Eat whole, real food, as close to nature as possible.

In Practice

Before you eat, look at what you are eating, or read the packet, and ask yourself if you recognise what food this is? Is it close to what you would find growing or living in nature?


The definition of food is “any nourishing substance that can be eaten”. Thus, the food we eat should nourish us. To nourish means to “provide with food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition”.

Eating food that is as close to nature as possible, means eating food that still resembles its original form. Such as eating a potato over a packet of potato crisps or potato waffles that look nothing like a potato.

Eating food as close to nature means that you are getting food that your body is designed to eat, it is natural, it looks like a vegetable, fruit, bean, grain, or fish, chicken etc. You know what you are getting when you eat that food.E.g. apple, banana, oats, sweetcorn, salmon, prawn, avocado. When foods are processed, they change their natural state, usually the fibre gets stripped away (along with its nutrients, vitamins, and minerals), plus ingredients are added to the food, such as sugar, salt, fat, preservatives and e-numbers.

The less interference from any third party, particularly from a factory, the better for your health. In addition, as an added benefit, if you avoid products that are processed and come in boxes and packets, you will save money.

What to Avoid

Avoid refined foods and highly processed concoctions of substances that you would not possess in your food cupboards. Don’t buy products with substances that you would not cook with yourself, such as ingredients like xanthan, cellulose, gums, ammonium sulphate, nitrates, acesulfame potassium.

Processed foods are a business, and the main concern of a business is to make profit, your health is not their priority. Adding fat, sugar and salt make the products more addictive so we eat more and adding chemicals into products to extend the shelf life, essentially increases profits. A basic level of processing may be necessary, such as tinned tuna, brown rice, milk, olive oil, but it is the refined foods such as white sugar, white pasta, white rice and highly processed foods, such packaged foods, microwave meals and ready meals that we should avoid.

Tips for eating real food as close to nature:

  • Avoid highly processed foods.
  • Avoid foods that have some form of sugar listed among the top 3 ingredients.
  • Avoid products that contain a long list of ingredients that and you don’t recognise them.
  • Read the labels (you may be shocked to see what’s listed in the ingredients and you may also notice that some brands are better than others. For example, notice how the cheaper brands are adding preservatives, that’s why they are cheaper. Some brands even add a preservative to prawns or chicken).
  • Shop at the greengrocers, fish mongers, butchers, and farmers markets.

Example swaps:


Ditch Eat
Processed cereals such as cornflakes, Frosties, Cheerios, granola. Whole grain oats, rice, wheat, rye. Make your own granola.
Squash, fizzy drinks, artificial flavoured water and drinks. Water flavoured with real fruit, lemons, cucumber, mint etc. Fruit teas.
Pringles, Whatsits, Quavers, Pop chips, processed crisps. Olives, unsalted nuts, chickpeas, homemade potato wedges, homemade pitta bread bakes.
Biscuits, high protein zero carb bars, shop-bought cakes, chocolate bars, sugar and sweets. Home-made biscuits, homemade flapjacks and bliss balls, 80% plus dark chocolate, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Supermarket bought bread. Homemade bread, soda bread, bread that has less than 5 ingredients listed and ingredients you recognise.

Try out some of these delicious recipes full of natural ingredients:

You can find lots of other healthy, nutrient rich recipes on my blog.