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The IRN exists to shape the way food is produced, marketed and distributed so we can end food-related illness and promote good health. In order to strengthen our strategies and tactics we seek your support through community based participatory research.

Your experience and knowledge can provide important data for understanding what is going in our food system and its impact on our health. Thanks in advance for supporting our efforts in this way.

The IRN has surveys that are open ended as well as time limited to address specific issues and concerns with our food system and nutrition.

What is Real Food?

This may seem like a simple question, but defining what real food is can be challenging. We need your help to better understand what your understanding of real food is. Please tell what you think real food is, in one paragraph or less.

Showing 46 reactions

  • answered 2016-02-06 18:39:55 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is food that is as it would be in Nature, with as little human interference and manipulation as possible.
  • answered 2016-01-27 01:49:02 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is molecularly understood that will address physiologic need-mind, body and soul.
  • answered 2016-01-24 09:14:45 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is food that is natural and has not been processed in any manner. In short, this means fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and organic (“range free”) eggs, poultry and fish.
  • answered 2015-12-13 20:30:49 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: It is nourishment which a body is able to use. To be exact it must have amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and carbohydrates to be a real food. It has a balance between potassium and sodium. Much more potassium than sodium as all foods have in nature. Processed foods, in general, do not have life for the body, just shelf life, so they do not count as real food we require to thrive.
    Learning these things has radically changed my human experience on this earth!
  • answered 2015-12-12 08:28:56 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: I guess my favorite reminder of what real food comes from the saying, “don’t eat anything that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”. It used to be said that you could find real food on the outer perimeter of your grocery store and I was always told to stay away from the aisles, but now with bakeries and deli’s in supermarkets that is no longer true. I find my food in the produce section as I’ve put myself on a plant based diet for the moment and as I get healthier I plan on incorporating grass fed meats and wild fish back into my diet in moderation.
  • answered 2015-12-03 13:51:58 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food, in my eyes, is food that consists of 1 ingredient, like carrots, honey, beef, strawberries, salt, water, almonds. If you’re grocery shopping looks like you’ve been robbing a toy store, it’s probably not so good. If it looks like you’ve been to the weekly market, and the food is mostly unwrapped, it’s probably good.
  • answered 2015-11-29 04:00:30 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Traditional food. Stuff we’ve eaten for generations. Maybe not my culture, but someone’s. It was made basically in the same way and from basically the same things as I would if I was making it (modulo taste). Made from whole ingredients (i.e. meringues aren’t prototypical “real food”, because I separated the eggs).
  • answered 2015-11-21 23:33:13 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is whole food as produced by nature, or as organically as possible by the grower, with no added industrial “value adding”. The only processing is done by the cook in chopping, cooking and meal preparation etc.
  • answered 2015-11-20 14:58:10 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: It’s food that is hardly or not processed with added ingredients. Food as close as the original source as possible is the most real.
  • answered 2015-11-06 18:12:19 -0800
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: I think that real food is 1) not in a box, 2) has been grown – preferably without chemicals 3) if it’s meat, it’s been fed what it’s supposed to eat, and antibiotics have not been a part of that 4) if it’s bread then the ingredients should be only “the basics” – no chemicals. Almost everything else is “a treat” and should be eaten in very small amounts, and some of these things should never be consumed e.g. – twinkies, snack packs, fast food (I could go on.)
  • answered 2015-10-06 05:47:48 -0700
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is made made fresh from ingredients as close to their origin as possible. Whole meal flour is one step away, white flour is two steps as its filtered. This also includes processes such as enzymes, smoking, brewing and heating etc to change a food. Its may have some, but these should be kept to a minimum.
  • answered 2015-09-29 17:17:13 -0700
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is something I could prepare in my own kitchen, even if I didn’t. It’s bread with ingredients I keep in my cupboard. It’s meat that doesn’t have additives or nitrites or preservatives. It’s milk that came from a free range cow and butter like I could make. It’s fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. It’s nothing that comes in a box or that has a brand name on it.
  • answered 2015-09-27 00:02:24 -0700
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real food is that which has had minimal processing.
  • @Sonamataneja tweeted link to this page. 2015-09-11 23:28:16 -0700
  • answered 2015-09-11 23:27:21 -0700
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: To me, “real food” means food as close to it’s natural form such that it doesn’t lose it’s nutritional value. It means whole grains, fresh vegetables, absolute NO to highly processed foods, absolute NO to high sugar or high salt food items. Real food means food rich in all “essential nutrient groups”, carbohydrates not being one of them!
  • answered 2015-09-08 23:58:38 -0700
    Q: What is Real Food?
    A: Real foods are foods that are either close or identical to their natural state (I.e whole grains, legumes, raw milk, whole fruit and veg), and either by themself or mixed with other whole foods (mixed nuts, homemade dips & dressings, etc) or “processed” in traditional ways (minced, ground, shredded, sun dried, diced, etc)