100 Days of Real Food. Her food philosophy just makes so much sense to me, especially because it closely resembles the kind of food I was raised on. Real, whole foods. What are they, exactly? Nothing highly processed. Nothing artificial. Whole wheat grains. Baked goods made with natural sources of sugar such as maple syrup or honey. Nothing lowfat (including dairy!). Organic when possible. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Organic meat and chicken. No packaged foods that contain ingredients you don't keep in your own pantry. In short, I believe real food is food the way God intended it to be.
The blog began when Lisa Leake decided to cut out all processed foods for her family. She chronicled their "real food" journey on her blog and went on to provide yummy recipes as well as lots of useful information for those of us trying to eat more real foods.
So I was incredibly excited to receive my very own real foods cookbook! It arrived right before we took two trips up to Rocklin, which meant 8 hours of sitting in the car. I took the opportunity to read through the entire book. The first half reads like an actual book, explaining what exactly "real food" is, and why it is best for our bodies. It also contains meal plans, tips for eating real foods on a budget, and how to introduce real foods to picky eaters. I found it all fascinating and very encouraging. The second half contains 100 wholesome recipes, including breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, desserts, and made from scratch staples, such as whole wheat bread and tortillas. (homemade tortillas are SO good!)
The very first recipe in the book is for Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes. I had made this recipe a while ago when I first read it on the blog, but then forgot about it! So Ryan and I made them again this week. He actually ended up eating an entire pancake for breakfast (so much for him!) and Lucas ate two.
Here are a few things I have noticed since adding more "real foods" into our diet.
-Organic food is more expensive. There is no way around that. But one way to offset the increased cost is to buy less packaged foods. Spending a few more dollars on organic milk and meat may make me cringe at first, but if I forgo the boxed cereal and chips and instead make them at home, the cost evens out.
-Real food tastes better and is more satisfying! Have you ever eaten homemade whole wheat tortillas or bread? They are so so good. Even if you don't have the time or desire to make them at home, you can find some decent options in stores or farmer's markets. For example, I recently bought a loaf of bread at the farmer's market that contains the following 5 ingredients: 100% freshly stone ground whole wheat berries, water, honey, yeast, sea salt. I can promise you this bread is more filling and 100% more delicious than any store-bought bread with 20+ ingredients. (Especially with some real butter on top!)
-Planning ahead and utilizing the freezer for leftovers is key. Making more foods from scratch takes time. So if I'm making a batch of something, I always freeze the extras. Making those whole wheat waffles the other day took about 20-30 minutes total, but we've already eaten two more waffle breakfasts from the leftovers in our freezer.
-Some effort is better than none. Our kitchen will likely never be completely free of processed food. It's just not realistic for our life. But I feel good about the few small changes I have made, such as buying more organic, making more things from scratch, and feeding my boys very little sugar and white carbs.
Here are a few new recipes from the cookbook that I am anxious to try:
Slow-Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas
Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole
Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce
Homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix
Cinnamon Apple Chips
Receiving this cookbook couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me. Because we are moving in two weeks, we have been eating down our freezer and pantry. Once we move and I re-stock all of our food, I want to make an effort to replace our food supply with healthier more "real" options. It's an opportunity for us to start fresh. If the processed junk isn't in our house, then the boys can't eat it. Wish me luck!
And definitely check out the 100 Days of Real Food website for lots of information about eating real, whole foods.