15 simple ways to JERF (Just Eat Real Food).

By Jordanna Levin |

Just Eat Real Food (JERF) is our favourite acronym right now. It’s also what’s at the heart of the I Quit Sugar message. When you quit sugar, you cut out the crap.

As Sarah says (pretty much daily): “When you stop eating sugar you start eating whole, un-mucked with foods just like our grandparents did. When you quit sugar you’re quitting processed food. You cut out the crap and get real.”

1. KISS (keep it simple stupid).

Choose food with the least number of ingredients. Do you throw every nut, seed, veggie and the kitchen sink into each meal? Simplify and focus on quality, not quantity. When shopping, choose the product with the least number of ingredients. Ditto on a restaurant menu.

2. Avoid sauces.

Whether you’re eating in or dining out, sauces generally contain loads of sugar, numbers and ingredients we can’t pronounce. You can try our Homemade Tomato Sauce, Homemade Barbeque Sauce, Homemade Mayonnaise and Homemade Basil Pesto recipes instead.

3. Shop at farmers markets.

AKA: eat local! This means you will be buying, local and in season produce, a fool-proof way to JERF. In her book I Quit Sugar for Life, Sarah highlights that when she’s asked about her eating principles – organic vs low carbon miles vs in season vs cheap  – she drills things down to two simple principles: Don’t waste food and shop local. “The biggest environmental issues on the planet, contributing more to carbon emissions than cars and industry? Food wastage. The biggest factor in the food wastage chain? Us.”

4. Eat what you can see and name.

Keep it simple when dining out and order foods that you can identify. For example, grilled fish and veg, or the weekly roast at the pub (there it is – meat and vegetables and potatoes, no mystery!). All real food!

5. Eat real superfoods.

Focus on superfoods you can pronounce like broccoli, almonds, and quinoa (okay, maybe we all can’t pronounce that one).

6. Avoid numbers.

Turn the packet over. If there is a number (like Red Dye #2 or Emulsifier #476) in the ingredients list, put it down and walk away. Quickly.

7. Eat like it’s 1934.

Go back to the way your grandparents used to eat. Meat and three veg, real butter, the whole egg, chicken skin. They used to de-shell their own nuts – now that’s functional eating!

8. Domesticate yourself.

Cooking is the best way to JERF. Sarah says, “Learning to cook is not negotiable”. It means you know what’s going into your food and it’s a skill you will keep for a lifetime.

9. Grow your own.

Plant a booming veggie garden, but if you don’t have room, at least have a few pots of herbs growing on your windowsill. You can even regrow your veggies from scraps!

10. Stick to the edges.

Shop the outside aisles of the supermarket. This is generally where the fridges are and the fresh food is kept.

11. Eat everything.

There’s no need to juice, extract or remove any parts of your food. Eat the trimmings off your meat and don’t chuck out the egg yolks – they’re the best part!

12. Bulk up.

Buy your veggies, grains and nuts in bulk when they are in season. Freeze into portions and you’ll never have an excuse not to JERF again!

13. Don’t discriminate.

You’ll often see discounted veggies that are slightly limp and have imperfections. Use up these unloved veggies in a huge soup and freeze for weeks ahead. And you can also eat the veggies you never buy!

14. Join a Co-Op.

Use your collective buying power to purchase in bulk and at a lower price.

15. Don’t feed the bin.

Did you know that consumers toss out up to 50 per cent of their groceries each week? Utilise every skerrick of vegetable that you have. Use carrot nubs in soups, broccoli stalks in pesto and slow cook your kale stems. And read about the crazy lengths Sarah’s gone to limit food waste here.

What’s your favourite way to JERF?

Are you ready to transform your life and quit sugar for good? 
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