A few years ago, I bought the cookbook, Real Food Basics, and it completely changed how I look at food. I’d just discovered Modern Alternative Mama, and thought this new book sounded intriguing. I was learning more about good nutrition and the included recipes sounded delicious. As I read through Real Food Basics, I was introduced to raw milk, healthy fats and grass-fed beef. Our diet hasn’t been the same since.
This week, Kate is releasing the second edition of her book, Real Food Basics.
To celebrate the launch of her book, I asked Kate if she’d answer a few questions for me to give us a little more insight into her real food journey:
When did you become interested in real food?
Our first interest in real food came when I discovered my oldest’s allergies when she was around a year old. Someone had kind of suggested to me, “Maybe she doesn’t sleep because she has allergies.”
We began looking into it, removed dairy from her diet, and her sleep improved. I had no idea where to go from there, and then an online friend said, “Join the Weston A. Price Healthy Babies Group on Yahoo.” I had NO clue what it was at that time, or what a traditional diet was, or anything.
They talked about kombucha, soaking, FCLO, and lots of other stuff that was completely foreign to me at that time and I wasn’t sure I was very sold on any of those ideas. Who needs to soak whole grains??
A year later, after everything else we went through, I understood why! But, it was our need to solve her allergy issues and improve her health, especially, that led us on our journey to real food.
What are your kids’ favorite real food meals?
Pork chops and mashed potatoes, “pink fish” (salmon), homemade burgers and fries, soaked pizza … These are probably the most commonly requested. Oh, and the whole family enjoys roast chicken a lot!
What are the “guiding principles” for eating real food?
Choose things with the fewest ingredients possible. When you start out, buy real cheese instead of “cheez” in a spray can or Velveeta (you can worry about hormone- and antibiotic-free and grass-fed and raw later — baby steps!). Choose real meat instead of hot dogs or sausage (later you can look for pastured and local).
Choose whole grains over refined. Basically, it needs to be as close as possible to the way it was produced.
Real fruits and veggies, real meats, and real whole grains are always superior to processed foods, no matter their source. When you’re ready and if you can afford to, be picky about your sources, but don’t let that overwhelm you initially.
How does Real Food Basics simplify real food for a busy mom?
A lot of moms want to know why in a quick way they can understand, and also how. Busy moms will find short, 2 – 3 page explanations of the major principles of real food here.
It’s not scienc-y or all encompassing, but it introduces the concepts. Plus, the recipes included often come together quickly and are for familiar foods. Kids will try real food pizza, or fried chicken, or coffee cake. It’s not hard to convince them of this!
Why waste time making a complicated fermented veggie dish with raw kale-and-bean soup if the kids won’t eat it anyway? Keep it simple to start and worry about the other stuff later.
Can you share a few tips for someone who wants to eat real food but has a tight budget?
Shop where you can afford to shop and buy unprocessed. A lot of people seem to feel guilty when they say “I shop at Walmart” or “I shop at Aldi.” I do too! If that is what you can afford, then go there.
Look for frozen, plain veggies and fruit, regular (not cured) meats (and try for ground beef or whole chickens when you can, they’re cheaper), plain yogurt, whole milk, etc. If you can’t find or can’t afford to buy from local farms, oh well.
Do it when everything’s in season and cheap (apples and tomatoes get down to $0.50/lb. in my area in the summer!) but if that’s not what you can afford most of the time, don’t stress yourself out.
When you can afford “better” sources, find them and prioritize what is most important to you. We’ve made meat and raw milk priorities and I make compromises in other areas. Your priorities may be different.
But I do not buy all organic and I don’t feel guilty for buying the real food that we can afford. It’s infinitely better than a diet of spaghetti-os and canned soup.
Where can we get this book and find out more about you?
You can come to Modern Alternative Mama and read whatever’s going on this week, and Real Food Basics can be purchased there. It’s just $2.50 with code REALFOODLAUNCH through Tuesday, 2/5, and it’s $5 all month long, no coupon needed.
Thanks so much, for answering my questions, Kate! Please head over to Modern Alternative Mama and get a copy of Real Food Basics – it is a great resource and you’ll love the recipes (and so will your kids).