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Real Food Bloggers Q & A


I love my Real Foodie blogging friends, almost everyone I asked responded to my request: I asked them to answer 4 questions that I thought would interest all of you…

If you didn’t get an email request, I promise it wasn’t on purpose, but I sent it out late late one night and my mind was mush. Any bloggers I missed or readers, if you’d like to add your own responses, I hope you’ll do so in the comments!

Here’s what I asked for it in one sentence:

1. What was your biggest struggle early on in your Real Food journey?
2. What is your biggest struggle these days?
3. When you are at the store and see what others are grabbing off the shelves, which items MOST make you want to shout out warnings to them about the crap they’re buying?
4. What is your hands-down, all-out, total favorite Real Food?

I’ll share my own answers at the bottom, including our son Kal’s answer for what is his favorite Real Food.

These are listed in the order received…

1. To actually find real food to eat, in the desert of the supermarket, before I found the internet, local ranchers, and farmer’s markets.

2. To convince the people in my life and others that eating real food only is the solution to almost everything, when they believe the garbage taught by the government, the medical profession, the media, and marketing.

3. Soy milk, canola oil, margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, butter adulterated with vegerable oil, anything with aspartame or any other artificial sweetener.

4. A three inch thick, bone in, fat on, grassfed Bison ribsteak, with two bones, marinated, basted with hot Bison fat, cooked very rare in front of a hardwood charcoal fire, comes out tender enough to cut with a spoon.

1. My biggest struggle was simply siphoning through the information and finding good sources for real food.

2. These days, my struggle is more with snacking than with meals; it’s tempting to snack on “organic junk”.

3. Oh gosh, I guess it’s the sheer amount of processed foods I see on the conveyor belt — cereals make me cringe, and boxed meals.

4. Hmmm, all out favorite real food… I’ll go with raw milk. :-)

1. Sugar and sweet drinks and dessert was never my thing, so I’d have to say burgers, pizza and bread.

2. I can’t say that I have one that stands out to me. Rather than agonize over not eating bread I just go ahead and have a cheat meal every now and then so it’s not a daily struggle.

3. Heavily processed packaged stuff like “Hot Pockets,” and sugar drinks and fruit juices. I suspect the average shopping cart has over 30% of its calories in beverages.

4. A nice grilled steak with a carefully prepared red-wine and bone stock reduction. Vegetables optional.

1. Not eating fast food while out and about.

2. Completely changing over the way I bake, including not using refined sugar.

3. Anything pre-processed, especially deli and bakery items that “feel” like homemade but are SO full of just yuck.

4. My whole wheat honey oatmeal bread.

1. I was afraid of Real Milk and fermented veggies making me sick.

2. Not falling back into old habits.

3. Stuff in a box such as mac and cheese, or Soda Pop, white bread, and iceberg lettuce.

4. Crispy nuts, butter, real milk.

1. I struggled with trying to be perfect and do everything, when what I really needed was balance and some good old-fashioned perspective.

2. I honestly feel sometimes like I know too much about health and nutrition, and I have to work to make peace with food rather than worry about all the wrong decisions I could be making according to this expert or that expert.

3. Soy milk and “heart-healthy” margarine!

4. This one’s easy: raw milk!

  • Ann Marie from Cheeseslave:

1. Grains — all the soaking and sprouting seemed overwhelming so I just avoided them.

2. Working with whole grain sprouted flour — getting it to rise and behave properly

3. Soy milk and 1% skim milk, especially when they have kids in the cart.

4. Butter.

1. Justifying in my mind whether paying nearly double the price for the food was really worth it.

2. Feeling caught between the real food purist mentality and the occasional non-real-food treat.

3. Sugary and even diet sodas, breakfast cereals and oatmeal that make insane health claims, pasteurized and homogenized skim milk and orange juice, and ANYTHING in a box!

4. No contest: Grass-fed beef steak (pick your cut) cooked in coconut oil with sea salt and crushed pepper. YUMMY!

1. After having transitioned from a whole foods veg*n lifestyle, learning to embrace meats proved to be my biggest, but most important, struggle.

