Keep it simple: Eat real food!

JamieThompsonGuest post by Jamie Thompson, RD

“You’re a dietitian?” Asked the young and severely overweight man scanning my groceries. “Yep,” I replied. After a short pause he asked, “So what is the fastest way to lose weight?” Without hesitation I responded, “Eat real food.” He looked somewhat puzzled, so I elaborated with my few short minutes.

When we eat real, whole foods, our bodies recognize these foods and we feel full and satisfied. When we eat fragmented, processed, and/or chemicalized foods, our bodies know something is missing, and we crave MORE. More fat, more carbs, more everything. We don’t feel satisfied. We overeat and dump toxins into our bodies as well.

I say eat real food and get full! No more dieting, denying, or guilt! If you have a craving for something you deem to be ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy,’  make it yourself!  Chances are, you don’t have high fructose corn syrup, mono- / di-glycerides, or MSG in your kitchen!  Make fried chicken, make cookies, make pizza, eat a portion of it, and – most importantly – ENJOY IT.

101471962The key to thinking about ‘real food’ or ‘whole food’ is to try to picture it growing and/or be able to pronounce its ingredients. Or, as Michael Pollan pointed out, ask yourself, “Was this considered food for your grandparents?” Chances are, they ate real butter instead of margarine (trans fat), fruits and vegetables, meat from animals that had eaten a natural diet outside, minimally processed bread, and added their own sugar to cereals and yogurt.

Of course there is no secret ‘fastest’ way to achieve healthy weight loss like the young man was hoping for. If we have learned anything over the years, it’s that there really isn’t a pill, a surgery, or any silver bullet that can promise sustained weight loss and health. Only lifestyle change that works for you personally.

Let’s go back to eating real, whole food that tastes delicious and enjoy it! No matter what the latest nutrition fad, this will ALWAYS be true and guide you to your highest health.

Here are some simple “real food” meal ideas…

Cheese Crisp

This is basically an open face quesadilla. Super easy and delicious. Grate your cheese and have your toppings ready. I like beans (if using canned, drain and rinse) or refried beans, avocado, tomato, salsa, etc. Place your corn tortilla (or wheat tortilla without hydrogenated oil) into a skillet set to medium low heat. Add your toppings and wait for the cheese to melt. Season with cumin and black pepper and cut into triangles. Enjoy a couple of these with a salad or roasted vegetables.

Latin Lasagna

If you don’t have many people to cook for and end up with leftovers from your cheese crisp, use these ingredients to make a Latin lasagna! This is fun, easy, and open to interpretation! Use the leftover tortillas like lasagna noodles and layer these (lightly oiled with olive oil) with your beans and/or your meat of choice, salsa, tomatoes, cheese, frozen spinach or peas, any vegetables you need to use up and any other toppings you had for your cheese crisp. Like I said, make this dish your own, there is no way to mess it up! After you have layered to your liking, cover with more grated cheese and place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered.

Stiry Fry

Heat coconut, olive, or peanut oil in a wok or deep sided pan on medium high heat.  Add your choice of fresh or frozen chopped vegetables (broccoli, peppers, carrots, peas, bok choy) and protein (tofu, tempeh, chicken, beef, etc.) and cook until meat is cooked and vegetables are at desired tenderness.  Serve over brown rice with tamari.

Baked Potato Meals

Potatoes got a bad wrap, but these little tubers pack loads of nutrients! More potassium than a banana and almost 5 grams of fiber! Due to the high pesticide residue, I recommend going organic with potatoes, especially if you like the skin.

  • Idea #1: Bake your potato (scrub, poke with fork, oil, and place directly on oven rack) until fork tender at 400 to 420 degrees. When done, pour a half can of any natural, low sodium soup on top.
  • Idea #2: Make a small hamburger and use baked potato like a bun.
  • Idea #3: Revive any leftovers by using a potato!

Jamie Thompson has been a dietitian for almost 6 years and has been in private practice focusing on holistic nutrition and health coaching for almost 5 years. She loves helping people find their personal health and navigate the very confusing nutrition world out there. Her goal is to make each one of her clients their very own nutritionist so they can make healthy decisions for themselves. Jamie works in the Columbus, Ohio area. If you’d like to know more, check out or email her at

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