Our Healthy Eating Journey Pt. 1


I hear from so many of you about where you are in your healthy eating journey and about how so many of you want to begin eating (and feeding your families) a healthier diet. 

Some of you are in the “Dorito…Hamburger Helper…Twinkie…Jelly Beans are the only vegetable I eat…Please help me I have no idea where to start”…phase.

Some of you are in the “Okay, I pitched all my processed foods in the trash…My pantry now holds a couple of shriveled potatoes and a half a peanut…What should I do now?”…phase.

Some of you are in the “I just came home from the store with a package of brown rice, some bananas, a bag of whole wheat flour and a pound of butter…What in the world am I supposed to do I do with it?”…phase.

Some of you are in the “We’re getting there…I’m just trying to convince my family that eating vegetables and whole wheat bread is cool”…phase.

Some of you are in the “I’ve been feeding my family healthy food forever and I just need new recipes”…phase.

Some of you have been working to eat healthy for years longer than I have and are in the “Here Laura, let me teach you a thing or two about fermenting your pickles”…phase.

We’re all on our own journey to healthy eating.  No two family situations are the same. 

Many of you may assume that our family has been eating a healthy diet forever. When I receive your emails or read your comments that say, “I have no idea where to start when it comes to eating healthy – I didn’t grow up eating healthy the way you did”….it makes me realize that I haven’t told you enough about our healthy eating journey.

We actually only started caring about eating healthy just a very few years ago.  Before that time, my pantry was full of boxed cereal and spaghettios and whatever else I could get for cheap or free with coupons.

And oh my goodness…did you know that I am absolutely and very much a recovering Pepsi addict? 

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share our family’s healthy eating journey with you. I’ll tell you what my husband and I grew up eating and I’ll share how we ate when we were first married and as our children started coming along.

I’ll share what made us want to make changes in our diets…how we went about making the changes…how we could afford it…how we convinced our kids that eating healthy was delicious…I’ll even share about how I was able once and for all give up Pepsi.

Then, after I finish those posts, I’ll launch into a new series on the basics of Making Foods from Scratch…so that EVERYONE can see that it IS possible to eat a healthy diet without breaking the bank or breaking your back or breaking a nail. (Though I do sometimes have bread dough or garden soil under my nails.)

I would love for you to leave a comment to let us know where you are in your healthy eating journey. Knowing where you are will help me know exactly where I need to go with some of my future posts. Plus, I think it will be great for all of us to see that we are on this journey together, even if we’re in different places. I think we can all use encouragement, no matter where we are in the journey!  Thanks!

This post is linked to Frugal Fridays.

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  1. says

    We gave up our beloved soda pop about 6 months ago. We still miss it, but are surviving!

    I’ve been making mostly everything from scratch for about a year now. I just started trying to work in organics about 3 months ago. I am still struggling with switching to whole wheat and getting enough fruits and veggies and reducing our meat intake. And I wonder if I am still using too much butter!! LOL


  2. says

    Our journey to better eating came with a move – US to overseas second world society – no convenience foods available. It was a serious learning experience. The major flipout was when I couldn’t purchase spaghetti sauce in any of the grocery stores for 3 months. I left the whole cart of groceries (hadn’t gotten to anything that would spoil stage of my shopping) right there. I couldn’t handle it. That was 3.5 years ago and it has been a great journey for our health.


  3. Hamons Family says

    Great idea for a series! We are in the trenches of healthful eating, although we continue to define what healthful means to us. For example, we moved from frozen chicken tenders to cooking whole chickens and now we are looking for sources of local, organic chicken. I love that I can have my basics on hand and make a variety of yummy, healthful dishes, but I am still looking to increase our recipe base.


  4. says

    I’ve long been interested in nutrition/fitness. I’ve read a lot, talk about it a lot, try a lot of different things.
    In 2009, I read a book called “Real Food” by Nina Planck which is indirectly how I stumbled upon your blog. I read the book upon a recommendation of a friend who I was speaking with about some digestive issues my son was having at the time. My husband and I also read and did the South Beach diet in ’09. I like the principles of the South Beach; however, I think it indirectly got me hooked on diet sodas and splenda, though I try to ingest these w/ moderation.