2. We’ve been traveling a lot recently, and the biggest struggle I face is accessing or preparing real food on the road – finding good sources, avoiding sneaky refined foods in restaurants; it’s tough, and you have to ask a lot of questions.

3. I mostly shop at locally owned health food stores and farm-direct, and I cringe every single time I see someone pull a carton of soy-milk, -cream, -cheese, -flour while waxing poetic about the (supposed) benefits of soy.

4. Hands-down it’s my sage and chicken liver pate. I’ve even served it at children’s parties and community harvest suppers, and everyone loves it.

1. Learning all the new cooking techniques and recipes, I was quite intimidated!

2. Dirty pots & pans tend to pile up, and there are always umpteen bottles to wash!

3. Soy products, processed milk, boxed cereals.

4. Clabbered milk, I use it for soaking grains and then make pancakes, waffles or other such baking projects.

1. Overcoming extremism.

2. My greatest struggle these days is the struggle to not struggle. Most people these days think that health improvements come from struggle, but with health it’s usually the opposite – the less you try the better you feel, and more importantly the better your life as a whole.

3. Vegetable oil hands down. Switching from margarine and vegetable oil to coconut oil and butter is not only the most significant but by far the least painful of all dietary changes one can make.

4. Foie gras. But I’ve never met a shellfish or bowl of real, southern,homemade creamed corn I didn’t like.

1. Trying to decide exactly which change to implement first

2. I hate to admit it but I’ve been indulging in some things which my body doesn’t need right now, extra grains and sugars.

3. I’ve been reading The Whole Soy Story by Dr. Kaayla Daniel, so anyone grabbing soy milk, soy-based fake meats, etc., because it’s NOT a health food!

4. A nice, rare, grass-fed, locally produced sirloin!

1. Getting used to the sad fact that you can’t find real food many places – but that’s still a frustration for me.

2. Milking our family Jersey cow – she’s a first-timer to milking, and I’m a first-timer to milking cows (prior to this we’ve only had milk goats) so we’re still getting to know each other and learning the ropes. (However, I can’t forget that most blessings in life are worth a little extra effort, and bringing in a few gallons of raw Jersey milk each morning is an incredible blessing!)

3. Everything, of course, but what bugs me the most is margarine and also those processed food desserts like Twinkies and Little Debbies.

4. Kefir: with up to 50 strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast, saturated fat from whole milk, essential fat soluble vitamins, and other vitamins, enzymes and minerals, it is a power food that supports gut health, digestion, and immunity.

1. Finding the time to read and learn about REAL nutrition at the same time applying this knowledge in the kitchen with 2 toddlers and a newborn.

2. The constant exposure my kids have to junk foods in school, friend’s houses, and family events and lack of local grass-fed meats and pastured poultry available due to kosher restrictions.

3. Sodas, margarine, and artificially colored/flavored foods being bought for young children.

4. So hard to pick just one … how about one category – real fats!! (Especially butter and coconut oil).

1. Two hardest parts: figuring out what information actually made sense, and finding the time for new routines.

2. Is it bad if it’s still just about the same? There’s always more to learn and conflicting information to find, and I’m really tempted lately to compromise because I’m weary of all the time I spend in the kitchen.

3. Ooo, tough one. I think I want to scream the loudest when people are really trying to be healthy but missing the mark so badly, like a cartload of diet soda and “low fat” and fake food dieting crud, or organic everything including puffed rice cakes and UHT skim milk.

4. Homemade yogurt, with frozen fruit we picked ourselves and raw honey. I lick the bowl. 😉

1. Finding good real food sources and knowing what to ask stores, restaurants and farmers.

2. As a Celiac it’s hard to find restaurants who can truly accommodate gluten-free and provide real nourishing food.

3. Kid’s cereals!

4. My favorite these days is real, raw cream.

1. Finding the darn food — where was I supposed to get raw milk, pastured eggs and meats, reasonably priced organic produce?!

