Real Food Face-Off: Titus 2 Homemaker vs. GNOWFGLINS

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realfoodfaceoffbutton3_thumb1Welcome back! I’m excited to introduce two more Real Food loving ladies this week. They’re matched up head to head in the second Real Food Face-Off.

Visit the Real Food Face-Off Introduction page for a full list of all the participants and the complete list of possible questions. Each week, only a handful of the contenders’ answers will be posted here.

Week Two:  Rachel vs. Wardeh

rachel wardeh

Rachel at Titus 2 Homemaker is a faithful KS reader and participated with some knock-out recipes in the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods. She has a deep “green” side, isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions, and is clearly planted in her faith. Titus 2 contains verses about being a holy homemaker. Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS has inspired some of my best “easy new recipes” of the year. I don’t think I’ll ever raise goats like her family does, but I truly enjoy “listening in” on their increasingly Nourishing Traditions lifestyle via her blog. Her adventures in sourdough and basic recipe series have been excellent.


Below are the answers to some real food questions, in the bloggers’ own words:

1. How do you describe the way you eat when someone asks you to define your food?

We try to eat whole foods as much as possible, and I don’t prepare any biblically “unclean” foods. (As far as “normal” foods go, that means we don’t eat pork, shellfish, or certain fish. ‘Though when we’re at someone else’s home, we eat whatever is served.)  Really, it’s as simple as that. We don’t “soak” (as a rule), don’t have any major food allergies, aren’t vegan or vegetarian, etc. We do try to get lots of protein and healthy fats in our diet. Or, to put it another way, we follow the three major principles in What the Bible Says About Healthy Living: eat what God created for food, eat it in as close to its original form as possible, and don’t make any food or drink an idol. The title of my blog says it all. We embrace GNOWFGLINS – “God’s Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season.” I’ve got a great video that shows my family’s vision for what good food really IS at:

2. What was/is your major incentive for living a real food lifestyle? (How did you come to eat the way you do?)

I’m not sure! I think it just sprang from the belief that if God created our bodies, and God created all of the things we use as food sources (sources of real foods, that is!), then He probably has a pretty good idea of which things are best for our bodies, to keep them healthy. Obviously, nobody wants to be unhealthy, so from there it was just a natural progression to eat what God seems to consider good food. Initially, we started eating better because we were desperate! My son Mikah exhibited horrible eczema from the day he was born. Changing to real food (and discovering an egg allergy) cleared his skin right up.

3. If you only had energy for ONE make-from-scratch food, what would it be? Is your preference for taste or health?

At this point, I can’t imagine nearly everything being not from scratch. lol  At that point, it would definitely be a taste issue as well as health. :)  But the number one have-to-have for me is fresh bread. That’s primarily a health preference, but the “why” would take a whole post! I would make dairy kefir. I love it, and my family loves it. It is easier than yogurt, and more beneficial in terms of the number of probiotics. My preference is usually for health – but our food tastes awesome so no one complains.

4. What food was your favorite that you no longer eat (or shouldn’t eat)?

Donuts. I haven’t gotten ambitious enough to make them myself yet, and the storebought ones always have lots of hydrogenated fats. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and I used to eat a lot of candy. Chocolate, taffy… oh, my favorite were those candy corns. But you know what, I don’t miss them at all, and don’t find myself craving them any more.

5. What’s your favorite real/traditional food?

Mmmm. Cheese. It goes with nearly everything, and it can really “make” a dish. Dairy kefir! We do so many things with it. Not long ago, I wrote a post on 7 yummy uses for it – but I’ve found another, so now there are 8 yummy ways to eat kefir.

6. What’s something you remain afraid to try?

I’m afraid to try homemade mayonnaise, because I’m afraid of raw eggs. I don’t think I’m afraid to try anything, at least not now. I used to be afraid of sourdough bread, but I got over that once I jumped into it. The hardest part of trying something new is wrapping your head around it and making the first step.

7. What’s next on your list of changes to make?

I want to try kefir – or some other cultured milk product besides yogurt. In the meantime, I’m experimenting with flavoring options for our yogurt.