    I can be all over the map in philosophy and practice depending on the day. I have three little ones at home (two 5 yr. old boys and an almost 3 yr. old girl). I am not a purist about anything, but I do try to steer clear of hydrogenated oils. I haven’t gone organic b/c of the cost. We do boxed cereals for breakfast most days, but I am picky about what the kids are allowed to eat. Seriously, if I tried to outline exactly how I operate when it comes to this topic, you’d see I’m all over the map and a walking contradiction. I cannot for the life of me bring myself to allowing my kids to eat poptarts, but one of our family favorite places to treat ourselves is Dunkin Donuts.

    I’m looking forward to your series! Can’t wait to hear about your journey.


  5. says

    We’re in the “we’re getting there phase”. I am slowly but surely getting the kids and hubby on board. He is not a fruit or veggie eater, but he is trying to be a good example for our boys. You will not find any boxed anything in our house these days, but moving to wheat in baking is my challenge. I only use unbleached flour right now, so we’re making a little progress. All of our dairy and eggs are organic and we are working on our second garden for the spring.

    I am loving learning how to make things from scratch and I’ve found it doesn’t really take much more time than from a box. The bonus for me is my boys are learning how to cook this way! I tell them when they go to college they can charge their roommates a fee to cook for them! I am really looking forward to your story.


  6. Elizabeth says

    I appreciate you and all that you do. I am looking forward to this series!
    We try to be healthy around here…..some days are better than others. I do look at your menu plans quite often for inspiration.

    Thank you,


  7. says

    We’ve only been on the journey for about a year, but we are jump in with both feet kind of people, so we weren’t very gradual. We use organics almost exclusively, whole wheat/unrefined everything, and since we don’t have a reliable source of raw dairy, we use local organic un-homogonized VAT pasteurized dairy. My family has been so good about the changes, your recipes have been a HUGE help!!! Some of the things that I’m still feeling out are soaking grains and more advanced things like that. I’m not very good at planning ahead far enough. Keep those recipes and tips coming, I can’t wait for this series. Thank you!!


  8. says

    I’m really looking forward to this series!

    I grew up in a family where the “vegetables” were mashed potatoes and canned corn, beans, and the occasional peas. I don’t remember ever seeing salad in my childhood home until I was gone to college. There was never a tomato, onion, head of lettuce, or any other whole vegetable for that manner in our house. Not many things were made from scratch. I don’t blame my mom at all. That’s just how she grew up too – in a rural Kansas plain-Jane meat and potatoes family.

    I’ve been trying to make adjustments, but it’s difficult and a little overwhelming. I’ve started making some recipes from scratch – especially since I recently discovered that I’m allergic to eggs and have to make substitutes for them in many things.

    It’s been a hard task to re-train my taste buds. I am making strides though!

    Today I bought an onion at the store for the first time to use in soup instead of onion powder. Preparing it to put in the soup was a guess, since I’ve never seen anyone chop up an onion in my life. We’ve come a long way from how we used to eat when we first got married – lots of boxed dinners, chips, etc. But we have a long ways to go!

    Thanks in advance for sharing your journey!


  9. Alicia says

    We are getting there as well. We are making better choices all the way around. I grind my own wheat and incorporate that in most bread products. We try to make as much from scratch as possible. Starting in March, we will be participating in a farm share. We will be able to get raw milk, farm fresh eggs, and local garden produce. We are so excited about this. This type of products is fairly limited in our area. Our biggest holdout is cold cereal, snack crackers and juice consumption. We will be working on those things this year. Also including more fruits, grains, and vegetables. I am looking forward to this series and check your site almost daily. Thanks so much for what you do.


  10. Dionne says

    We have been eating whole grains for a few years now. All of our grains are organic, most fruits and vegi are organic. We drink raw milk,homemade kifer, buy farm fresh eggs, soak only about 50% of our grains, buy fresh beef that is gain feed (until we can get a side of grass feed beef), and have a lot of allergies in the family.

    Because of cost I buy non RBST cheese instead of raw organic cheese. I do buy organic packaged cereals and cookies in small amounts. We do have a problem with our sweet tooth we use more sugar (evaporated cane juice) then I would like. We use local raw honey and pure maple syrup. Our vegetable consumption needs to be increased greatly.