2. Restaurant food — I grew up eating out a lot and I still miss the experience (though I don’t do it TOO often, just more than I should).

3. Honestly when they have a cart full of crap — but probably the packaged low-fat products make me scream the most. They think they’re being healthy!!

4. I love so many…but I’ll go with cheese, I just love it in so many ways!

1. Cutting back so drastically on processed packaged foods without always having a plan of what to make or feed everyone.

2. Finding bacon that is pastured and affordable and tastes good, so I end up buying store bought bacon.

3. Low fat milk, soy milk, soy anything, fat free anything, and juice boxes (I shop at places that don’t have horrific garbage food).

4. Hmm, hands down my favorite real food currently would be pastured eggs, otherwise I’d say raw cream.

1. Learning to make soaked or sourdough baked goods that weren’t a complete flop.

2. Finding creative new ways to keep my family’s taste buds happy while on a restrictive diet that we’re doing to improve our gut health (the GAPS diet).

3. Probably margarine. I honestly almost shudder when I see it and want to just snatch it off the conveyor belt, and until you asked me this question, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t the only crazy real foodie who had these strange urges!.

4. Homemade ice cream made with raw milk, raw egg yolks, seasonal berries and maple syrup. Yum, yum, yum.

1. I grew up in Colombia, eating real food, so I didn’t really struggle when I got back to it. I just thought it made sense. At the time I was so sick with a — supposed —chronic sinus infection that turned out to be gluten intolerance, that I would have done anything to take the pain away. I went gluten free cold turkey and I have never looked back.

2. Even though I eat MUCH less sugar than I did at some point, I still have more than I’d like to. I’ve come to realize that sugar affects me greatly, and I know a very low-carb diet is best for my body, but I like chocolate too much!

3. Hydrogenated oil spreads and boxed fruit juice.

4. Freshly whipped, raw, very yellow heavy cream. 😉

1. I struggled for well over 10 years to conquer my sugar addiction but never finally succeeded until I drastically changed my diet and began eating a very high saturated fat diet which includes lots of butter, cream, whole milk, whole yogurt, and cheese.

2. My biggest struggle currently is keeping my constantly used kitchen cleaned up enough so that it doesn’t always look like a bomb went off in there.

3. I have no urge to talk to people buying garbage in regular supermarkets as these folks are completely asleep at the wheel anyway, but the folks in the healthfood store that are buying the canned organic soups loaded with MSG and the cartons of soymilk need to have a serious talking to because they are sincerely trying to change but are striking out big time.

4. I could live on a desert island and be completely happy with just Raw Cream!

  • My own answers:

    1. Finding better foods to feed the kids for snacks and lunch boxes that they’d actually eat.

    2. Finding enough time in the kitchen to experiment with new recipes.

    3. Ultra-pasteurized organic skim milk, any of the fake fats like margarine or “I can’t believe it’s not butter”, tortillas (because the ingredient label is so bad on all of them), Velveeta, breakfast cereal, soda pop, geesh… guess I should stop looking eh? (My cart isn’t perfect either.)

    4. Butter! Also I love a good grass-fed roast cooked all day in the crock pot in its own broth, with some garlic and a little red wine. Lots more: An omelet packed with goodies, homemade ice cream, homemade popcorn with coconut oil, homemade onion rings. I just asked Kal what his favorite Real Food is, and he said it’s this recipe: Yakisoba.



    1. What a great idea for a post! I don’t feel like such a newbie now. I agree with Ann Marie – the whole grains thing makes me want to run and hide. The rest of what you taught us is becoming more natural each week. Thank you again!

