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How to start a real food lifestyle

Thanks to The Natural Nutritionist Steph Lowe for sharing this article.

You may have heard the concept of eating ‘real foodbeing increasingly discussed, or friends and acquaintances pledging to eat ‘cleanor drop the preservatives and processed food; but what does it all mean and how can you get realistically started on your Real Food Lifestyle?

When we discuss real food, what it is and why you should eat it, we can really keep it as simple as the following:

  • Food that comes out of the ground, off a tree, or from an animal is always the most nutrient dense and whole food source of nutrition.
  • An anti-inflammatory approach free of gluten, refined sugars and trans fats will optimise your health, energy levels, hormones, performance and recovery.

How to get started with your real food lifestyle

Here are some simple ways that you can make positive changes to your diet and begin to reap the rewards. Eating ‘real food’ needs to become a way of life — like it once was before we had all the nutrient-poor pre-packaged options to choose from.

TNN_ShoppingShop the perimeter

The majority of the food in the centre aisles of the supermarket is highly processed, refined and artificial. The perimeter contains fruit, vegetables and meat products — the foundations of your nutritional pyramid. The biggest change you can make to improve your health is to significantly reduce your packaged food consumption.

Food preparation

Dedicating an ‘hour of power’ in the kitchen on a Sunday or a day/night off makes a significant difference to your food choices during the week. If dinner leftovers can become lunch the next day, and your freezer is stocked with meals for late nights home from work or training, then you will never be tempted by poor, albeit convenient, choices. As we always say — preparation is key.

Speak to your butcher

Far superior to a supermarket is developing a relationship with a butcher you can trust. Where possible, prioritise organic, grass fed and pasture-raised animal products. This is essential for optimal nutrient density and your health, as well as the health of the animal and the environment.

Buy in bulk

Bulk Whole Foods is a fantastic example of an online one-stop-shop for all your nuts, seeds, fats and gluten free baking ingredients. Buying in bulk will also bring down your per kilogram price significantly, making your transition economical as well.

When in doubt keep it simple

Nothing beats meat and vegetables or salad for dinner, just make sure you add good fats such as avocado, olive oil or grass fed butter for added flavour, nutrient density and satiety!

TNN_Recipe_Green-Chicken-CurryRecipe: Green Chicken Curry with Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

2 green chillies
2 cloves garlic
1 stick lemongrass
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
¼ cup cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil, plus extra for cooking
1 x 400ml can full fat coconut milk
1 x 400ml can full fat coconut cream
1 small sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
500g chicken thigh, diced
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch brocollini
1 zucchini
1 cauliflower
1 lemon
¼ bunch coriander


1. Halve chillies and remove seeds. Roughly chop along with garlic and lemongrass and blend with curry powder, turmeric and coconut oil until a paste forms. If you are unfamiliar with lemongrass, simply remove the tough outer leaves and the bulb (end) and slice the stalk using all of the fleshy part. Stop slicing when you get to the greener, more woody section.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan and cook paste for two minutes or until it becomes fragrant.

3. Add coconut milk, coconut cream, sweet potato and chicken and simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked and sweet potato is soft.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Add chopped, washed greens and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Thoroughly wash cauliflower. De-stem, dice into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until it resembles rice. Lightly sauté in coconut oil.

7. Serve curry on top of cauliflower rice with fresh coriander and a lemon wedge. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for three to four days.

Get involved

Find more recipes and informative articles from The Natural Nutritionist here. Steph Lowe will also be in Townsville on January 22 as part of the 31 Days of Activity hosting a free session called ‘Fire up your metabolism: Lose weight and improve athletic performance’. For more information and to book, see here:

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Steph Lowe

The Natural Nutritionist (TNN) Steph Lowe is a sports nutritionist, triathlete and cashew butter addict from Melbourne, Victoria. She has an undergraduate degree in sport and exercise science, a graduate diploma in human nutrition and soon-to-be-completed masters of human nutrition. Steph specialises in real food based sports nutrition, high performance fat loss, and teaching you how easy gluten free living and performance can be. She has extensive experience working with teams, elite athletes, corporations, schools and the general public in the area of optimal nutrition.

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