8. List your top 3 baby steps to move from a Standard American Diet to Real Food.

1. Switch from table salt to a good sea salt. (This is not as significant a change as some others, but it’s really, really easy, so it’s a good “I can do this” step.)

2. If you use margarine or shortening, switch to butter or liquid oil (or coconut oil, if you don’t consider that a liquid oil).

3. Switch white flour products to half whole wheat (if you’re making your own bread, then use half wheat flour, if you’re cooking pasta, use half whole wheat, etc.)

Really, these are all simple enough exchanges that, for the most part, you could do them all at once.

1. Choose naturally raised animal foods (meats, dairy, and fats) – the biggest bang for your buck right there.

2. Soak your grains, nuts, and seeds to deactivate enzyme inhibitors, neutralize phytic acid, and pre-digest harder components.

3. Eat more fresh foods, either as-is or lacto-fermented.

9. What does “eating healthy” mean to you?

“Eating healthy” is eating foods that supply the nutrients our bodies need to remain energized and well-maintained. It isn’t “low fat,” “low sodium,” “low carb,” etc. Eating healthy means asking a simple question about any food: how did God design this food to be raised and eaten? The more foods we eat this way, the healthier we’ll be.

10. Biggest drawback of real food lifestyle?

It’s getting harder and harder to find real food. It seems like everything is genetically modified, fed hormones, raised on chemicals, etc. So it can be pretty frustrating and discouraging sometimes. Hands down, eating away from home. We prioritize being gracious, and therefore eat what we’re served, but we are not satisfied and we usually don’t feel well afterward.

11. How important is organic food?

Very important – and not very important. Organic is important for maintaining the ecological possibility of still finding real foods in the future. And, obviously, we’re better off without the chemicals and such when we can help it. But I’d much rather have non-organic real food than organic processed stuff (like organic boxed mac&cheese with white noodles). Organic in the marketplace is not really organic – did you know that? Organic means “full of life;” commercial organics (for the most part) merely ensure a food wasn’t exposed to pesticides. Truly organic food is worth seeking out – this food springs from soil that is bursting with life-supporting organisms and nutrients.

12. Best book recommendations?

What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, The Cholesterol Myths, The Raw Milk Revolution (I’m reading this right now, and it’s great), The Schwarzbein Principle, Wholesome Sugarfree Cooking

13. Number one tip you tell your blog readers about eating healthy foods:

Keep it simple. Ask yourself a basic question about any food: how did God design this food to be raised and consumed? Then eat it that way.

Follow Wardeh on Twitter @WardehHarmon, and see the rest of her answers to questions not included here.

Now it’s your turn! I’d highly checking out both gals’ recipes, if not the rest of their blogs, Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS and Rachel at Titus 2 Homemaker. If you have any questions or thoughts about their answers here, get a little discussion going by leaving a comment.

These contenders came to real food while seeking God’s will. (WHOOPS EDIT:  I mistakenly had the wrong “next up” bloggers here until Wednesday evening. The corrected on-deck gals are:) Kimberly at Hartke is Online! and Peggy at Local Nourishment were both seeking relief from health issues when they discovered real food and the changes it made for them.

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31 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Thanks, Katie for putting this together. Now that my turn is over, I’m breathing out in a bit of relief. :)

    It is great to get to know you, Rachel. I really agree with you that it is frustrating today to find good food! We have to work so hard to get past the labels, processing and false information. And you will love kefir! I would be happy to share a grain with you if you can’t find any locally; you can use the contact form at my blog to hook up with me.
    .-= Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS´s last blog ..Real Food Blogger Face-Off =-.

    • says

      spinning off from “How did God design this food to be raised & eaten”…did God not design us as humans to have brains that are able to make advances in husbandry & nutrition which in turn allow us to be better stewards of the animals we were given charge over?

      @Wardeh, what evidence do you have that your son’s eczema cure was real food related? perhaps it was moreso as a result of the egg allergy? Or maybe only the egg allergy?

