A couple weeks ago I was very fortunate to find out about Real Food Face-Off @ Kitchen Stewardship. I loved what Katie has going there that I couldn't help but ask if I could "join in". Thankfully, my query didn't go unnoticed... I received an email from her the next day and was thrilled that she wanted me to join in. Thank you, Katie, for this honor!
Below, you will see a total of 20 questions but only 13 were chosen for the Face-Off... read here! Katie suggested that I posted all 20 questions along with my answers because I had some good things to say. Below you will find these questions thought-provoking and the answers I gave were summarized against the answers of my "challenger" Hallee @ Hallee the Homemaker.
After you've read through the questions and my answers... I have a challenge for you! Read on and find out what the challenge is :o)
1. How do you describe the way you eat when someone asks you to define your food?
For fun, I asked my hubby this question and his answer was short .; simple… healthy, delicious and experimental. HA!
Anyway, I usually tell people that we try to avoid processed foods and eat real food given to us from its natural source. We avoid pork and seafood. We prefer grass-fed meat from local sources and clean fruits & veggies. We don’t drink pasteurized milk (lactose-intolerant) and stay far away from soy products as much as possible. Finally, we also don’t eat refined sugar and prefer using raw honey, coconut sugar or rapadura as our sweeteners.
2. What was/is your major incentive for living a real food lifestyle?
When I first became pregnant I really started to care about what I ate and what it can do to my growing baby. After reading The Maker’s Diet, it made total sense to me to eat only what God created and follow the biblical dietary guidelines as much as possible. You can read more here.
3. If you only had energy for ONE make-from-scratch food, what would it be? Is your preference for taste or health?
A gallon of lacto-fermented Cortido: Homemade Latin American Sauerkraut. Chopping up all those veggies, letting it ferment and taking in the first bite is all worth it! Your gut will holler with delight when all those live enzymes, probiotics and vitamins do their healing work.
Both… sometimes we might not like something right away or find it bland, but we have to allow our taste buds and brain time to adjust to eating different things that are excellent for your health but not common in the American diet. Basically, we have to retrain our taste buds to enjoy real food that we should’ve been brought up on.
4. What food was your favorite that you no longer eat (or shouldn’t eat)?
I had so many! Twix candy bars, frozen pizza, TGI Friday’s Brownie Obsession… Thankfully I don’t miss them. All I remember now of those days was how yucky I would feel after eating that stuff and learned to ignore it. Not anymore!
5. What’s your favorite real/traditional food?
My fermented Cortido: Latin America Sauerkraut topped over raw cheese quesadillas with sliced avocados and a squeeze of lime juice.
My kefir smoothie made with strawberries & mango. It’s like having ice cream but only better!
6. What was the hardest transition to make to real food?
Learning how to live without convenience foods like frozen pizza, chips, ice cream, cereal and crackers.
7. What’s something you remain afraid to try?
Sourdough! I’ve got the lacto-fermenting, soaking & sprouting down from the very beginning, but failed on my first try of making sourdough. I’ve made whole wheat yeasted breads with success, but sourdough is so different!
UPDATE: I've now conquered my fear of sourdough! I made some no-knead sourdough that came out wonderful! I will share with you about my sourdough success, plus I have several questions for all you sourdough experts out there :o)
8. What’s next on your list of changes to make?
Grow a garden when we move to our new place. I also want to learn how to make the traditional corn tortillas… the lime soaking process is still being used today in Honduras (where we are moving)! Also, I would love to enjoy more organs and do a challenge on how to eat an entire cow someday :o)
9. List your top 3 baby steps to move from a Standard American Diet to Real Food.
- Slowly remove everything from your kitchen containing HFCS, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings, refined sugar, white flour and any ingredient that you can’t read or will never find yourself using in your kitchen and slowly replace them with real foods like coconut oil, butter, whole wheat, raw honey, eggs, bone broths and clean fruits & veggies. Learn to read labels.
- Cook more at home and eat out less. More frugal, healthier and easier on the budget.
- READ, READ and READ some more. Do your research when you can and seek out like-minded people to help you along the way.
10. What is the worst food (or “food”) a person could possibly put into their systems?
The combination of soda & candy. Those two things are the most consumed “foods” in the market and responsible for almost every disease we see today. They are also two of the few common processed foods that contain 100% man-made ingredients.
11. If you had only $20 to spend in a week on real food, what would you buy and what would you make?
Raw milk & cheese, eggs, brown rice and beans. I’ve been learning how simple most people’s diets are here in Central America and yet have beautiful teeth & wonderful health.
