I began my Real Food journey back in 2010. I was looking online for a good whole wheat bread recipe that I could bake for my family. During my quest for this perfect bread, I kept stumbling into website after website discussing the concepts of “Real Food,” soaking grains, sprouting grains, and some gentleman named Weston A. Price. These websites had tutorials on how to make your own yogurt, ferment your own foods, make your own broth, and source good wholesome “Real” food for my family. What? I had to know more. I had chickens in my backyard and tomatoes growing on vines. I figured that I was halfway there already! I proceeded to devour every bit of information I could find. I read several books and took several different online classes to teach me all of the basics.
Around the same time as this quest for Real Food knowledge began, my oldest son was having difficulties in his Kindergarten classroom. I am a big believer in “you are what you eat” so I started doing a lot of research on diet and how it affects behavior. The first major change to our pantry was the elimination of all food dyes and preservatives. Fortunately, there weren’t many of those to begin with. One day my mother in law brought my incredibly irritable and grumpy son home after a sleep over at her house. She told me that he had been acting like that all morning and it really came out of nowhere. I just happened to ask her what he had for breakfast that morning. Fruit Loops. That was my first major Aha! moment and it really validated for me the value of a nourishing Real Food diet.
These days I am still pursuing my quest for Real Food knowledge and I am enjoying my time experimenting in my lab (kitchen). I have definitely tamed the desire to learn and do everything at once and I hope to show you how easy it is to have nourishing food in your home.
Besides my gig as an over-sharer, I am married and a mother to two sons and one daughter. I live in Phoenix, AZ and we have a couple of dogs, a cat, and some chickens, too. I spend my days chauffeuring children, playing with kids, and doing all of the other things that we do to enjoy this life we have. I am also a Photographer and my most favorite genre is Birth Photography! I hope that I am able to help you understand this wide, and sometimes overwhelming, web of Real Food knowledge and show you how easy it is to incorporate these practices in your own home.
Tamara Mannelly, MEd, HC, CHFS
I am a wife, a mother, a former elementary teacher and now Real Food advocate. I am excited to have this website as a place to share what I have learned and continue to learn about food and to help others start to incorporate real food into their lives easily. It’s all a journey and I am glad to share my experiences!
I am passionate about Real Food and healthy living. I find myself boring people to tears at dinner parties with talk of pastured eggs (the yolks are good for you!), benefits of pastured meat, dangers of vegetable oils…all very ‘off the wall’ stuff for the uninitiated! I get strange looks and comments like ‘you buy food from a farm?’, ‘what do you mean you ferment things?’, ‘butter is good for you?’ and I love every minute of it!
After my daughter was born in 2005, I wanted to learn more about providing a healthy diet for her and my family. I began to read about our food industry and the effects of the Standard American Diet (SAD) on our health. I was appalled at everything I read and wanted to make changes but still did not really understand how to incorporate all of this knowledge into my family’s life. It was all so confusing and overwhelming! I also had a hard time digesting some of the information as what I was reading completely contradicted everything I had learned about food growing up. It was all so hard to take in.
I slowly started to implement a few changes here and there as I shopped at the grocery…buying grass fed beef if I could find it, switching to organic milk, mostly organic fruits and vegetables, etc. Every time I learned something new, I’d try to take my journey one step further. I ordered meal plans, experimented with new (to me) vegetables and ingredients and sourced my food from buying clubs and CSA programs. I was well on my way to becoming a Real Foodie!
Thankfully, my family has been on board with the changes to our diet. My husband, a professional athlete, strongly believes “you are what you eat” and is a now a believer of “you are what you eat eats.” It has been very helpful that he already understands how important it is to nourish your body with the proper fuel. I love educating my daughter about Real Food, what it does to our bodies and why it is important to have nourishing food. I am a proud mama when she proclaims that McNuggets ‘aren’t real chicken’, eats her sautéed kale before touching the rest of her meal or asks for a glass of kombucha tea after school.
If someone would have told me 5 years ago, I’d be getting most of my food from farms/buying clubs, fermenting vegetables, making kombucha, taking care of a small vegetable garden, composting, soaking /drying nuts, etc. I would have thought they were crazy. Well, here I am! It’s all about baby steps, making changes to your food lifestyle at a pace that is comfortable for you that will make you and your family healthier. Enjoy!