How “into” real food are you? (how long have you been doing it, how many different foods do you make from scratch, etc.)
We jumped into real food in January of last year. Rather than changing things gradually, we decided to just get it over with and do it all at once. It was quite a learning curve, but it was worth it. After well over two years of trying to get pregnant, I got a positive test just two months after cutting out all processed foods! At that time, we soaked all grains and severely limited our sugar intake (only occasional raw honey, rapadura or grade B maple syrup). I made absolutely everything from scratch for those two months, but when the morning sickness hit, I couldn’t do any cooking for months. We took advantage of a wonderful local grocery store that makes fresh soaked grain bread, along with made-from-scratch foods in their deli area. Boiling water even smelled bad enough to make me gag, so there wasn’t much cooking being done. Once the morning sickness began to eased (after the fifth month), I slowly got back to making real food, again.
There are some ways that we have eased up (more natural sugars) and there are some things we have changed (we don’t soak grains — not because I’m lazy, but I’m truly convinced that soaking to reduce phytic acid isn’t worth the trouble. Soaking if you aren’t able to digest grains well is necessary for some people, though. ). We have an 80/20 (sometimes 90/10) way of eating, now. That means that that 80% to 90% of our food is “real” and 10% to 20% isn’t. Much as we love real food, we allow for grace in times of stress or for celebrations.
As far as what I make from scratch, everything I make is from scratch. I don’t buy any ingredients that aren’t real food (such as cream of chicken soup or corn syrup), so it just isn’t an issue. I make yogurt, broth/stock, bread, kefir, buttermilk… whatever we need. I don’t buy processed meals, so all our meals are from scratch, unless we eat out or order in (see below).
What is one food you just can’t make yourself? (even if you’ve tried a lot…!)
Chewy brownies. I can make fudgy, I can make cakey, but not chewy. I learned that the vegetable oil is what makes brownies chewy, and vegetable oil is a big no-no. I’ve been experimenting with coconut oil and am getting closer, but it’s still not quite right.
How much of what your family eats is *really* homemade? (vs. storebought, restaurants, etc.)
Every few weeks we’ll either eat out or order in, but we try to stick with places that use mostly fresh, real ingredients. I do buy a few convenience foods, like crackers, but I do my best to get the healthiest version possible. About 80% to 90% is *really* homemade.
What is one junk food or processed food your family still eats?
We still eat store-bought crackers regularly, though I’m planning to start making our own, soon. On special occasions, we’ll do something like s’mores.
What is the worst thing your family’s eaten in the last few months? Why?
The other day we ordered some pizza and had soda. I drink soda about twice a year and our kids never have it, so that’s a pretty big deal. There is absolutely no redeeming value in soda and there are a lot of bad things (HFCS, artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors), so we avoid it. By the way, I used to drink Diet Coke at least once a day and now I can’t even bring myself to have a sip of it! Once you’ve avoided soda for a few months, most of it won’t even taste good anymore. Bleck!
What’s one area where you won’t compromise, no matter why? Why?
Hydrogenated oils. They cause so much damage to a person’s body. Years before I learned about real food, my hubby was drinking coffee with powdered “creamer” every day. He actually started having chest pain at the age of 22. When he quit using the “creamer” (it’s almost completely hydrogenated oil), the chest pain quit immediately and never came back.
What’s your best tip for eating real food in the real world?
Make big batches! I often double recipes and freeze a meal. When I make broth, I make a ton of it. When I bake bread, I bake at least three loaves and freeze one or two of them for later in the week. When I make yogurt, I make a ton. It really doesn’t take much effort to double or triple a recipe, but it takes double the work to make the same recipe twice in a week.
Also, don’t burn yourself out. Unless there a legitimate allergy or sensitivity, be willing to give yourself some grace when you need it. The stress of refusing to be flexible will cause you as much, or more, health problems as having the occasional compromise meal.
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