Conquering Real Food Frustrations- How We Started and Why We Continue

It is the first week of the Conquering Real Food Frustrations, today I want to share with you a bit of how we got to where we are, and also WHY we eat the way we do. 

Mark and I have always eaten a little differently. We both grew up on whole grains and vegetables at (almost) every meal. We decided from the beginning we would eat real butter, whole foods, and I almost exclusively used honey as a sweetener. 

Slowly I became more curious about the foods I was buying and read labels. The long list of forms of corn and soy left me less then satisfied. Was I really spending money for honey mustard with no honey in it and mustard not coming in until the 10th ingredient? I mixed some honey with real mustard, and had a far better quality product in a few seconds.

I began reading Hillbilly Housewife and realized I could make pretty much anything I saw at the store at home. I watched ten seasons of Good Eats and was enthralled with the science behind cooking. We started eating far more fresh fruits and vegetables. We saw Food Inc. and started buying higher quality meats. I found a source of raw dairy, and loved how much flavor orange spring butter had.   

Honestly, our journey to real food was not very straight. There was a two year period where our diet centered around Raw Vegan, and did little favors for our health even if I was celebrity thin and almost enjoyed eating the “perfect” (*cough* orthorexic) diet.

If you had told me then I would be eating meats more then a few times a month as well as quality fats and unrefined salt without guilt I probably would have laughed at you! But even when we were eating huge salads dressed with vinegar ending with a baked potato, there was a nagging feeling. Why was it so much healthier to cut out food groups? A few years of research later and I decided it was not. Which was a relief because, I like flavorful foods and a good variety. As is becoming more evident, my body does too. 

I hesitate to call us “Real Foodies” we order in pizza and go out for Chinese-  but we have fallen in love with local produce, buying from farmers, pastured meats, raw milk with gorgeous cream lines, and eggs with thick shells and deep orange yolks. No really, I love orange yolks.  I do a happy dance when it is really deep in color. 
Our diet is far from perfect, but we do try in general to eat quality whole foods.

That is the orange butter I was talking about near the center.

But WHY?

Honestly, I have been asking myself the same thing lately.

“Real” food is just not as easy of a purchase here in small town Rolla.

Morning sickness has made soups look like barf, the texture of oatmeal and scrambled eggs unbearable  and messing with meats and poultry out of the question. Even rinsing dishes has been a major challenge.

Then for the first time, we’ve HAD to cook from scratch. It was not just a choice we happily made with occasional exceptions. Natalia, and I while nursing her, could not have corn. We budged for a weekend of travel and Natalia had a blistering diaper rash for almost a month.


So, we have not been eating well, with the exception of Natalia. Many evenings I cooked a meal, threw it up then sent Mark out for something, anything, I could eat. Other nights I did not have the energy to cook and the thought of smelling food in the crock pot all day churned my stomach. I soon learned I do feel better eating homemade foods, and so tried harder but it has still not been completely plausible.

Recently we had Christmases and traveled. Mark had a headache by day two of traveling, which has become a rare occurrence since switching to Real Food. By the end of the traveling the salad with a variety of greens and other fresh vegetables we had at one restaurant was the best thing I had ever eaten, the steak sandwich being the second best. I was craving real meats, produce, and starches other then pretzels like crazy. Mark was feeling poorly, and we were ready to get home and get cooking.

There are two of the major reasons we eat real food- we feel better (which is not evident until we are eating poorly) and we CRAVE it.

Then there is also the fact that I love passion. I am passionate and I love to see it in other people. We saw a documentary with a GM corn farmer, he wearily told how he felt he was raising garbage. He said with rare exceptions he would not even use it himself. He had no passion for or pride in his crop. Then a few days later at the farmer’s market every where I turned I saw passion and pride. Farmer’s who readily talked of their work, and raising practices, with pride. Truthfully, that is the food I want to buy. That is the industry I want to support.

I like good food and after years of being very restrictive in what I ate, it was nice to care more about the quality then what it was. Instead of not eating meat, we got good meat. Instead of worrying about salt intake, we used an unrefined salt which is far easier digested. Instead of shunning fats, we ate natural fats like EV olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and the occasional lard and tallow. Instead of only eating raw fruits and vegetables, we did a variety. Instead of never having sugar, we got some higher quality less refined sources of it.

I won’t say actually eating a balanced diet instead of picking and choosing food groups has been completely easy. For the first time I have these things called curves, and while my husband loves them I find them hard to accept. I want to cry every time I see a model, or an old photo of me. But I decided after Natalia was born I would choose healthy eating over being a stick. I would not shun food groups, or restrict, but try to eat a balanced whole foods diet. Whole foods in more ways then whole grains, foods without fat removed, ect. For the first time I had (pre-pregnancy) easily maintained a healthy weight for over a year instead of gaining and losing in an unhealthy pattern. 

It took 3.5 years for us to get to the point of eating “Real” food, and the year since then we have been learning how to make it work. In different budgets, in different seasons, and we are still trying to learn how to balance not eating junk and worrying far too much about food.

I do not have all the answers, far from it, but I hope over the next few weeks I can shed some light on how we do it. We will be talking about budgeting, feeding your family, and real food in a REAL world. Then to top it all off, there will be some great giveaways.

I am not the only one who wrote about my real food journey today, be sure to check out the other posts:

Sara from Your Thriving Family- Staring at stark white flour while making cookies with her daughter sparked Sara, at Your Thriving Family, started Striving for Real Food. A journey that started while pregnant with their youngest of three, she has done a lot of things differently with this little guy than the older two.

Justyn from Creative Christian Mama- After over two years of infertility, Justyn (at Creative Christian Mama) found out she was pregnant after taking a break from processed foods and eating only “real” foods for a couple of weeks. Check out the rest of her story here and learn what happened the next time she went on a real foods diet.

Danielle from More Than Four Walls- The totally dependent child Danielle was carrying spawned a revelation that changed the way she saw food. Read more about her story at More Than Four Walls.


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