12. What does “eating healthy” mean to you?
Eating and enjoying food the way God created us to do. God is perfect and knows exactly what our bodies need to thrive! He created every fruit, veggie, animal and plant that was made specifically for us to eat for good health. He also created everything that can help the body to fight disease… how much better can it get?!
Eating healthy means that I am a rebel because I love to eat all the “bad stuff” (according to the FDA & doctors)… Butter, coconut oil, eggs (raw & cooked), raw cheese, kefir, lacto-fermented veggies, raw milk, soaked grains, grass-fed meat and coconuts.
My motto is… If God didn’t create it, don’t eat it!
13. Name the top food scoring highest on both the nutritional and budget scale? (i.e., best health benefits for the lowest cost)
Well, I was going to say eggs… but after living in a tropical country for almost 2 years now, I have to say coconuts. The water provides a rich source of minerals, vitamins & electrolytes. The meat is low carb with a rich source of saturated fats along with anti-viral, anti-fungal & anti-bacterial properties. Coconuts are known to promote energy, strength and health among the people who eat them regularly. Eggs come in at a close second though :o)
NOTE: I also forgot to mentioned that coconuts also have anti-parasitic properties too.
14. Biggest drawback of real food lifestyle?
The oppositions we received from others who are friends and family. We desire to help others when needed, but it isn’t always received. For a while I felt alone because I didn’t have another woman to turn to for support, but that changed and I found an awesome WAPF group that I am still a part of even though I live in Central America.
Another drawback was the feeling of being overwhelmed when I first started out. I had to force myself to be gracious and patience with myself & the process. I am very much a goal achiever and perfectionist in some ways. When I want something to happen… I want it to happen NOW. I also had to learn not to worry when we didn’t always eat “perfect” because the negative emotions are not any better! I will always remember what my midwife told me… pray over the food, ask for the blessing and choose to enjoy!
15. What’s the most creative thing you do to make life easier in the kitchen?
When I make my lacto-fermented Cortido … I don’t pound the cabbage mixture like it says to in the Nourishing Traditions book. I simply mix in the sea salt and whey then let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. The sea salt naturally draws out all the juices and saves you all that pounding time that can put a knot in your neck! Simply scoop everything into a jar and pound down firmly (with your hand or wood masher) till the juices covers the mixture.
16. How important is organic food?
Well, for my situation… organic is important because chemicals and pesticides are not regulated here in Central America. We aren’t always able to find everything organic, but we have developed relationships with farmers who use no pesticides and do their best to care for their lands naturally.
What I hear most people complain is how expensive organic food is, but they are talking about organic processed food… which can be expensive! Put your money towards grass-fed meats, raw milk, eggs, and veggies from a local source that raises them naturally & chemical-free. Make your own crackers, bread, ice cream and kombucha. Buy coconut oil, grains and nuts in bulk to split with someone. You can also follow the Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen when needed, but we prefer to stop by a farmer’s market wherever we are at when visiting America.
17. What do you refuse to buy at a grocery store that you do eat from its source?
We like to buy our foods directly from small farmers… mainly meat, eggs, raw milk & cheese, veggies and fruit. The only things we get from the store are nuts, butter and oatmeal. Living in Central America has forced me to be grateful for what I can find even if it is not organic.
18. When eating out, how do make your menu decision (fav “out” food, anything you avoid)?
I have to agree with Lindsay from Passionate Homemaking on this one. We don't fret about the food too much, but we do make an effort to look for local restaurants using the freshest ingredients possible and simply enjoy ourselves. We make it a point to not eat fried foods unless we know it is being fried with healthy fats. I believe that if we are eating healthy at home we will be okay once or twice a month, but use wisdom!
19. Best book recommendations?
- Politically Incorrect Nutrition by Michael Barbee
- The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
- Food Inc.
UPDATE: I also highly recommend The Coconut Oil Miracle By Bruce Fife
20. Number one tip you tell your blog readers about eating healthy foods:
Try one new thing at a time, make one change at a time and don’t be afraid of the process.
For those wondering what they should get right away while changing over to real food… find a good source of fresh, raw milk. It doesn’t have to be labeled “organic” and remember to know your source. You can go to WAPF’s raw milk page and locate a source near you. For those who might have to travel a distance (so worth it!) to get their raw milk, goat’s milk freezes wonderfully and you can buy a month’s worth to save traveling time.
My Challenge for YOU!
Inspired by Hallee... I decided to challenge you to FACE-OFF with me! Pick one or all 20 of the Real Food Face-Off questions above and YOU answer them in the comments area. Share with me what is most important to you, what you want to change, what you are doing now and how you could improve. Share with us some of your creativity! Let's all learn from each other as we FACE-OFF.