Getting Real with Food: You Can Do it!!

If you’ve missed the other posts in this Getting Real with Food series, be sure to go read them!

All this information about healthy eating can be SO OVERWHELMING…huh? Especially if you’re used to buying and eating mostly pre-made convenience foods. Now you’ve learned that you need to “find good healthy sources of milk and meat from cows that have gone to college and have a Master’s degree”.  And you should become the little red hen so that you can “grow the wheat,  cut it, chaff it, and mill it” (Andrea’s fun commentary on what we have to do if we grind our own flour!).   And “eat only organic produce that has nary a pesticide on it whatsoever and grew on a tree that was sung to sleep every night”.   Please, can someone just hand me a poptart? 

NO! Don’t fall back on the poptart! Eating healthy doesn’t have to cause stress. That would be…unhealthy. :)

I love to cook and bake, and it comes pretty naturally to me. Even so, when I began making healthy changes for our family a few years ago, I also found it overwhelming to think about all of the ins and outs of it. Cooking macaroni and cheese from a box would take so much less time and be so much easier than making macaroni and cheese from scratch from wholesome ingredients, wouldn’t it?

Guess what I’ve found? It DOESN’T take much longer and it ISN’T much harder! 

Over the past few days, I’ve been charting some of the things I do in the kitchen…and guess what I found? All the work I do to feed my family a healthy diet really doesn’t take hours and hours. It really, really doesn’t!! You just have to get into the swing of things, that’s all.

Like, take for instance, the fact that I grind my own flour. This job consists of me pouring grain from a sack into my grinder…plugging it in…and turning the knob to “on”. Then, I walk away and do other things (like read someone’s blog, or check email!)…then I go back in and turn it off.   Done. I’ve ground flour. Whew.

Or how about soaking the flour before you make your recipe?  It hardly takes any time at all…you just have to plan ahead a little. Oh, and you have to stir.

And cooking a whole chicken? Well, yesterday I did this…and today…I’m not even sore. I stuck that bird in a pot of water with some veggies (that I didn’t even take the time to peel), shook in some salt…and walked away. The chicken cooked all day long, all by itself, and made the house smell really good too.   Go chicken…go chicken.

And I could go on and on about the simple REAL FOODS you can make without difficulty. Cooking from scratch and preparing healthy meals doesn’t always mean that you have to labor in the kitchen for EVER. Often it’s just about planning ahead and getting the food started…then just waiting for it to be ready. 

And…the more you cook…the easier it will be and the faster it will go. (I can practically bake bread in my sleep now…and I’m pretty sure I have on occasion…)

You CAN do this!! YOU can do this!! You can DO this!!! And you can keep reading my blog for more help…and you can email me anytime you want with questions. I love it when you email me! It excites me to read about the changes you’re working to make and to see that you care enough to try and learn! 

So keep on making great changes and learning new things about healthy eating! Your good health and the good health of your family is worth it!

So…how are you doing on this healthy eating train? What’s going well for you? What’s overwhelming you? How are ya feelin’?

Be sure to read more Works for me Wednesday posts here at Shannon’s awesome blog!


  1. says

    My train is chugging right along pretty good I think….’cept for milk. I still cannot find raw milk. The cows are always ‘dried up’ or something! I live in the boonies—there’s just got to be a ‘wet’ one somewhere!


  2. says

    Thank you for the encouragement, Laura! We’re on the right track towards eating healthier eating and don’t plan to jump track anytime soon. :D I am trying to use a lot more whole wheat flour and using butter instead of shortening, and using honey in some baking items. I would love to try the other sugars and possibly raw milk? Dh has an uncle who is a dairy farmer; however, he lives in Maryland and we are in KS. LOL!
    This week we have company, so we’ve gotten off the train for comfort fattening food. Oh, well!


  3. Terri-Ann says

    The hardest part for me was finding new recipes – but your menu plans have been very encouraging. I remember thinking “those meals are healthy…and look so VERY yummy! Even my husband got on board when he saw what the possibilities were.

    With two kids under two, my days are chaotic and I’m not in the habit of forethought for meals yet. I find myself at 5pm with nothing prepping or unthawing for dinner. What has really helped me is remembering that it’s not the end of the world if I have to occasionally rely on a can of mushroom soup to add to my rice and veggies. We’re after an overall health effect here, not an unbalanced, rigid diet code.

    I did learn yesterday about a (sort of) local store called “The 100 Mile Market” that operates as a Farmer’s Market during the winter months, so people can get seasonal, (mostly root veggies and meat) organic, local food all year round! Yay!


  4. says

    Well, I am trying not to compare myself to others, but I don’t feel like I am doing very well on the healthy eating. I don’t soak grains, I don’t grind wheat, and I bake with sugar. I love to bake and cook and my family loves to eat it. I am really struggling with desserts and have pretty much decided to splurge there. I am using white sugar and white flour. I am also not doing all organic right now. I was just to overwhelmed and if I get overwhelmed with it all, I think I will give up. Right now I have cut out basically all packaged and processed food. No more boxed mac and cheese and no more rice a roni. We did not eat it very often but we did eat it some. I also am now making my own cake and brownie mixes at home. I have cut out store bought cookies and cut down on store bought bread. So, I guess I have a very long way to go. But, I think every little step helps, even if it is slow.