    2. Thank you for this inspiring post, Kelly! It was so encouraging to see how others have shared similar experiences on their real food journey!
      1. Personally, I can relate to Elizabeth in respect to my biggest struggle early on – trying to do everything perfectly and not keeping balance in my life.
      2. My biggest struggle these days is still keeping the balance and also not allowing my passion for real food to become an idol – the Lord is what I want to seek with all my heart, mind and soul, and I want to keep my passion for real food in check with first seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!
      3. I also agree with Elizabeth, Ann Marie and Jenny, as well as others who mentioned soy products as the biggest thing that I want to shout out warnings against!
      4. Like Wardeh, my favorite real food is KEFIR! I absolutely adore it! :)
      Thanks again, Kelly, this was such a treat! Blessings to you, Kelly

    3. Good morning! Wanted to let you know that I just added a late-comer to the party in case you already read the post: Sarah’s is at the bottom just before mine. :)

    4. Wow. I matched with Lisa at Real Food Design 100%. Just checked out and subscribed to her blog. Thanks for the connection.

    5. Thanks for the fun post! I thought I was the only one that stared at other people’s carts and screamed inside my head….esp at the co-op, I want to cry when I see moms with young kids buying the frozen packed soy crap. so sad….

    6. 1. My mother. Even though I grew up with home-cooked, healthy meals, she stopped cooking much for herself after her divorce, so I would get to her house on the weekends (I would visit every weekend), and she’d have nothing that I even considered food. And she didn’t listen when I requested something simple, like meat and vegetables; all she heard was what I wouldn’t eat.

      2. Sugar is still a struggle for me. While I eat far less sugar than most people, it’s still too easy to start eating a little more (usually at a certain time of the month) and it grows from there. At least most of what I eat now is unrefined, and I’ve also started making myself eat a savory breakfast, since it helps with sugar cravings all day.

      3. I am outspoken about soy, in my everyday life. I had a personal experience with too much soy, long before I ever found Nourishing Traditions, and the symptoms were almost identical to when I was on too high a dose of birth control. Soy is nasty stuff.

      4. Butter. Specifically, butter from Trickling Springs Creamery, which is local to me, and is very responsive to Twitter and email. They even salt their butter with Celtic sea salt.

    7. 1. My biggest struggle was transitioning from being vegetarian back to meat eating when I really did not have any desire to eat meat. Also finding a source of meat that was going to be worth abandoning vegetarianism. Luckily I found a local farmer where I now get all of my meats and eggs :)

      2. My biggest struggle now is keeping the boys from bringing junk food into the house.

      3. Packaged low calorie, low-fat anything!

      4. Right now my fav real food is local farm fresh sausage. I like to make meatballs with it :)

      • Ami, I’m glad to see someone else has this problem (your #1). Taking up meat-eating post-vegan when I still have very strong feelings about animal abuse was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I still struggle with it every day, even though I’m blessed to have good local farmers who definitely treat their animals kindly. I still sometimes think, oh if only I could justify being a vegetarian… but then I think about where I’d get my protein (monocropped grains and legumes?), which is so important for my blood sugar, and I can’t consider it. :)

    8. I noticed that MANY of us really liked some form of dairy as our favorite — butter, cream, cheese, kefir, or regular old raw milk. Interesting, hmm? :)

      Good to know we have the same struggles, and many of us want to help people with their “healthy” shopping carts! lol.

    9. Great post! I love reading the answers to these questions. A lot of these are from people I greatly admire and have been inspirational to my own blog, but there were some new names on here that I am really excited to check out!! Thanks for this!

    10. 1. My biggest struggle was where to find real food!

      2. My biggest struggle these days is still trying to find good sources of real food, lol! Also, I find it so hard to convince people what a healthy traditional diet truly is.

      3. Like Ann Marie, I am also heartbroken by the fact that many mothers tend to buy low fat milk for their children. I’m also disgusted by the many boxed food items and other junk like vegetable oils that people tend to buy just because they think they’re healthy.

      4. I have too many favorite real foods like raw cheese, eggs, fatty meats, etc.

    11. Thanks so much for doing this and sharing all this wonderful information!

      I struggle so much, mostly with the cost since we are way, way, way below the poverty level and where I live, real food costs more (even though we can’t afford it, I signed up for a CSA share and we save our pennies to afford our side of organic pastured beef). I try to do the best I can but I always feel like that isn’t even good enough. I admit to coming home with foods I know we shouldn’t have then I hate myself for it. There is a lot of emotion tied up in food. I struggle especially with the kids and their pickiness (although they are having a salad loving streak, of course when it’s not in season, lol! I spring for the organic greens though). I struggle with the cleaning, the planning, the research, oh my, there is just so much. I wish some days I could just drop all the studying and reading I do and just do it!

