Last summer before our beach vacation, my husband went to the library to pick up some beach reading. Somehow he came home with Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. Caught up in my packing duties, I never made it to the library for my own beach reading, so one day while we were sitting on the beach, I picked up his book and began to read. The rest, as they say, is history.
That’s the short story of my food conversion. But I’ve never been one for short stories, so if you care to hang around, here is the unabridged version:
It didn’t take much to convince me that industrially processed foods are not nourishing, and the diseases of modern civilization have a lot to do with the modern diet. I’ve always been distrustful of fake anything, so we’ve always used real butter, real cream, and real sugar, thankyouverymuch. The major exception to the rule was 2% milk. In recent years I had also been reducing our intake of trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, so we were already a little bit ahead of the game. But when we came home from the beach, I began ridding our house of most snack foods, vegetable oils, and other industrially processed food stuffs.
As I researched the topic, I discovered several blogs dedicated to the real food movement, and I realized that I had much to learn if I truly wanted to get back to a more traditional diet. We immediately embraced whole milk and started searching out local farms where we could purchase fresh, pastured eggs and chicken. I wrote about that in The Low-Fat Fad is Killing Us.
The next book I read was Real Food by Nina Planck. That’s where I discovered the saturated fat myth and the benefits of raw milk. Despite my concern with its safety, I finally got up the nerve to try raw milk. My family loved it, and I discovered that even I could drink it despite my lactose intolerance. We were hooked. You can read more about that in my post The Raw Milk Question.
Last fall, we found a source for grass-fed beef and bought an extra freezer and half a cow from a local farm, and we have been feasting on that meat ever since. After all, It’s So Much More than Eating Organic
Another big step was learning to make bread. I had already been paying Pepperidge Farms’ prices to get whole wheat bread without high fructose corn syrup, but there are so many other additives and preservatives in store bought bread, and my kids eat sandwiches every day, that I knew making our own bread was a must. Plus, my mom was a whole foods freak when I was little, and I already had an appreciation for homemade bread. I was eager to introduce my family to its goodness. After experimenting with a few recipes, I finally settled on this Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. In recent weeks, I have begun soaking the whole wheat flour over night so it is better digested.
I strive to make as much as I can from scratch, while maintaining a reasonable balance. We do purchase some convenience snackfoods from Trader Joes (no GMOs or artificial ingredients), and I still buy pasta and tortillas.
I have a ways to go in my whole foods journey. I would like to do more soaking of grains, nuts and seeds. This spring I hope to grow some of my own vegetables and herbs. I still want to learn to make raw milk kefir and start incorporating some lacto fermented veggies into our diet. I’m not there yet, and that’s okay.
Despite all this, it’s important to me to keep food in its proper perspective, which is why I wrote the post titled Real Food is not my religion.
I’ve been working on making my posts on whole foods more organized and accessible so that they may be a resource to those who are just starting down this path. Please visit my constantly evolving Resources Page for posts, recipes, books, blogs, and products that can help you as you navigate the winding road of the whole foods journey.
If you are reading this and thinking that you are interested but overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, I urge you to dive in, research, ask questions, and then start small. Take one step at a time, and don’t pressure yourself to do everything all at once. And feel free to email me and ask me anything. I’m happy to help!