#jerf (Just Eat Real Food)? Can I Really Do That?
Posted by Arja on September 14 in Holistic Health, Nutrition
I took a pause recently to think about my practice and how I can best serve my clients. Pausing is good - life is busy and sometimes things move at such a breakneck pace that all we are able to do is run and try to keep up. The trouble with keeping up is that it doesn’t leave space for thinking, seeing, learning, and dreaming. While my core beliefs about nutrition, supplements and lifestyle remain quite similar to those I held when I started practicing holistic nutrition, the nuances of how I approach things, present information, as well as coach clients has definitely changed. Pausing to reflect on this only enhances what I have to offer people. Taking a pause doesn’t mean that I stopped everything altogether, I’ve just been doing it at a pace that allows me to breathe and grow.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently and she was asking me if I was familiar with the hashtag “#jerf” as she had come across it recently. #Jerf stands for “just eat real food”. It is brilliant in its simplicity, and as a philosophy it resonated with my friend, as it has with so many others.
Eating real food is one of the best things that we can do for our health and wellness.
Real food = whole food, and long days at the office, work-related entertaining + travel, busy schedules with kids + activities, and even feeling uncomfortable in the kitchen can all make keeping your diet rooted in whole foods difficult. Just eating real food doesn’t need to be impossible though, and truthfully, it can also look very different for different people.
The point is, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by wanting to eat a healthier, whole foods based diet. It doesn’t have to be filled with foods that are difficult to buy, or with prep and cooking that make you feel like you need chef’s training.
If you’re short on time (or perceived skills!) focus on change that you can manage. Some of my favourite whole-food hacks:
- Bagged salads that I either amp up with additional ingredients, or use to boost a plain jane salad of my own - think broccoli slaws (because who has time to shred all those ingredients??), “superfood” bagged salads, etc. Just skip the packaged dressings that are sometimes included and make an easy one of your own.
- Keep your ingredients simple - broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, ginger, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard…. Familiar with any of those? They’re easy to buy, usually not that expensive, and really good for you.
- Whole foods can be found in packages too, you just need to be vigilant about reading labels and ingredients. You don’t need added sugar, colour, flavour, or most things that you cannot pronounce. Cereals, granola, crackers, and other easy things to buy can be found, just know what you’re buying! You might need to add a few things to boost the overall nutritional value (my hubby likes cereal, so he appeases me by adding hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds to his bowl) of a simple packaged food.
Skip the fad diets. You start by cutting out the crap - sugar, processed foods, fried foods, white stuff - and then you take it from there.
There is no one way of eating that works for everyone, so after you’ve cut out the crap, you need to figure out how to eat and live in a way that makes you feel like the best version of yourself.
For most people, this involves less alcohol and caffeine (both crutches that can mess with things like sleep + hydration), way more vegetables, moving your body regularly, and figuring out food sensitivities (most people have a few things that they react to). Depending on any underlying health conditions, you may also benefit from structuring your eating to support your body in a more focused way.
Health + wellness is a journey, so don’t be worried about where you are right now, just start doing something, because we are all learning as we go and it’s inevitable that one day you’ll be doing things differently than you are today.
Eating healthier, and sticking with it, doesn’t need to be intimidating and certainly doesn’t need to be complicated. Small steps taken on a regular basis lead to big changes, trust me.