      @rachel, are you Jewish or do you only follow Jewish dietary laws when eating in your own home? Am I understanding right that if I offered you pork in my home, you would eat it? This confuses me.
      .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: @mpaynknoper is tonight’s #foodchat gonna be archived somewhere? Sounds like it was interesting. =-.

      • says

        Hi, Tonya.

        Your first question, with regard to being good stewards. Absolutely we should be! God gave us a responsibility to care for the earth, to manage it well. But, where did He say we should change His perfect design for human and animal sustenance? You tell me. Changing an animal’s natural diet doesn’t stick with God’s design, it goes against it. Changing the diet designed for humans also flies in the face of God’s design. It is possible that man, in his arrogance and pride, has gone too far. In addition to responsibility, God gave us free will. He lets us make mistakes and reap the consequences. He will also help us stick to His design – and no one needs a science degree to do that – just eyes to observe the natural world and follow the patterns He put in place.

        Here’s a post written by my husband that goes into much more detail about stewardship: I feel it is required reading and sums up this issue very, very well.

        Question #2. Here’s my evidence, which is a bit of observation and a bit of clinical: My son has been tested for egg allergies, and shown to have them. He also showed this through rashes all over his body on the occasions that he would eat eggs (all other things unchanged, to the best of our ability). Now that our diet is traditional (soaking grains/nuts/seeds, more probiotics) the eggs do not bother him at all – no rashes.

        Thanks for asking your questions.
        .-= Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS´s last blog ..Real Food Blogger Face-Off =-.

        • says

          Thanks for responding.

          I am going to assume by changing animals’ diets you assume introduction of corn & grains into the diet of cattle. That is a common complaint I have found amongst the real food crowd. I’d like to think I know my bible fairly well, although, I can’t say that I’ve paid extremely close attention to the dietary points made. Does the bible say cattle are not to eat corn & other grains? Does it say they are to graze only?

          What exactly do you think your average american conventionally farmed dairy cow or beef cow is eating on a daily basis?

          If we are to follow the natural world, should we give up our modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, electricity, automobiles & the internet? None of these things were available in biblical times. How do they fit in with God’s plan for us & our stewardship of the earth?

          • Katie says


            God gives direct commands sometimes, like “do not kill.” Other times He lets us have some wiggle room, like “fill the earth and subdue it.” Since we’re talking eating here, let’s give the cows grass and sure, occasional grains, and let ourselves eat food that grows in the ground, not food made in factories. For comfort, give the cows auto-milkers, heated barns, and TVs to watch and let me have my Internet! 😉 Does that sound like a fair deal, all things being equal?

            On a side note, perhaps we should drive fewer cars to truly be good stewards of the earth. Good thing God doesn’t ask us for perfection.


          • Katie says

            God often allows for interpretation of how to live, such as “fill the earth and subdue it.” Rarely is he as clear as “do not let cows eat grain.”

            Since we’re talking eating here, let us allow cows their grass and the occasional grain snack, and we’ll eat food that grows in the ground instead of being made in a factory. For comfort and convenience, give the cows/farmers auto-milkers, heated barns, and TVs to watch while I use my Internet and indoor plumbing. Sure, we should drive our cars less or not at all to be perfect stewards. But I don’t think anyone, God included, is asking for perfection. We just do our best.


            • says

              If there’s no instructions, direct or implied, from God on how cattle should be fed or raised, why does a segment of the real food crowd refer animals being raised & eating what God intended?

              for the record, cow comfort is a biggie. mattresses, foot baths, insect control, biosecurity measures, climate control, & back scratchers are some common findings on farms.
              .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: I’m listening to "Take Me There" by Rascal Flatts #pandora =-.

