You can’t help but think someone is sorta weird and maybe a little overly anal about their food choices when you don’t really know much about it. You almost look at them like they have three heads or something. Sadly, it’s quite easy to judge someone when you have a closed mind.
How My Real Food Journey Began
I always thought I ate healthy; I ate my salads, I ate my lean meat, I bought low-fat dairy products, I ate cereal for breakfast and I used as little butter and oil as possible. When I became pregnant with Andrew, no further thought went into my dietary habits. I felt I ate well enough and never considered that my diet played a significant role in the development of my child.
Throughout my pregnancy I did my due diligence and took a prenatal vitamin like my OBGYN recommended but that was about it as far as nutrition went. As the months went by, I slowly strayed from my healthy salads (I didn’t like lettuce anymore) and sort of just ate whatever I craved. Of course, I craved things like sweets, breads, and other foods that were completely devoid of nutrients but I thought nothing of it.
Fast Forward to When Andrew was 4 Months Old.
We took Andrew to our pediatrician at the time and she had mentioned we could start feeding Andrew solids. She handed us a pamphlet of food guidelines and the best foods to start baby on. The first thing on the list was baby cereal. As new parents and parents who didn’t know better, we never second guessed her. After all, she’s a doctor and she knows what type of foods are beneficial to baby. Plus, everyone was raised on baby cereal and they turned out okay, right?
We began feeding rice cereal to Andrew and later the pre-made baby food purees. I stopped breastfeeding around 5 months and switched over to the “best” formula, Enfamil. Things were rocking along nicely until one day I received an email from a friend on October 30, 2011 that would forever change my world.
The title read, Why Ditch the Infant Cereals? When I finished reading the article I was shocked. I was mortified, a wave of guilt overcame me. I couldn’t believe I was feeding my baby something that was potentially so harmful to their development! I immediately replied back to the email and asked if she fed her child rice cereal and what she thought about the suggestion of raw egg yolk being fed to baby — I was a little leery on feeding my 6 month old raw egg yolks.
From there, the research and obsession began. I spent hours researching, emailing her questions about every little thing that I came across and felt completely and utterly overwhelmed. As I am writing this post, I am looking back to all the emails I sent her. I must have sent her an email every 2 or 3 days for almost 2 months!
I wrote to her, “phew.. It is all very overwhelming to read and try to figure out what is good, what is bad, what isn’t going to break the bank, does it take a long time to prepare and how some things are bad but can be okay in moderation!” I really felt more lost than when I started and felt stressed about where I could start.
The first thing I did was find a source for pastured eggs. I started out by buying cage-free eggs from the health food store until I could find a source I was happier with. I stumbled upon the eggs when I visited a little farm stand store and asked if they knew anyone with raw milk and free-range eggs. It’s funny how things start to fall into place when you are so desperately searching for answers.
On November 22, 2011, I had bought my first two dozen free-range eggs and I was so proud! I could tell the difference between the yolk and I was astonished. By December 2, 2011 I gave Andrew his first soft-boiled egg yolk and was ready to start making homemade formula for him. I wanted to ditch the commercial formula so bad because of the terrible things I read about it but I still needed a source for raw milk. A couple weeks later, I had found a source and placed an order for raw milk, raw cream and raw butter. I began searching for pastured chicken so I could mash Andrew’s food with homemade broth and raw butter. I also started taking fermented cod liver oil for my own health.
On January 25, we moved our family to California and I was completely immersed in the slow food movement. Our apartment building was right above Whole Foods and we had a local farmer’s market a block away with another farmer’s market only 15 minutes away. I was in local food heaven and I ate it up.
It Was a Domino Effect in Full Force
The more I read about how terrible things were in the food we were eating, the more dedicated I was to making sure we slowly transitioned out of junk food and into real food. I slowly found ways we could cut other things out of our budget so we could prioritize buying the highest quality of food we could get. It was hard and we sacrificed a lot, but it was important to both Scott and I and we were willing to pay the price. And the funny thing is, the more I was dedicated to switching to real food, the more people started to look at me like I had three heads.
Things like raw milk, pastured soy-free chicken, grass-fed beef, kombucha, crispy nuts and homemade bone broth were things that I had no idea about 6 months prior but now were regular vocabulary in our conversations. I became passionate about sourcing from local farmers and even more passionate about making sure I fed Andrew nutrient-dense foods from scratch. For quite some time, I’d even make Andrew’s dinner if we were going out to eat because I wanted to make sure he was getting only the best and partially because I felt like I needed to make up for lost time. We spent time at local farms and I did my best to make sure Andrew saw what a farm was and began an appreciation at a young age.
Healthy Roots, Happy Soul was Created
The thought of starting a blog was no where in my mind frame. All I could think about was how I could continue learning and making the switch over to real food. But ironically in a span of only a few days, three different people told me I should start a blog. I’m a believer in signs, and after the third person I felt like someone was trying to tell me something. And to think I could continue my education but help others who were where I used to be and just need to know they were not alone, really appealed to me.
So, on March 23, 2012 Healthy Roots, Happy Soul was created and it’s been such an amazing journey so far (you can read my very first post here). One of the most important things that I have learned from my real food journey is that any step, no matter how small, is incredible. I learned that I should be proud for the little things I gain because now when I look back to where I used to be in October 30, 2011, my whole life is different than it used to be. I often felt like I would never get to where I am today because there was so much to learn, but I passionately knew that I wanted to make this change for my family and we did.
That is why you should be proud. You should be proud for all the little steps you’ve taken even if you aren’t where you want to be right now. You will get there and I hope to help you, along the way.
If you want a little extra guidance on switching over to real food, I encourage you to watch my video series Switch Over to a Real Food Lifestyle in 10 Easy Steps.
Here are a few links I found in the old emails that I watched/read when I was first starting out–