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Head First into Real Food

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That was my approach.  And it is probably one that I wouldn't recommend.  But this is my personality.  If I want to learn about something, I want to learn all that I possibly can RIGHT NOW.  After reading Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, I wanted to know more.  I read this book, then this one, and this one!  I found several (SEVERAL!) online classes from popular Real Food bloggers and took every single one.  My head was spinning with Real Food and I wanted to make every single change over night.  And I tried.

To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement.  I want to make my own broth!  I want to bake my own bread!  I want to make yogurt, sprout grain (where do I even get grain?), lacto-ferment my own pickles (need to read a book about lactofermentation!), grow my own vegetables, and milk my own cow!!  Whoa, Nelly!  One thing at a time.  While I was certainly able to accomplish many Real Food changes at once (never did milk that cow), I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

Thinking about it now, there were a few things that I did at the beginning, that everyone new to Real Food can accomplish easily.

The first thing I did was go through my fridge, freezer, and pantry and got rid of anything that wasn't real.  First I eliminated Food Dye.  I didn't have to throw away much since I was pretty good about keeping it out of the house in the first place.  Next I went on a hunt for high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), MSG, anything with canola  oil and anything with “soy” in the ingredient label.  That was just for starters.  Later I tackled food preservatives and tried to find stuff that had “natural flavors” and “spices.”  I became an expert label reader.  If I didn't know the ingredient, I didn't want it in my house.  Label reading is the easiest way to identify fake food in your kitchen.

The next thing I did was scout out local resources for fresh food.  I started going to the Farmer's Market every weekend.  I found a source for real milk.  I wanted to buy as much fresh food as I could locally, and if I couldn't find it local, the grocery store would have to do.

And, finally, I made a list.  I wrote down all of the changes I wanted to make and then started crossing them off the list.  My advice would be to do the same.  Make a list of all the Real Food changes you want to make in your kitchen and start there.  If you want to make your own broth, cure your own bacon, and keep chickens in your backyard for eggs, then do one thing at a time.  (I would have done all three at once!)  Master your broth-making until you are the expert in broth.  Then move on.  By tackling one change at a time, it will all seem so easy and doable.  Because it is.

By all means, if you want to dive in head first, go for it.  I had a blast learning about every bit of Real Food info I could get my hands on.  But, in hindsight, it would have been easier had I slowed down a bit.  My youngest son probably wouldn't have lamented the loss of his Cheerios so much if I hadn't been simultaneously trying to get him to drink milk kefir.  These are all lessons learned along the Real Food journey that I am happy to share with you.

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