      My favorite real food is a good pastured egg (or three, lol!) fried in a ton of butter. yummmy! I also like making frozen yogurt. The act of just freezing the yogurt in the ice cream maker and adding a little vanilla and a touch of real maple syrup totally changes it.

    12. This is so great, Kelly! If you don’t mind I’d like to share my answers as well.

      1. My biggest struggle was becoming a meat-eater. It was the absolute last thing I did, after finding a raw milk source, keeping layer chickens, culturing everything in sight, eliminating sugar, cutting way back on soy and grains… then I really NEEDED the meat! :)

      2. My biggest struggle is getting enough protein from good sources. I have serious blood sugar imbalance and protein helps me more than anything, but my family is low-income and affording local pastured meat is a struggle. I just learned to slaughter chickens so that’s helping a lot — people are always looking to unload roosters for free! And I eat a lot of eggs, needless to say.

      3. I am most annoyed by anything containing vegetable oil, but more than that I’m upset to see well-intentioned people being sucked in by greenwashing or false humane standards (like “cage-free” eggs).

      4. I really truly love homegrown vegetables more than anything! And I’m very fond of local pastured sausage, too.

      • Oh, I should amend my #4 to say that the most amazing Real Food I’ve ever tasted is the raw blue cheese from Pt. Reyes. The company is local to me and they pasture their Jersey cows. When I die I want a chunk of that cheese on my tongue. :)

    13. Thanks for compiling this list! I loved checking out all the other blogs! Great questions too… really made me think:
      1. Initially, figuring out how to meal plan and actually practically make real food meals was the toughest part. Now I just rotate meals monthly, so that is much easier
      2. The biggest struggle now is keeping enough healthy foods pre-made and available (and keeping the kitchen semi-clean). When 3 hungry kids want snacks after playing outside, it isn’t the time to start cooking! I still have trouble making enough to actually have leftovers the next day because the kids love the real foods (especially proteins!) and don’t leave many leftovers.
      3. I cringe when I see people buying carts full of low-fat and diet products because they are trying so hard to be healthy and have been fed mis-information and don’t even realize it!
      4. Coconut (oil, milk, raw, etc) and eggs because both have so many options and are packed with nutrients. Now if I can only convince my husband to agree to keeping chickens in our backyard!

    14. It was encouraging to read this! I’ve been changing things up for almost a year now. I’m tired of cooking and trying to find the answers and the truth but I can’t go back. I’m loving meeting the people behind the food. The family that is learning how to heal their land and raise the meat that we are eating and the family that is milking our cow. I love grass fed beef and fresh milk!

    15. 1. My biggest struggle was to be calm and not let this overwhelm me or feel guilty for the YEARS I ate and fed my family so badly.
      2. Finding the time to read everything I find on this topic and then try to convert it into my life.
      3. Soda. I also note the health of those who have the most in their carts. Is that bad? It does give me the strength to avoid it for myself.
      4. Since we are still pretty early in our conversion and taking baby steps, I think butter and olive oil. It is still amazing to me how much better everything tastes and cleans up afterwards! I can’t imagine what the “other stuff” was doing to my heart!
      Thanks for all you do. My family is noticing so many good changes in ourselves. We have some really awesome discussions about food. It is very exciting! Grass fed beef is amazing! Yum! Yum!

    16. I am new to the real food conversion. My biggest struggle is finding real food and finding the time to spend in the kitchen. I was the wife and mom buying and cooking “low fat”. Oh much I did not know and how overwhelming all the info can be. Looking forward to a healthy future!

