Everyone has a story. Every story has a beginning. My journey to Real Food began a little less than 5 years ago.
I sat in my living room, glued to the TV. (This, by the way, was highly unusual for me.) I was watching a documentary produced by the widow of Jerry Garcia called The Future of Food. Before watching this film, I had never — not even once — thought about where my food came from or what it was doing on my plate.
My infant son nursed quietly in my lap as I sat in stunned silence after the film ended.
My world had been rocked.
My eyes had been opened.
I saw how American agriculture languished in the stranglehold of giant agribusinesses, how genetically-modified foods had infiltrated my food supply, how I’d been ingesting noxious toxins and feeding them to my baby.
So, I started doing some research. And, I started making some changes. They weren’t radical or hard, just the natural steps a consumer would make as she grew more educated.
The Condensed Journey
Think of it like a meandering road, going ever on and on. Here’s a simple flow chart:
Organic Dairy -> CSA Organic Veggies -> Pastured Dairy & Eggs -> Pastured Meats -> Better Fats -> Soaking Grains & Bone Broths -> Raw Dairy -> Natural Sweeteners -> Sprouting Grains & Grinding Flour -> More Raw & Fermented Foods
That little trail took us 4 years to walk down!
But we are soooo glad that we did. Along the way, I was introduced to the books I now call MUST READS — those books which really helped inform and shape my convictions about what Real Food is and how we should eat it.
How has this changed our lives?
First — the challenges. Eating this way isn’t all that hard, but it does require planning. You have to know that if you’re making raw hummus, you need to sprout your chickpeas. You have to know that if you want an egg salad, you need to have enough of your homemade mayo already on hand. You have to know that if you’re going to use butter or animal fats in your cooking, you’ve got enough made or rendered. And, if you’re going to eat grains, you’ve got to make sure you’ve properly soaked or sprouted them to neutralize the phytic acid and make them digestible. Most importantly, you’ve got to have meals ready-to-go or frozen for those days when you’re just too lazy and would otherwise be tempted to eat out.
Now — the rewards. We feel great. While truly poor physical health never was a problem for us, we used to be plagued by dramatic mood swings and depression. Now, these aren’t really issues anymore. I also had an absolutely fantastic pregnancy compared with my first (which was done on a SAD) — no heartburn, no swelling, no mysterious pains or inflammation, no stretch marks (!), and no vericose veins. And, not one person in the family has been sick enough to warrant a visit to the doctor in at least three years. (I personally haven’t been to the doctor since my first son was born, a little less than 5 years ago!) Want to know who else is absent from our lives? The dentist! Eating this way, we all have great teeth.
Do you ever feel like you obsess too much about food?
No. Believe it or not, this is not an all-consuming passion, and we give ourselves a lot of grace. I know that the meals I prepare will be healthy, nutrient-dense, and wholesome. That gives us a bit of freedom to be more lax the rest of the time. When we eat out, at a friend’s home, or at church, we don’t worry so much about what we eat. I think keeping this healthy balance in perspective prevents nourishing food from becoming an idol.
Want to hear more stories about how eating a diet rich in traditional foods has transformed lives?
This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday Carnival.