Our Real Food Journey


So I mentioned briefly in this post that we have made a lot of life-style changes in the last 2 years in regards to how we eat, how we view medicine (don't worry, I'm not completely anti-medicine), and how we have tried to rid our home of toxic chemicals. It has really been such an eye-opening journey for us—but it has definitely required a very big learning curve and a lot of "We're just doing the best we can" days.

One of these days I may write about our whole journey, but in short— all 3 of us individually struggled with a different health issue, and Jeremy and I both dealt with low-energy and fatigue. So I began to take a step back and look at what we were putting in our bodies and reevaluate our pattern of living.
  
Clean eating, non-toxic, organic, gluten-free, all natural, grass-fed, non-processed, cage-free ... KALE— I kept hearing all these words that were kind of trendy, but I didn't really understand or  know why they made a difference to me.

So I began reading a lot, watching documentaries, and seeking out advice and tips from some older women that were already down this path long "before organic was trendy" (they say).  And really, as I began learning and digging, a lot of this stuff just made sense. (I will be posting a list of some of my favorite resources this week.)


What is REAL FOOD? It is wholesome, pure and unprocessed, in its most basic form. It is nourishing to your body. It is food that you can pronounce (or made with something you can pronounce.) Here's a great little guide HERE.
We went a little extreme at first (which I don't recommend). I would get so overwhelmed and discouraged about all of the things we needed to implement or change right away. I would spend an arm and a leg at Whole Foods not knowing what I was doing and be paralyzed if we went out to eat. Not fun. So we had to take a step back, find a balance and just take baby steps.

Now, it was definitely not easy at first for this frozen pizza and Diet Coke lover. We were eating out 3-4 times a week and when I cooked, it usually consisted of something from a can mixed with something from a box or bag. I will say, eating real food isn't very convenient sometimes. Even though it has tacked on a substantial amount of time for planning and prep for meals, the sacrifice has been so rewarding knowing that what I am feeding my family is truly nourishing them, not just getting them to the next meal.

I can honestly say I haven't looked at the Nutrition Facts (that I used to obsess over before) in 2 years. Used to, I would decide whether I wanted to eat something by the calorie, fat and protein content. (that's what we were all taught, right?) If those were good, I would proceed without ever glancing at the ingredients or considering HOW they made that food in fact, low-calorie, low-carb or low-fat. I definitely didn't realize the toll all those extra "long-named ingredients" were taking on my body.

Now, if the ingredients are few, real, and nutritious, I don't really care how many calories are in it.

The food industry has added a laundry list of ingredients to most of the food we buy at the grocery store— MSG, nitrates, aspartame, food additives and flavors, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and genetically modified organisms (to name a few). All to make it last longer, be more addictive, taste better and cost less. Did you know that a lot of the ingredients that the FDA approves of in the US are not allowed to be put in food in a lot of other countries in the world. Interesting...

Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, allergies, infertility, neuro-toxicity, and many other disorders and diseases have been linked to these sneaky little ingredients that most people have no idea are hidden in their food (sometimes even advertised as healthy).

So coming back to our health issues (they weren't major, but still)—we do not take routine medications anymore, we have way more energy, less issues with allergies and have just felt healthier all around. We do on occasion take medications if need be, but it is rare. I really do believe God has provided us with so many resources to keep us healthy. For me, it wasn't that I didn't want to be healthy, I just didn't know what real health and nutrition was, and that what I put in my body is SO important.

So here are a few of the first steps we took— I threw out and stopped buying highly processed, highly refined food and started making meals, snacks, salad dressings, etc. from scratch. We started eating out way less.  We ate A LOT more fruits and veggies. We started going to the farmers market and learning about eating locally and seasonally. We started buying pastured eggs, grass-fed, hormone-free meat, and even raw milk and cheese. Not all overnight though...


A lot of people (okay, like 5) have encouraged me to blog more about what we are doing and learning because they don't necessarily know where to start, but are really interested. So since I enjoy writing and this has really become something I'm passionate about, I thought I would give it a try. We'll see how it goes...
 My disclaimer:
1. When in doubt, do your own research, I am not an expert—but be prepared! That's what I did, and I wound up being kind of "granola."
2.  I promise I will not judge you if you choose not to live/eat the way we have chosen. That is not my intention, but I also don't want my issues with pleasing others or not offending anyone to keep me from sharing. 
3. It's okay if you don't make a lot of money. We don't either. It's definitely a challenge, but there are ways to make it work. When you stop buying processed food, sodas, and eating out less—you have more money to spend on higher quality, real food.
4. We do not eat like this 100% of the time. We are not purists and we don't do everything right. We're still learning ourselves. Our goal is 80/20. (eat well 80% of the time... it should probably be more like 90%, but we'll get there...)
6. Jacob (my toddler) does eat well, but not all the time. It drives me crazy, but I don't want his childhood to be marred with me trying to force him to eat perfectly and not enjoy meal time. I do take what he eats very seriously and try my best.

3 comments

  1. This is something I think about a LOT but just don't know how it would be feasible time-wise with our current schedules.

    I am so excited to read more about your journey and learn from you!

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    1. So I just figured out how to reply to comments ;) thanks for the encouragement to keep sharing what we're learning! I know it's super overwhelming with crazy schedules but every little change makes a difference- baby steps!

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