    17. 1. My biggest struggle starting to eat healthy was putting it all together. I read, read and read some more and then started implementing good foods in to my life. The book NOURSIHING TRADITIONS was definitely the breaking point for me and the eye opener.
      2. My biggest struggle is still CARBS!!! I love bread, and like to have something sweet. It’s hard to stay at 1 bite of a cookie, I want the whole thing. I have insulin resistance, which is something I have been looking for information for on all these healthy food sites. If anyone has information I would appreciate it.
      3. The 2 biggest things I want to preach to everyone about are high-fructose corn syrup and MSG. 2 of the biggest “poisons” in the food chain today….. they are in everything, among aspartame, soy, processed anything etc. But those 2 really “get” me, I have a hard time keeping quiet about. People wake up!! Look what you are doing to your body!
      4. My favorite is coconut oil. So versatile and so good for you, goes w/ so many foods; on scrambled eggs, on crackers or bread (those carbs) wonderful ingredient for baking and just eat right out of the jar. YUM.

    18. 1. Cost. My husband and I are low income, and it’s hard to find real food that’s affordable. I get so frustrated looking at inexpensive food with long ingredient lists while the food with short ingredient lists are so much more expensive. We live close to a market that has healthy food for not too much, although we do have to check ingredient labels here too, but it’s not nearly as bad.

      2. My biggest struggle is not buying cereal and pre-packaged snacks. We have kind of a weird schedule, so I can’t make breakfast every morning. However, on days I do have time, I have been making breakfast and freezing leftovers to have throughout the week. Hubby has to have a granola bar or something because he doesn’t get time to eat lunch at school/work (his crazy schedule again). One of these days, I’m going to start making more of our snacks so we can (a) avoid the additives and (b) save more money.

      (3) Basically everything low-fat, sugary, made with soy, boxed, and carbonated. I have to avert my eyes at the conveyer belt. The day I saw a woman buying whole milk for herself, I told her she was awesome. And whenever I visit my parents, I want to scream when I see the aspartame in the pantry. My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and I tried to explain to them that aspartame is terrible to no avail. *sigh*

      (4) Butter, coconut oil, and whole milk. I feel so rebellious having these items, but so much healthier at the same time.

    19. Kelly – I loved that you said your cart wasn’t perfect either. I’m probably still buying some “crap” along with my coconut oil. However I don’t think I’m “asleep at the wheel”, just still learning and getting my family on board.

    20. 1. biggest struggle early?
      While I was learning that so many foods have the wrong things in them, I felt like there was nothing I could eat that qualified as wholesome, real food. My struggle was

    21. My biggest struggles are:
      Keeping up on making real food- It’s so tempting to throw a frozen pizza in the oven in a pinch.
      Battling opinions of extended family on why we are eating this way, when every magazine article contradicts us. I don’t like that I appear “superior” to others. I am so convicted of eating real foods, that I won’t budge on letting my kids eat boxed cereal, and this doesn’t fly well! The thing is, in the short time we have been on this journey, I have lost 5 lbs without trying, and have so much more energy.
      Being labeled and having friends apologize to me for what’s in their cart. I tell them I was in the same boat a couple months ago! It’s hard not to become preachy- people will hear you when they are ready. I’ve had several people in my life eating real food, and had even heard them talking about NT, but until I was ready to learn, I thought they were nuts!
      Thanks, Kelly, for your blog. I am so thankful for all the wonderful recipes, information, stories, interviews, etc. Love this community!!

    22. Awesome post! I must have missed your email. Anyway, here’s my list, better late than never…

      1. What was your biggest struggle early on in your Real Food journey?

      A lot of my social life used to revolve around going out for meals with people. The number of restaurants I feel good about visiting has been curtailed, between the Meat Of Unknown Origin, and the mystery-oil fried food, and the goop of various sorts that Sysco provides to mid-range restaurants.

      2. What is your biggest struggle these days?

      Eating well when travelling. Also eating well at the office, when I don’t take the time and energy to bring real food.

      3. When you are at the store and see what others are grabbing off the shelves, which items MOST make you want to shout out warnings to them about the crap they

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