?  How do you apply that to real life?

We have been on a real food journey for a few years on our house.  We started slow, one change at a time, which have gradually turned into big changes.

{MEAT} – Animals that have been raised free range and fed as close to their natural diet as possible.  This means grass-fed sheep and cows (grain finished beef is fine as this mimics natural eating habits), free range and/or organic chicken, wild game.

{DAIRY} – Raw or very low heat pasteurised.  Preferably non-homogenised.  Never UHT.  Always from grass-fed or organic herds.

Personally, I buy unpasteurised (raw) milk online directly from Hurdlebrook in Somerset for drinking and then I buy Waitrose Organic non-homogenised whole (full fat) milk for tea/coffee and for anything where the milk is heated i.e. in sauces or for making yoghurt. If you’re interested to understand why, you can read my post ‘Is Milk Bad For You?’

{EGGS} – Always free range, preferably organic to avoid GM feed.  Chickens are omnivores – they need to roam free so they can peck for bugs; which is hugely important for the nutrient level in the yolks.

I buy Waitrose Organic eggs because you get them 20% off with a My Waitrose card.  Otherwise I buy Burford Browns or nab a load from my mum who keeps chickens (and ducks, and geese, and guinea fowl..)

{FISH} – Wild caught, rather than farmed.  This is surprisingly easy to find.  You’ll see wild alaskan salmon everywhere as well as pole & line caught tuna.  Anchovies and sardines are also a great inexpensive choice.

{GOOD FATS} – Butter from grass-fed cows (as well as ghee, cream and cream cheese), extra-virgin coconut / olive / avocado oil, tallow from grass-fed cows, nuts and nut butters.

An extra note on butter – any certified organic butter will be from cows that are at least 60% grass-fed, since legally they must be grazing on pasture whenever conditions allow (which is an average of 200 days per year in the UK). Tesco and Waitrose both carry branded and their own organic butter.  Kerrygold and Isigney Del Mar are two brands that are not certified organic but are still grass-fed.

An extra note on coconut oil – there are many many brands out there, and you can pretty much get it everywhere. Pink Sun is the best value I’ve found so far, it’s delicious and fantastic quality and comes in a choice of sizes.  I use it in cooking, haircare, skincare and homemade toothpaste amongst a multitude of other things.

An extra note on olive oil – always buy extra virgin, no matter what you’re using it for. ‘Extra virgin’ means that the oil has been pressed as opposed to extracted with the aid of chemicals.  Look for one in a dark glass bottle; the dark glass reduces oxidation and the glass avoids BPA leaching into the oil.  If you can find one that’s also unfiltered even better.  Extra virgin olive oil is fine for roasting up to 180ºc and medium temperature frying i.e. for fried eggs, sautéing veg etc.  For higher temperature cooking use coconut oil or butter.

You can see a video of me talking about good fats versus bad here.

{SALT} – Real, unrefined salt that hasn’t been stripped of its nourishing minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium. I use Geo Organics.

{NATURAL SWEETENERS} – There are several options when it comes to natural sweeteners, which are those that haven’t been refined and therefore had all of the vitamins and minerals stripped out like, for example, white sugar.  Do note though, that sugar is still sugar even if it’s natural and unrefined so don’t go nuts!

COLD-PRESSED (RAW) HONEY – I find it difficult to find local, raw honey at a reasonable price near me and so I most often buy  Tropical Forest Raw Honey which also has a good amount of bee pollen remaining.  Cold pressed honey retains the vitamins, minerals and enzymes and if it’s only lightly filtered like the Tropical Forest one it will retain some of the ‘impurities’ i.e. the pollen too, which is better for your health.  Honey should be thick and opaque, never runny and see-through.

MAPLE SYRUP – Delicious but somewhat expensive if you don’t buy in bulk.  Maple syrup is particularly rich in the minerals potassium and calcium, as well as other trace minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorous in good amounts so it’s a good choice.  Always buy organic to avoid chemicals in the processing, and the darker grades B & C are actually better than the pricier and lighter A.

MUSCOVADO & DEMORERA SUGAR –  These are unrefined types of cane sugar, made from the evaporated juice of the sugar cane.  In the UK these sugars usually come from Mauritius.  The darker the sugar, the better, since these contain more of the molasses and therefore more of the nutrients and the deeper the flavour.  However, since the sugar cane juice is heated (to about 80°c) it won’t retain as many nutrients as raw honey for example.  That said, for baking cakes I think these are good options that have infinitely more flavour than white sugar.  Even golden castor sugar is better, and more flavourful than white sugar and works great in a Victoria Sponge.


SOURDOUGH BREAD – Usually I make my own sourdough using this recipe, however on the occasions that I do buy bread I will buy this one or this one, both from Waitrose.  If you are buying sourdough, ensure you check the ingredients list (even if it’s in the ‘fresh’ bakery – most of the time this is a big fat CON!); if it mentions yeast as an ingredient then it’s unlikely to be real sourdough!






COLLAGEN – Great Lakes Gelatin