              • Katie says

                No direct instructions, but implied for certain. Implied in our/their very bodies. Stomachs made to digest grasses = cows should eat grass. Human bodies made to be one and procreate = we should. JPII’s Theology of the body…for cows! Maybe that’s stretching it, but that’s what we mean. God created certain animals to BE certain ways, and we want to work with that, not around it. :) Katie

                • Penny says

                  Actually, cows are ruminants and as such have the 4 stomach thing going on to digest “woody brush” more so than just grass. At least that’s what I had read and that’s why cows actually do very poorly on grains that have high carbohydrate contents and can get something called “feed lot bloat” (sounds uncomfortable) when they are fed a lot of grains.

                  Just my FYI.

          • says

            Tonya, your additional questions:

            I believe I answered one of your questions already (about whether or not the Bible addresses grain feeding) when I said:

            “He will also help us stick to His design – and no one needs a science degree to do that – just eyes to observe the natural world and follow the patterns He put in place.”

            Like Katie said, the Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. But creation cries out the answer! Cattle may eat a few grains here and there from the wild, late in the grass season, but primarily they live on pasture.

            You asked, “What exactly do you think your average american conventionally farmed dairy cow or beef cow is eating on a daily basis?”

            Early in life, they eat on pasture. Then they go to a feedlot and fatten up on grain.

            The point is less whether they eat grain or not, but more how much grain they eat. No, the Bible does not specify the amount, or speak on the subject in a direct way at all. Still, let’s not close our eyes to the fact that corn-fed cows are a modern invention. Cows did not eat corn (unless a bit of it in the wild) until we stepped in with our modern farming methods.

            For the record, I am not against modern inventions like the internet or cell phones. But those you brought up are matters of convenience and pleasure, not having much bearing on the health of a living organism. But please don’t take what I said too far – people can abuse modern technology, too.
            .-= Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS´s last blog ..RFQM: Salad Bar Beef =-.

  2. Pamela Olson says

    I love this face-off idea, thanks for hosting it! I’ve been trying to find kefir grains and have not had luck. Is there a website you can recommend?

  3. Carmen says

    Thanks Katie for posting these face-offs! I am learning so much. I’m pretty new to all this and just taking baby steps. I have just started using kefir and love it. I look forward to trying the chocolate kefir smoothie!!!

  4. says

    I agree with Rachel’s comment that it is hard to find real food. Sometimes I wish I could just grow/raise everything myself, but we don’t have time/space/money to invest. For example, it’s hard to find local strawberries that aren’t covered in pesticides. It’s so frustrating, but we keep doing the best we can.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Tuesday Twister – French Dinner =-.

  5. says

    Wow this is great Katie! I am a new reader who rarely comments, but I just had to say how wonderful I think you are–and how great this series is. I am learning so much! Thanks for doing this!
    And thanks to all the participants!
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Making medical history =-.

  6. says

    Wardeh, I love that question, too: “how did God design this food to be raised and eaten?” (And first, DID God design it… lol) This has been fun, and I am looking forward to getting to know the other ladies but, like Wardeh, I’m breathing more freely now that my turn is over!

  7. Leah says

    It is hard to find real food and even harder when you have a tight food budget without local resources or extremely limited local resources. I am getting ready to put in my garden (time to order seeds) so that I will have fresh healthy food and enough to can, freeze, preserve in various ways.

  8. Melissa says

    Here is my one gripe with this series….

    now I’m going to have way to many blogs to read! How am I ever going to keep up? Thanks Katie for pulling this together. I’m loving getting to know all these real foodies.

  9. RG says

    This was great, just like the last one like it. Just wondering, what do these ladies have to say in the area of storage and kitchen ware. I am new to all this, but am finding that some are ok with storing a lot in ziploc bags, while others are death on plastic and use only glass. Some have different ideas on non – stick, cast iron, silicone, etc. How do these ladies store their dry products, etc. and what do they use to prepare their nutritious food in these areas?

  10. Judy says

    This is a great idea. It’s really nice to get to know more about where people are coming from. I like the Q&A format.

  11. Audrey Harlan says

    I felt like I was sitting around the table with you both! Very cool “face off” ladies:)
    I have taken about 200 baby steps toward healthier living, still at best I am an “aspiring” health enthusiast…I going to kep pushing myself a little at a time…thanks for the inspiration:)

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