Last Updated: April 25th, 2019

Do you find it weird that some foods in your pantry are years old? Not only have they been around for some time, but you could eat them right now, and they’d taste the same way they did a year earlier.

Food technology emerged as a way to solve public health problems, prevent deficiencies and increase microbiological safety. We needed to make foods safer to eat, we needed to make them last longer and we needed to make more food available for the masses.

At the time these advancements came along, they were desperately needed. However, along the way, greed turned this science into a massive money-making machine of disease-causing Frankenfoods. Large corporations in charge of mass food production created chemical additives, fake fats, sugar substitutes and artificial colours for foods that aren’t fit for human consumption.

Once we take the technology out of our food, we start following the energy principle of eating. The simple principle of energy exchange is this: humans are energy sources. We’rea bunch of atoms bouncing off one another. To keep ourselves alive and energetic, we need to eat energy, much like a car needs fuel to run.

Foods that are filled with energy in the form of vitamins, minerals, cofactors and enzymes, are “alive” foods. The more alive and vital a particular food is, the quicker it’s going to rot and spoil.

A vegetable will begin to wilt and lose its nutrition fairly quickly after being separated from its source (soil, light and water). In contrast, boxed cereal can stay on the shelf for at least six months. The veggie is alive; the cereal isn’t.

We feel dull when we eat processed, dead, shelf-stable foods. We feel alive and vital when we eat unprocessed foods that come from the Earth. The farther away a food gets from its true source, the more processed and dead it becomes. An apple is a living food. Apple juice and apple fruit leather aren’t.

Eating isn’t as complicated as it seems

Purified water in packages - Real food vs. fake food

Our relationship with food is very layered. Yet this aspect of eating, or knowing what to eat, isn’t at all complicated. I want you to start focusing on eating high-quality, real foods, foods that spoil. This includes organic fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans, unprocessed grains (preferably gluten-free), pasture-raised meats and eggs, wild-caught fish, and at least half your body weight in ounces (or millilitres) of purified water daily.

Before your mind jumps into a fury of food prison–like rules and regulations, I want to remind you that the list includes everything you’d need to make a grass-fed burger over fresh greens, with a spicy side of sweet potato fries. Picture an adorable stack of silver-dollar pancakes (made from egg whites and oats) dripping with maple syrup, grass-fed butter and a side of bacon. How about some homemade desserts naturally sweetened with dates, honey and dark chocolate?

Hold, please, I’m about to make some fish tacos with fresh guacamole, salsa, slaw and cashew sour cream, and I won’t feel like I’m giving up anything because it all tastes freaking orgasmic.

Here’s a quick rundown of the things you want to minimize: processed foods (these come in a box or a bag), genetically modified foods (GMOs), flour, alcohol, soy, corn, artificial flavors and colours, trans fat and fried foods, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, factory-farmed dairy and (non-organic) foods laden with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Oh, and sugar, sugar and more sugar! Did I mention any and all types of processed sugar? I could safely bet that you, my friend, at this very moment are addicted to sugar in some form or fashion (alcohol, bread, crackers, sweets and pasta are all sugar, just dressed in different outfits). Sugar is a particular kind of evil that wreaks havoc on every body.

Simply making sure that your food doesn’t come from a package and is organic whenever possible will automatically protect you from eating anything on the above do-not-eat list. Then focus on minimizing all forms of processed sugar, and you’ll be on the road to inner happiness! A simple rule of thumb is to keep your pantry bare and your fridge stocked.

Setting loving boundaries

Person's hand reaching for French Fries - Real food vs. fake food

OK, OK, you read (or skimmed, yes, I saw that) the last paragraph, and you’re feeling the sudden urge to give me the finger. It’s cool, I get it, but truly I’m on your side, sugar-booger. I’m a foodie in the essence of my being. I have an inner fat kid who lives loud and proud! I know that a life without fries isn’t a life worth living, so I’ve created a loving boundary for myself that keeps me out of a food scarcity mentality.

I eat whatever the hell I want twice a week. Two free meals. Not cheat meals, because I’m not cheating on anyone.

I’ve been following this rule for years, throughout my weight loss and well into my weight maintenance. I eat whatever the hell I want twice a week. Two free meals. Not cheat meals, because I’m not cheating on anyone. I don’t overeat, or binge on the most disgusting foods ever. I simply eat whatever sounds good, twice a week. That includes pizza, fries, bread, cheese and of course pistachio coconut milk ice cream from my local Thai food joint.

There’s no food that I’m not allowed to eat. I don’t have to constantly check in with a running mental list of no-nos. When I started my quest for deeper and more permanent change, I created a vision for what I wanted regarding my health and physical appearance, and then I made loving boundaries that helped support my vision.

So the next time you find yourself wondering if you should eat this protein bar or that one, try the new fad food, or just say “F it” and get all those meals delivered in a box, you’ll know that the answer is to go with what spoils. Simply choose the fresh, real food option and win every time.

This means a fresh cookie from the bakery wins out over a packaged one. It doesn’t always have to be “healthy,” but it should be real.

Front cover of Feed Your Soul book - Real food vs. fake foodCarly Pollack is the author of Feed Your Soul: Nutritional Wisdom to Lose Weight Permanently and Live Fulfilled and is the founder of Nutritional Wisdom, a thriving private practice based in Austin, Texas (U.S.). A Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Carly has been awarded Best Nutritionist in Austin five years running and has helped more than 10,000 people achieve their health and happiness goals. Visit her online at

Excerpted from the book Feed Your Soul. Copyright ©2019 by Carly Pollack. Printed with permission from New World Library—

image 1: Pixabay; image 2: Wikimedia Commons; image 3: Marco Verch