  5. says

    I agree that boxed is not usually much faster, although I guess it is easier (fewer ingredients on the recipe, but there’s still usually a recipe!) I’ve always made mac and cheese from scratch, and discovered (when he went to a friend’s house) that my 4yo won’t eat mac and cheese from the blue box. Whoo hoo! I have a mac and cheese snob! :) But before I cheer too much, he still loves the fake orange of a Dorito!


  6. Tiffany says

    I just found your site a couple weeks ago and it has been so encouraging to me. I’m just taking baby steps and still have a long way to go, so I’m trying not to get overwhelmed with all I COULD be doing. I’m struggling a little bit with the expense hurdle. Even just moving from the price of regular milk to organic milk has me wincing. (No sources of fresh milk around here that I can find.) We do have some local sources for good meat, but with the prices double what I can get on sale, it’s hard. I’ve made a few of your recipes already, though, with honey, and my family has been pleased. I haven’t ventured to try any of the other natural sweeteners though. I continue to read your past posts whenever I get a chance and I appreciate your encouraging attitude so very much! Thank you!


  7. says

    Ok, let me just say… You are one of my biggest inspirations online if not THE biggest. We moved from a big city last spring back to my small hometown, which means we’ve had to give up a lot of the conveniences we were used to. I baked my first cookie this summer… my first loaf of bread. I made my first casserole that didn’t have a Hamburger Helper glove on the box and I boiled my first whole chicken to make my first pot of real chicken and dumpling soup! And every time I come here to read, you inspire me to do more. I’m nowhere near as real with food as you are… yet. But, we’re so happy with the changes I’ve made! I just wanted to say thanks for having a helping hand in improving our life.


  8. says

    Awesome post – and so encouraging!

    I want to ditto what Lynn said AND be an encouragement to her (and others like her). At this point, I am just concentrating on baking from scratch and cooking at home, as opposed to fast food and eating out (and NOT feeding my family corn dogs and jelly beans).

    I still use white flour and sugar (sometimes honey!), and we just don’t have a lot of organic here in Las Vegas. I’m doing the best I can, and hoping to keep making progress in little steps. Your recipes help a TON…

    Thanks for encouraging us to keep on, keepin’ on!


  9. says

    I’ve been grinding grain and baking bread for a few years now. It is very easy once you get a rhythm to it. The soaking thing has been harder for me to get into though. It is the thinking ahead part…;o)

    I have enjoyed reading your series on food and trying your recipes. They are all very good. I think I was gettting into a rut with my own recipes and needed some new life in the kitchen. Thankyou for all your posts!


  10. Amy says

    Your site is so encouraging, Laura! I am trying to take baby steps and not beat myself up if I don’t do it perfectly. I’m buying more organic foods, shopping at the regular store less (which, like a previous poster, was harder than I thought because I loved the rush from getting those coupon deals). Cooking from scratch more, even chicken nuggets and french fries, which are way better than McD’s or wherever.

    Next on my list is making my own kefir, then maybe baking bread. Somewhere along the way I’d like to buy part of a cow and convince one of my country friends to raise chickens. :)


  11. Therese says

    I’ve been lurking for a couple of months now. I cook most of our foods from scratch and I’m slowly making the change to whole grain and organic. I made home made hamburger buns that were half whole wheat flour and they are pretty good. I tried making banana muffins, but they tasted a little bitter to me (same bag of flour, I store it in the freezer). My husband thought they were fine. They also didn’t rise. Do I have to change baking soda or baking powder proportions when cooking whole wheat? Should I use Pastry Flour instead? Another question – my market carries “raw sugar” and “Turbinado” sugar. Is this the same thing that you are using?Thanks for the help.


  12. says

    I think I am doing better everyday. I started buying from a food coop and I finally got my Rapadura. I used it in my apple pie filling that I was freezing. One change at a time! Thank you for your help and guidance.


  13. says

    Its only taken me a few days to start thinking about making some changes. Mostly because it’s been rattling around in my head for some time. Until I ran across your blog (which feels like a great source of support) I was making small unsuccessful attempts at changing. I’m still in the thinking process. I first have made a list of the resources I have available. Ex. I have a friend who raises chickens, she brings me eggs, and I know we have GREAT veggies here in NJ and friends who have their own gardens. The milk thing I’ll have to work on. I loved the real milk I used to get when we lived in Germany. I usually cook from scratch with a supplement of a few boxed items, cornbread mix ect… I need to focus on the whole wheat flour. Now that I know my superhero mom (Laura) doesn’t grow the wheat she grinds, I think I can get into grinding it myself. Baby steps…Thanks for your help.


