My endless conversations about food with my customers at times is entertaining.  This one conversation got me thinking about what it means when someone says, ‘yeah, but I want the real thing.’ So, what is real?


To give you some context, during this conversation, my customer was saying a lot of the same things I’ve talked about in my blogs such as:

  1. Following the 80 / 20 rule.  This is where someone thinks they’re clean eating 80% of the time but believe in cheating 20% of the time.
  2. Eating more plant-based.  This is when someone believes that eating a plant-based item (Impossible burger/Beyond Burger etc.) is safer than eating beef.  Honestly, I’d rather eat McDonald’s before I ate a plant-based chemical nightmare. 
  3. Exercising several times, a week.  This usually means getting on the elliptical or bicycle for 20 – 30 minutes / day.  This is better than nothing but there are better more effective ways to get moving.

In any event, part of her rant included eating pizza and her saying, ‘Sometimes, I just want the real thing!’  So, I said, ‘well, let’s un-pack that.’  I asked her, ‘what’s your definition of real?’  We’re not in Naples so whatever we get here, technically, is not real. It’s some version or someone’s interpretation of pizza.  Come on, there are people that put pineapple on pizza, is that real?  To them it is!  So, what is real?

What is Real for Me

Growing up first generation Italian, my mom made pizza from her region of Italy.  It was a thick crust, made in a rectangular sheet pan and covered with crushed tomatoes, salt, olive oil, oregano, and grated parmigiana cheese.  When we’d be over at someone’s house and see a pizza delivery arrive, and the pizza was round and filled with all these ‘foreign’ toppings, we were always like, what’s that?  So, for a short time, my mom started to make round pizzas with a lot of toppings.  And we liked it, but when she got out the rectangular sheet pan, we knew we were getting ‘The real thing’.

So, what’s your definition of real?  When it comes to food, we have so many memories and emotions that it’s up to us to control how those feelings impact us. When I make pizza, I make it round, in fact, I make it in a cast-iron pan, I add sauces and toppings that are completely different from how I grew up and what I’ve had in NY, NJ, or Italy.  I think what I make is fantastic and exactly right for where I’m at on my journey for clean eating.  I don’t compromise ingredients or flavors for memories or emotions. My grain-free pizza, all organic, with pasture meat is how I keep it ‘real’ for me. 

If you’re struggling with what is real, then I suggest you start evaluating whether you’re confusing a habit with your ability to start something new.  You can continue to have your fond memories and strive to make new traditions.  Who knows, you might just be setting up the next generation with a new ‘real memory’.

Stay tuned, I’ll be rolling out the details of the 5 Phases of Clean Eating.  These five steps will be your guide to knowing where to start your journey and to understand where you are on your journey.  

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