Finally, another male in the Face-Off! Today we pair a fermented foods-loving guy with a gal whose diet probably saved her life. I’m pretty sure they both know a bunch more than I do about traditional foods and modern dangers.
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 7: Alex vs. Raine
|I miss you, Twitter! I met Alex (@lactoferment) during the first #realfood Twitter chat back in November, and he’s been an interesting and intriguing character to watch since then. He teaches fermentation workshops, so clearly he is an expert and has helped me with some sour apple cider and my scary kombucha mushroom.||Raine has also been active in the #realfood chats, and her depth of knowledge shows in the comments she shared at KS. Her story of real food as a cure for physical ailments is absolutely awe-inspiring.|
Below are the answers to some real food questions, in the bloggers’ own words:
How do you describe the way you eat when someone asks you to define your food?
One big decision for 2009, and again for 2010, has been to eat only Meat Of Known Origin (see here and here). If it’s a chicken, turkey, cow, or pig, I want to know the name of the farm or coop it’s from before I eat it. I do this for my health, and I do this to vote with my dollars for a food system that I think is ethical and sustainable. Beyond that: I live alone, and when I’m at home, I often eat simply…raw milk from my cow share, Meat Of Known Origin, etc… When I go out, or have friends over, or eat at friends’ houses, I eat most things, but I won’t eat meat unless I know where it’s from.
I tell people I eat whole foods that are unprocessed. Sometimes I mention that I eat traditionally prepared foods as well, but this sometimes loses people. Here’s a link to my story.
What was/is your major incentive for living a real food lifestyle? (How did you come to eat the way you do?)
My father never took control over his own relationship to food, health, and healing. He died of heart disease when he was relatively young. Even before he died, I decided that I wanted to be the master of my own fate. I’ve been thinking about health for 15 years now, and when I figured out to join this interest with my interest in food, it became a mighty combination.
When I changed my diet, it was entirely because I had been sick for many years with various problems – gallbladder disease, ruptured appendix, blood sugar problems, fatigue, panic attacks, general malaise, and others. I was afraid that soon I would no longer be able to take care of my family, or worse, that I might not be around at all. I went to see a nutritional therapist because I wasn’t getting help from medical doctors and she told me she was puzzled how a person my age (35 at the time) could have done as much damage to my body as I had. She said if I continued down the same path, I could easily wind up with cancer or some other fatal disease.
If you only had energy for ONE make-from-scratch food, what would it be? Is your preference for taste or health?
Soup. Good home-made soups are much better what you can get in most restaurants. Here’s a great recipe for Vietnamese soup. The better your broth, the better the soup.
|I love food and I love to savor tastes in food, but there are often times I eat foods even if I’m not in the mood for them because I know it will keep me healthy and feeling good. I would say anything with grass-fed beef and some type of green vegetable.|
What food was your favorite that you no longer eat (or shouldn’t eat)?
Fish and chips. Although I make homemade french fries with coconut oil now (beef tallow is next!), and I haven’t even thought about how to make the fish yet, but I think that’s something I could do with a little research. I haven’t eaten fish and chips since probably 2001.
What’s your favorite real/traditional food?
At the moment, lactofermented turnips and beets. Delicious! And beautiful, too. Oh, and I could eat raw oysters all day. And good soup.
I love grass-fed beef prepared in a variety of ways. It’s by far my favorite. I find this interesting because I spent a good portion of my life hating red meat and avoiding it – in part due to what I heard about it from health “experts”
What was the hardest transition to make to real food?
Hunting down good sources of meat has taken some time. I miss ordering freely in Chinese restaurants, too.
|I didn’t have trouble eating healthy foods, because I was so tired of feeling bad.|
What’s next on your list of changes to make?
I’m thinking of trying the GAPS diet for a month, just to see what happens.
Learning about cooking from scratch in more detail and trying more new things.
List your top 3 baby steps to move from a Standard American Diet to Real Food.
1) No deep-fried food unless you make it yourself. This will transform your relationship with potato chips, french fries, chicken nuggets, and so on. They take work! (While you’re at it, limit yourself to healthy oils: animal fats, butter, coconut oil, sesame oil, and perhaps peanut oil.)
• Remove refined sugars
• Industrial oils/fats
• Commercial meats and dairy
Replace with healthy counterparts – maple syrup or stevia, coconut oil/olive oil/palm oil/butter, grass-fed or pasture-raised meats/game/lamb/pork/poultry
What is the worst food (or “food”) a person could possibly put into their systems?
The icing that comes on supermarket cakes. It contains exactly two things: Crisco (trans-fat) and sugar. Oh, okay, one more thing: artificial coloring.
|Industrial oils or fats.|
What does “eating healthy” mean to you?
Getting the usable nutrients that you need. Avoiding toxins where possible. Eating enough so that you have energy, and not so much that you feel tired and heavy.
Eating healthy means eating organic, sustainable, and the most natural foods available – so no hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, steroids, preservatives, or added chemicals.
What’s the most creative thing you do to make life easier in the kitchen?
|Always have some fermented vegetables around, and put them on/in everything possible. Bland food banished forever|
I try to get the most out of every meal either by making enough for leftovers or using as much of the food as I can – for example, making chicken stock out of a chicken carcass, making yogurt out of milk, etc.
How important is organic food?
For meat: Meat Of Known Origin is the way to go. Organic is a step in the right direction, but is also a distraction from the real issues. For vegetables and fruits: some hold pesticides much more than others. For instance, peaches and apples soak up pesticides, so organic is quite important, but onions and avocados don’t. Regardless, organic practices are generally more sustainable than "conventional" ones, and are thus preferable. Having said all of that, the USDA Organic standard is not everything that it could be, so it’s all a matter of degree.
I think organic food is really important. Although no food we eat is completely harmless nor perfectly “clean”, at least organic food is grown using traditional farming methods, and in theory should contain no added chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, additives, or pesticides. Conventional food, in so many aspects, is dangerous because of all the above-mentioned items.
Best book recommendations?
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, by Sandor Ellix Katz. It will blow your mind. Of course, Nourishing Traditions is a must-have, too. Best 70 pages of nutrition writing of any book I’ve ever come across. And if you are patient, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is awesome and inspiring. I have a lot of book recommendations and mini-reviews in the right-hand sidebar of my blog.
The Crazy Makers by Carol Simontacchi
The Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Ellix Katz
Number one tip you tell your blog readers about eating healthy foods:
Eat animal fat.
Now it’s your turn! I’d highly recommend honoring my real food guests with a visit over to their blogs, Alex at Feed Me Like You Mean It and Raine at Agriculture Society. If you have any questions or thoughts about their answers here, get a little discussion going by leaving a comment.
Be sure to come back on Tuesday for the next installment of the Real Food Face-Off, Shelley at MAHM vs. Lisa at Mama Says. Sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed to make sure you catch them all. You can also follow me on Twitter.
Special thanks to Jo-Lynne from DCR Design for the fabulous Face-Off logos. Please visit her if you are a blogger looking for design improvements!
Any links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I get a small kickback if you purchase by starting here. I appreciate you doing so if you’re buying online anyway, but I’d also recommend trying your local library first! Of course, if you’re going to shop at Amazon, you may as well try Swagbucks. I’m liking the gift cards to Amazon that are rolling in!