  14. says

    Don’t take this wrong, but I think I was most encouraged by the post where you mentioned that you’ve been eating this way and cooking this way for just 3 or 4 or 5? years. Is that right? You DID say that, right Laura? I’m remembering something about how you used to be the coupon queen and then you had to change when you found out about all the nastiness in most “coupon” foods. Well… if I’ve got my facts straight (I’ll be really embarrassed if I just made all that up!), you’ve come a LONG way in a few years and THAT is very encouraging!

    As for me, I’ve always loved to cook and bake. I’ve always made lots of things from scratch, but… I’ve also always used a lot of butter flavored Crisco and margarine. And white flour. And sugar. NO MORE CRISCO OR MARGARINE in my kitchen now. Woo-hoo! And lots more whole wheat flour (not ground by me, but by a flour mill just an hour from here!) I’m looking more closely at labels, and expanding my garden, and making applesauce and homemade graham crackers. But I know there is a long way to go. I’m still wrestling with cost issues… maybe I’ll post about that someday. Don’t want to take up any more comment space here. Sheeesh. Thanks so much for your encouragement. AND your recipes!


  15. says

    I had cancer 2 years ago while preggy with #6, I really want to eat healthy like they recommend however it is so expensive especially with a large family! I try my best but goodness….


  16. Sharon says

    Have you seen the TV commercial that is trying to sell us on the “fact” that high fructose corn syrup is a natural and healthy product? I argue back at the TV when I see this commercial. I work at a grocery store and see how much of this junk is bought daily. I don’t think too many people take the time to cook. Just nuke it and go. Also the people on food stamps seem to be the worst of all about buying convience foods and junk food.


    Megan Reply:

    Ha ha. I argue with the tv, too. Just becasue it has the same nutrition as sugar doesn’t make it good for us. Who ever said refined sugar is healthy?


  17. Emily Kay says

    We have been eating pretty healthy for about 4 1/2 years now. After I gave birth to my first child, I developed a low functioning thyroid. My numbers were borderline, so I opted to not go on any medication. Instead, I started studying nutrition. I was able to reverse my thyroid problem and increase my energy. With 3 little ones 4 and under I need that! We only use whole wheat flour, pasta, brown rice, ect. I make most everything from scratch now days. We love making bread. I don’t grind my flour, though. I dont have a grinder and dont know where to get the wheat berries? We also avoid refined sugar. I use sucanat, agave nectar and raw honey alot. We avoid hydrogenated oils and HFCS like the plague! I buy organic where I can…I hate that it cost more. We are a 1 income family of 5 and money is tight! But, I put health before wealth. I have recently found a source for fresh, local, organic, raw milk…but it is 9 dollars per gallon! I cant do that:( I do buy organic dairy, though. I really love this topic, and all the topics on this blog. This is one of two blogs that I take the time to read regularly. Thankyou, Laura. I am also homeschooling and trying to raise godly children and be a godly wife. This is an extremely encouraging sight and a GREAT resource!


  18. says

    Baby steps, right? I’ve managed to switch from margarine to butter…I think the hardest part is finding/adapting recipes to use the ‘better for you’ ingredients. On the plus side, we do a pretty good job eating made from scratch stuff most of the time. (Except when my husband goes shopping and comes home with a 10-lb box of corn dogs on a great sale!) Why IS the cheapest food so often the worst for you??


  19. says

    I’m so excited I found your site! I’ve recently hopped on the natural and organic foods bandwagon and have been scouring the internet for resources to help me in my quest. I’ve been reading 2 books: Fast Food Nation and Twinkie, Deconstructed and well, my mind about convenience foods changed drastically. Anyway, this is helpful and encouraging. You should check out a documentary called King Corn. It’s a really interesting look at how corn has affected much of what we eat today that’s not a whole food. I’m so glad I found this site!


  20. says

    I’ve been checking out your site for a while… and love it. I grew up in a house where we made a lot of things for real (not out of a box) like tomato sauce, jellies, etc., but since getting married and moving away from home, we’re trying to establish our own healthy living life style while being grad students! Right now, we’re working on finishing up boxed goods in our pantry, and moving forward from there. We do make our own apple sauce, and bread, and often soups and dinner dishes… but I’m excited to try some of your recipes — graham crackers look excellent. Thanks for the tips.


  21. says

    Well, the changes I have made so far are less convenience foods, baking from scratch when I can, and more produce. We used to be a boxed family. My cabinets were FULL of prepackaged everything, from fruit to bread and from cookies to cakes. Now we have more food in the fridge than in the cabinets (I am told that is a good thing :-) And most of it is healthier fare than we used to eat. I have not switched to all whole wheat yet, I am making changes a little at a time, the family isn’t noticing as much as they would if I just did it all at once. Oh, and the grains. I just HAVE to try soaking them! That’s my next step, I think. I think I am doing a pretty good job! Thanks for encouraging me :-)


  22. says

    Question: I’d like to boil a chicken like you said. How long will it take? Do I just let it simmer all day?

    Thanks for the great article by the way. I so WANT to feed my family more healthfully, but it seems so hard sometimes. Thanks.


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