I’m just tickled to share today’s contenders with you, since both of them were early readers and commenters at Kitchen Stewardship almost a year ago. I love that they’re so different, yet both promote real food. One is afraid of fermenting; the other has jars of ferments cluttering the lid of her freezer in the living room. One teaches yoga and talks like the vegetarian she isn’t, the other is a reformed vegetarian who manages a farmer’s market. They’re earthy, down-to-earth, maybe even a little feisty, and I’m certainly pleased to feature them. Make sure you give them a visit over at their blogs!
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 6B: Jenny vs. Michelle
|Jenny at The Nourished Kitchen is the queen of cultured things. She is in the middle of a Real Food Challenge that pushes you to change something every day, and she sells classy recipe cards via subscription as well. There’s always something (or two or three things!) going on over there!||Michelle at Find Your Balance has a little of everything, too, from food and exercise tips to private health coaching. She’s a fan of fats, yoga, and finding the balance in all areas of life. I’ve always enjoyed her (for lack of a better word) balance and perspective in all areas.|
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?
|Our family enjoys real food, traditionally prepared with emphasis on pasture-raised animal foods, raw dairy and seasonal produce. In essence, we eat real food done real healthy. (You can see what a typical week looks like here.||As a yogi, everyone assumes I am a vegetarian. If only it were that easy to explain my food style! I try to eat a lot of vegetables, whole grains and sustainably farmed meat/eggs/fish. The biggest things I try to avoid are sugar and white flour products.|
What was/is your major incentive for living a real food lifestyle? (How did you come to eat the way you do?)
|My husband and I run our farmers market and are local food advocates, so real food just fits. I could go on and on about health benefits or environmental impact, but the answer is simple: it just feels right. Real food satisfies. Read more on Nourished Kitchen’s about page.||My physical and emotional health were suffering because of my food and lifestyle choices. But I had no idea! Doctors wanted me to go on medication but I found a way to feel better without drugs. This healing experience was very powerful for me – I wrote all about it here.|
What was the hardest transition to make to real food?
|For many people the biggest step is giving up processed foods: white flour, sugar etc. Our family transitioned from a whole foods vegetarian diet, and the biggest step was learning to appreciate liver and other offal which we now enjoy with relish – especially chicken liver pate.||Getting off sugar was difficult until I realized how much better I felt without it.|
List your top 3 baby steps to move from a Standard American Diet to Real Food.
What is the worst food (or “food”) a person could possibly put into their systems?
|Our food system has been terribly disrupted in the last 100 years that choosing a single worst food is near impossible; however, white sugar and vegetable oils (soy, canola, cottonseed) are certainly neck and neck. In terms of environmental impact, CAFO meat ranks right up there too. (Learn the difference between CAFO and Grass-fed meat.)||Soda. Zero redeeming value, 100% crap.|
If you had only $20 to spend in a week on real food, what would you buy and what would you make?
|When we did the Food Stamp Challenge,|
we relied on only $227 to feed our family of three for a month, and we did so well. Yes, there was no grass-finished beef or pasture-raised pork, but we spent our money wisely purchasing loads of leafy greens, cabbage for sauerkraut, organic carrots and fruit. We also were fortunate enough to purchase some butter, olive oil and frozen salmon. In the end, real food is as much about how you prepare foods you eat as it is about choosing organic foods. Whole grains, legumes and vegetables can be cheap. For more tips check out my post 10 Healthy Meals Under $10.
|Brown rice, dried beans, organic butter, eggs and vegetables. I’d eat brown rice porridge for breakfast with hardboiled eggs, beans and greens for lunch and fried rice for dinner. Yum! But most people spend much more than that on groceries and still complain they can’t afford healthy food. Here’s an example of what I usually spend and buy.|
Name the top food scoring highest on both the nutritional and budget scale? (i.e., best health benefits for the lowest cost)
|I recently posted about this topic at Nutritional Powerhouses that Won’t Break the Bank. Liver, mineral-rich stock, sardines and anchovies, kale, beets and citrus are all great sources of nutrients and affordable. Eggs from pasture-raised hens, while more expensive than conventional eggs, offer good nutrients at a good price.||Dark, leafy green vegetables and brown rice.|
What do you refuse to buy at a grocery store that you do eat from its source?
|The only things we purchase from the store is coconut oil and, occasionally, local produce when our CSA runs low. Everything else we purchase direct from the producers. I would absolutely not purchase milk or animal foods from a conventional store unless there was simply no alternative.||Beef, chicken, pork|
When eating out, how do make your menu decision (fav “out” food, anything you avoid)?
|As I mentioned before, we’re local foods advocates and we take our activism quite seriously. It’s taken a lot of work, but we’ve prevailed upon many local restaurants to start including grass-finished and wild-caught animal foods on their menus as well as sourcing their produce from local, biodynamic farms. For this reason, we can go to most restaurants in our community and order a meal based on real food: grass-finished steak with local fingerling potatoes, greens and vegetables and fresh local fruit for dessert or mussels in broth and a huge salad of local greens on the side. Even the locally owned gas station here serves grass-finished beef in its burgers. It takes effort to make change, but it’s worth it. As a consumer, you have the power to ask for what you want. I do avoid anything fried, because it’s unlikely any kitchen will be still using traditional high-heat fats like tallow or lard.||I generally let restaurant eating fall into the 20% of my diet that is reserved for such things. I worry about the other 80% of the time. But if I’m traveling and eating out a lot, I don’t hesitate to ask my server for something simple that isn’t listed on the menu.|
Number one tip you tell your blog readers about eating healthy foods:
|Learn to cook well. Eating nourishing, healthy foods isn’t about denial; rather, it’s about enjoyment and appreciation for flavor, seasonality and tradition.||Make kale chips!|
Be sure to come back on Tuesday for the next installment of the Real Food Face-Off, Alex at Feed Me Like You Mean It vs. Raine at Agriculture Society. 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.
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