Eat Real Food – Give Real Food

“Eat the most flavorful, best-tasting whole foods you can find—amazing tomatoes, killer strawberries, sublime peaches, awesome grass-fed beef. You’ll soon discover that junk food just doesn’t stack up to the real thing. As your palate changes, your body will, too. Eating ‘real food’ won’t be a challenge anymore—it’ll be a way of life.”

-Mark Schatzker, Author of “The Dorito Effect”

So, you have taken the Real Food Challenge. Congratulations! Now it is time to spread the Real Food Love. Here we feature some amazing partners who are making it easier to find real food, eat real food, and give real food to people who really need it.


Ever heard the term “food insecurity”?

Nearly 20% of Americans were food insecure in 2014 meaning they did not have reliable access to food. A meta hazard is any social trend or threat that can disrupt the long term stability of the American way of life. We believe food insecurity is a meta hazard.

Many people are “food insecure,” which conjures up the image of hungry people – yet many people on low incomes are obese. Further, eighty five percent of Americans lack essential vitamins. This creates a “hidden hunger,” also known as micronutrient deficiency – people get enough calories, but fail to receive essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Food is increasingly calorie-dense, but nutritionally poor.

Worse yet, the chemicals being added to our food (sugar + 10,000 additives) are making people sick. A term being used to describe these chemicals is “obesogens.” Almost fifty percent of the U.S. population now has diabetes or prediabetes. Obesity has been described as a national security issue and its impact is already large, negative and growing.

The new face of malnutrition and food access is no longer about a lack of food, but rather a lack of health-promoting, real food.


So, what can we do?

The Institute for Responsible Nutrition is working with a partner organization, Amp Your Good, to help get real food to people who really need it. Amp Your Good has developed an innovative model that is disrupting the classic food drive by offering the option to give real food instead of processed nonperishables.

Our Real Food Impact campaign uses the Amp Your Good “Crowd-Feeding” platform to help direct resources to programs and communities where the need is the greatest.

We look for programs where healthy food, nutrition education, and high levels of community engagement are all part of the “recipe” for success.


Change the food, change the future

The very first program we are supporting is an amazing project at Mt. Diablo High School, run by Cindy Gershen and supported by the Wellness City Challenge.

Cindy believes that “if you change the food, you change the future. Strong science-based nutrition must be essential and central elements of the educational model for all schools and grade levels.” One of the ways to do this is to prepare and serve healthy food to the student body – to provide access to food otherwise in short supply for them.

Nearly 80% of Mt. Diablo High School’s 1372 students are socio-economically disadvantaged. The School is located in Contra Costa County. Childhood obesity continues to be a growing problem in Contra Costa and the majority of counties in the state. The number of school-age children who are overweight or obese in Contra Costa rose by 3.5 percentage points to an alarming overall 33.85 percent between 2005 and 2010, according to the statewide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA).

Cindy’s program teaches students how to prepare healthy meals and provides healthy meals to the student body – serving thousands of meals to nourish the bodies and minds of students every year.

This Real Food Drive is designed to raise a year’s worth of food for Cindy’s program. The drive has been organized in partnership with the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, the Wellness City Challenge and in connection with the 10 Day Real Food Challenge.

It’s easy to participate, simply click here. Pick out and purchase the healthy food items you would like to donate. The food will be delivered for you to Mt Diablo High School. You’ll receive a tax receipt via email for your donation.

How does an online food drive work? Check out this great video from Amp Your Good:

Please support the drive now!

“Prioritizing real foods is, hands down, the most effective way to make lifestyle changes to help you reach your health goals. Forgo highly processed and minimally nutritious junk, no matter how seductive the health claims. Your tastebuds — and body — will thank you.”

-Andy Bellatti, MS, RD
“The short definition of ‘real’ food is food that doesn’t have a Nutrition Facts label. If it has a label, something’s been done to the food. If it doesn’t, nothing’s been done, it’s ‘real.”

-Robert Lustig, MD
“Real food is food that comes directly from the earth or is kept as close to that state as possible. Real food nourishes with the shortest, most pronounceable ingredients list—it’s safe to eat, but when left to its own devices, it can rot away.”

-Trinh Le, MPH, RD, MyFitnessPal Registered Dietitian