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Real Food 101: Your Questions Answered!

on August 6 | in Food | by | with 21 Comments

It Was The Unblinking Eye Staring From Behind The Salt

Kendahl of Our Nourishing Roots

. . . 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!

Real Food 101: Making Butter

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?

Real Food 101: Making Sprouted Flour With Fresh Wheat Berries

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!

Real Food 101: Making Ketchup

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.

Click here to get your copy!

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!

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21 Responses to Real Food 101: Your Questions Answered!

  1. P.S. What do you find most overwhelming about the real food lifestyle? Is it finding the time? Making it work for your budget? Getting your family to try new things? Leave a comment and “vote” for what you’d like to see covered next!

    • Traci Richards says:

      I posted this article to my Pinterest (regarding your dehydrator contest)…I chose it because I thought you had great content here, and I know that others could benefit greatly from this information.

  2. Meridyth Franklin Moore via FB says:

    Kids going to friends houses and not know what to eat. They come home starving or up all night sick. Other people in our neighborhood and schools have a different defitnition of healthy….we try our best not to be insulting with saying no…it is very hard on my kids.

  3. Great timing! I just started a campaign for Baby Steps to Better Health. I can’t wait to keep an eye on what you’re sharing, so I can send people over.

  4. Monica Cooper via FB says:

    My biggest challenge is finding access to these foods and not spending an arm and a leg. Raw milk is illegal to sell in Iowa, Whole Foods is 45 minutes away, and my local grocery store doesn’t sell any pastured animal products besides grass-fed beef. I have briefly looked into your links on where to buy coconut oil and fclo and it seems expensive, even without the shipping. I read your post about real food on a budget, but I still feel kind of lost. I would be interested to know your budget, so that I know if I am somewhat on track. Maybe explain how you break down your spending between animal products, produce, etc. BTW I love your blog and appreciate all the work you put into it!

  5. AngieandBrian Hull via FB says:

    finding the time! I work full time outside of the home and that is the challenge.

  6. Katie Bevans via FB says:

    How the heck to afford it. I believe in it and do the best we can, but getting enough organic locally grown, or grass fed anything to feed our family of 6 is outrageous. I would have to go to work to supplement our income so we can afford it. How do you do it?

  7. Meridyth Franklin Moore – That does sound really hard! How old are your kids? (Trying to figure out how to create helpful guidelines based on age )

  8. That’s awesome, 20 something allergies! I can’t wait to read your series!

  9. Thank you, Monica Cooper! Honestly, I switch tactics based on the time of year. In the summer when everyone is sick of okra because it’s been at the farmers market for 5 weeks straight I buy it at a discount and ferment it for use this winter. In the winter I join a CSA to help save money on produce (and make shopping more easy since the farmers market is closed). Hmmm – maybe I should write a post on this!

  10. Jamie Wright Bagley via FB says:

    @Monica.. I get my grass-fed meat from http://www.wallacefarms.com. They have several Iowa locations. We are low income but if we buy in bulk and stretch the meat it is worth it to us. Hope this helps. :)

  11. Thank you, Jamie Wright Bagley! Another tip I’ll share here and in a follow up post is that consuming lots of bone broth actually reduces the amount of meat we need to eat to maintain health very significantly. I think Sarah of thehealthyhomeeconomist said it was up to a 2/3 reduction in her Real Food Summit talk – will look into it more soon!

  12. Monica Cooper via FB says:

    @Jamie thanks so much for that link! I will definitely check it out!

  13. Michelle D says:

    The most overwhelming thing for me is definitely time! I just don’t know how to fit it all in. My husband and I work full time and have a 4 and 2 year old. We have very little time for weeknight dinner prep, more time on the weekends but I’ve put off cooking extra for the week then because I cherish my family time on the weekend.

  14. Kirsten V says:

    Finding time is rough for me too, at least to do something the first time (after that it’s usually less intimidating and takes less time). And the cost of real food is a bit inhibitive for us, though we do the best we can.

    Also, I’d like to know how to store fermented food long term. Do you have a separate refrigerator reserved for all the fermenting you do over the summer? Is there a way to “can” fermented food so it has a non-refrigerated shelf life? I’m running out of room in my fridge! :)

  15. Christina says:

    Hardest part: finding a source of raw milk. This is especially hard because you need to talk to people who feel they can trust you and we are new in our area. I have not succeeded after much effort, which is really too bad given that I can’t breast feed baby (cleft palate, no suction). Luckily “happy” meat is abundant in central Alberta. Other than that…taking care of a little one with multiple medical problems while trying to make all this stuff from scratch. I vote for Kirsten V’s question about non-refrigerated storage of ferments without them getting too sour or killing the bacteria. I am also curious about the winter CSA, haven’t heard of this before.

  16. jo says:

    we just can’t access raw milk where we live in australia. we are in wheat growing land not dairy land. i am going well with most other things such as sprouting, souring, soaking, making yogurt, whey and cream cheese etc i just wish i could get myself a raw milk supply. other members of my family have accepted the transition to real food very well but i suspect they miss a few baked treats.

  17. Erica says:

    The hardest for us, is trying to find raw milk in Alberta. It is illegal to sell and cow shares are hard to find. I am now trying to purchase my own cow or two and hopefully be able to help other families with this. However, with the lack of milk, there is an abundance of local grass-fed meat, eggs and produce.

  18. Mary says:

    I just started really learning and reading up on the real food life style. I definitely want to make the transition, but I work full time outside of the home and I wonder how feasible this lifestyle is to a full time working family ( my husband works full time as well). I won’t always be working and I don’t want to wait another few years to start this journey. I would love to know how much time it truly takes to cook real food. I just have the impression it requires a lot of time and planning and my time is very precious with my little during the week and weekend.

  19. Caitlin says:

    I have not started… this all looks overwhelming. I cook, but I don’t love cooking and seeing some of these recipes it looks like I will be spending a fortune on ingredients and cookbooks and then not know what to do with them. Not to mention never leave the kitchen. I do most of the cooking in the house but my husband enjoys cooking too getting him on board might be tough. He works for a major food company and brings home a lot of free items… I know they are not healthy but they certainly are convenient. I just don’t know where to begin but I do know that I need to. I now can’t eat dairy or gluten without bloating and feeling sick and I miss cheese!!

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