It Was The Unblinking Eye Staring From Behind The Salt
. . . that stopped me cold. Ever since my mom told me about the “wild” claims of the Weston A. Price foundation I’d been dabbling in butter, trading in my morning bowl of extruded rice and cardboard for scrambled eggs, and drinking my milk raw.
I knew I had a long way to go, but when I popped open my mom’s kitchen cabinet for some honey and found myself face to face with a jar of fermenting fish (heads still on!) I doubted I would ever get there. I mean, HOW was I going to make bone broth when I couldn’t bear to even **look** at chicken wing leftovers?
My mom – aka the woman who hikes through the Amazon basin and starts snowball fights with handsome Germans in Canadian ice fields – held my hand and walked me through it.
Now if you’re thinking “Hey! I need someone like that!” – I have good news for you. You can’t borrow my mom, but Kendahl over at Our Nourishing Roots has created a visual companion to the real food bible, Nourishing Traditions, that brings you straight into her kitchen. I’ve asked her to join us today to talk about YOUR questions about real food, and of course to talk about her book!
Heather: Hi Kendahl! You know, I often joke that real food is the easiest sell ever. I mean, butter as a health food? Who doesn’t love BUTTER?!?!?
The truth is, though, most of us find real food because we’ve hit a wall with our health, or someone we know is suffering. So, what’s your story? Did someone slip a copy of Nourishing Traditions through the mail slot in your front door? Or is it something you went looking for?
Kendahl: Nourishing Traditions practically fell in my lap. It was like a sign! A friend of mine had just checked it out from the library, and when I went to her house she was telling me all about how we had fats all wrong in our country. And how whole grains needed to be soaked overnight for some reason. I was intrigued! So she sent me home with her copy until the next day. That night I read the entire introduction, and was promptly overwhelmed with information that I could hardly believe. But it all made so much sense!
Ultimately, it didn’t take much time to convince me that I was approaching food all wrong. My paradigm changed literally overnight. It just makes sense that we should eat traditional foods. And of course vibrant health is linked to those traditional foods. We were made to eat them, and they were made for us!
Heather: So, uh, how did your real food conversion go over with your husband and kids? This was the number one concern listed when I asked for questions about making the transition!
Kendahl: Welllll, it was okay. For my husband it was more of an I-told-you-so kind of moment. See, I had been foisting thin, bluish skim milk and safflower-based margarine on us since we got married. And he always just wanted real butter and whole milk. So now I have to pay for that forever! Every time I talk in depth about how butter is good for us as I blog about one topic or another, he pipes up with “Yeah, remember how you used to make me eat margarine? Good thing you listened to me, huh?” Punk!
My kids, on the other hand, have handled it beautifully and without any grovelling on my part I had dabbled in real food for a year or so by the time I really got on board. They were 1 and 4 when we made the full switch to real eggs, raw milk, organ meats, and soaked grain, and now my youngest asks for cod liver oil and my oldest craves beet kvass and liver.
Heather: So what about you? Were you a mini-Julia Child that just needed to find her way back to real butter, or was cooking from scratch a big change in your daily routine?
Kendahl: I was always interested in the kitchen, even at a young age. However, the only things I knew how to make were simple: pasta, convenience foods, cookies, things like that. As the years went by, I found that my love of baking overtook all else. I’ll make you dessert over dinner any day! Of course, back then I was using white flour and white sugar and I had no idea how devoid of nutrients those items actually were.
Eventually, I started playing with whole wheat pastry flour (from the grocery store), and I made “healthy” versions of my favorite desserts and treats. But then I stumbled across Nourishing Traditions. Good thing, too! I had been having a lot of trouble getting my whole wheat versions to turn out predictably. They were just too heavy, even with whole wheat pastry flour. But sprouted flour, especially when you soak it, does such a great job in real food baked goods. Like in my yellow butter cake. They turn out lighter and fluffier. And they’re more digestible to boot.
So now I do a variety of “real foodified” recipes on my blog, and I still love baking the best! I really need to try some of those fantastic French desserts that Julia made. Yum!
Heather: Ahhh, I love “real foodified” recipes! Kids who turn up their nose at sauerkraut will inhale a plate of hash browns slathered in lacto-fermented ketchup. All that’s needed is a little know how, which is what your book is about, right?
Kendahl: Absolutely! Real foodifying my favorite recipes, recipes that my children recognize, has made this shift possible and successful. No one complains around here when I make homemade lacto-fermented ranch dressing, I’ll tell you that!
When I read Nourishing Traditions, started implementing those ideas into my kitchen, and then committed to that philosophy 100%, I worked out the kinks as I went. I figured out how to soak grains with whey. I learn how to make whey! It was not easy. I had NO idea how to lacto-ferment or use raw dairy.
Though I adore Nourishing Traditions, it doesn’t contain any pictures. That can be challenging when you are trying everything for the first time. Once I had sprouting under my belt, I wanted to show people how to do it. Family, friends, anyone who would listen! That organically grew into my blog, as well as this e-book. REAL FOOD 101: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared is my series of tutorials, complete with full color pictures and clear instructions, to accompany any Nourishing Traditions-owning foodie. I have worked out all the kinks, so that real food can be that much more approachable.
Heather: So, what basic principles does your Real Food 101 Guide cover, and why did you choose them?
Kendahl: In my e-book you’ll find most of the basics covered. But don’t worry! I’m writing a subsequent volume as well, as I work my way through all the basics covered in Nourishing Traditions. In REAL FOOD 101 you’ll find recipes for homemade dressing, how to soak and sprout grains, nuts, beans, and seeds, how to lacto-ferment a few of my favorite drinks like beet kvass and strawberry water kefir (yum!), as well as my favorite bone broth and stock recipes, lacto-fermented condiments, and raw dairy basics (which is possibly my favorite thing to do).
I chose these recipes because they were the ones that I found most approachable when I first ventured into real food. They are also the recipes that I have kept making, which speaks not only to their relative simplicity, but also their staying power. These are the recipes you will make properly the first time, and will continue to make as kitchen staples. Viva real food!
Heather: It’s so funny that working with raw dairy is your favorite thing, because that was what I found scariest when I started out. What advice do you have to those who want to jump in but aren’t sure about the time investment and/or finding access to “weird” ingredients like whey?
Kendahl: I would say to them: it’s easier than you think, and you’re not alone. I’ll take you through it step by step. And the taste is unparallelled! When you make your own whey and yogurt cheese, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is. And you’ll love how versatile whey is. And you’ll never want to eat cream cheese again! Yogurt cheese blended with sweet jam or a savory herb blend? That’s the best spread for a piece of sourdough bread or dip for veggies I have ever had!
Remember: it’s not weird, you just haven’t gotten in touch with real food yet. This is where your grocery store food comes from. It’s not magic. It’s just that someone else has always made your yogurt for you. It’s time to connect to your food. I promise that you will not find it difficult. Just new. But that’s what makes it so exciting! I’ve paved the way for you, so all you need to do is take the next step and say “Yes!”
Thank you, Kendahl!
I’m so glad you stopped by today! Mamas, if you’d like to check out Real Food 101 you can get it now for 25% off with coupon code MOMMY25. Coupon expires Monday, August 13th.
What do you find most overwhelming about the real food lifestyle?
Finding the time? Making it work for your budget? Getting your family to try new things? Leave a comment below and “vote” for what you’d like to see covered next!