  11. Sharon says

    I don’t even know where to begin with where we are because I tend to always think about what we could be doing, instead of looking at what we have done. So, I appreciated your phase breakdown–it helped me to see that we are making progress little by little. We eat all whole grain breads (I don’t mill my own grain or make my own bread,…yet), rice and pastas. We eat organic as much as possible-especially when it comes to the dirty dozen. If not certified organic, then it comes from a local farm that doesn’t use pesticides. I have a local source for free-range eggs. We purchase 100% grass-fed, hormone/antibiotic free beef from a local source. I’ve been enjoying my organic butter–YUM! The area I have not ventured into is raw milk or making fermented dairy products— seems very daunting to me. We do purchase kefir on a fairly regular basis for smoothies and soaking our steel cut oats. We have recently just started making our own chicken stock– Wow! It’s so rich and delicious. A few of the many things we have implemented over the past year are we have switched out all of our non-stick to cast iron (you should see my arm muscles), purchased a toaster oven to use instead of the microwave, and just today I received our cod liver oil in the mail. The area I struggle with is “fast food”. I have to confess, giving up the microwave has been very hard! My leftovers tend to turn out dry–things like rice, pastas, chicken. I realize this is a work in progress and I’ve been persevering, but there are days I just want to zap our food and get out of the kitchen fast. However, when we decided to start investing more in the quality of food we’re eating, it just didn’t make sense to nuke away all the nutrients that we’re paying top dollar for. Okay, I’m going to stop here, because truly, I could go on and on, and on…. Oh, one last thing, another struggle is feeling like a pioneer in this sort of lifestyle, that is why I’m so grateful for blogs like yours! Thank you for your encouragement, humor, transparency! Blessings, Sharon


  12. says

    I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series!! I’ve been working on moving our family toward healthier eating for a long time now… but it seems it’s a work in progress. Boxed cereals (Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios) are one of the few processed foods left in the pantry. I do some, but not all of our baking from scratch. I haven’t begun grinding my own wheat yet, but I would love to get there one day.


  13. says

    Thanks for the encouragement, Laura. I really enjoy how “real” you are! We’re all on a journey, some of us are just at different mile markers!

    As for our health eating journey, I was raised eating fairly well, but began slacking terrible as I got into my teens. When I got married I cared more and began to look into nutrition; however, when our children began coming along I got really serious and decided to make a change–and Dan has reluctantly come along :)

    We’re trying to get more whole foods, vegetables, and grass-fed meat, as well as raw milk. I never was into processed foods–as a married woman at least–but I want to grow in what I make from scratch, especially bread!


  14. Amy says

    We’re still in the hamburger helper and doritos phase. But we’re trying to replace things and get there. Help, Laura! :)


  15. says

    I have been on the healthy eating journey for almost 1 year (not quite). April will be my bench mark. I wanted to *diet*. And end up finding out my problem was my eating habits. I discovered whole grains, nuts, fruits, veggies (I love). Didnt so much then! Its amazing to think of all the healthy (delicious) veggies + fruits americans dont consume due to ignorance. Alot of people just dont know! Awesome posts + God bless!


  16. says

    There is no rhyme or reason to how we eat. I try, then fall off the wagon. Yesterday, I was tired so it was McDonald’s drive thru.

    I do try a lot though.


  17. says

    We are firmly in the, “We’re getting there stage.” We drink only raw milk, don’t allow cereal, cook everything from scratch, grind our own grain, and have tried out some of the Nourshing Traditions things as well. While I’ve managed to do the soaked, yeast bread, I have yet to find a recipe for pancakes or muffins that I like using the soaked flour technique. The pancakes never seemed to have a cooked texture after the batter sits overnight – might be something I’m doing wrong – I just don’t know. So, for now, were in a holding pattern; using the soaking method for all yeast breads, and no soaking for quick breads/pancakes. Interestingly enough, I do have a recipe using sourdough starter for waffles (so, of course the dough soaks overnight) that turns out very well.


    Courtney Reply:

    We really like Sue Gregg’s soaked pancake recipe. You should give it a try! :)


    Morgan Conner Reply:

    We love those pancakes too!


  18. Carmen says

    I have been trying to make changes in our diet for the past few months. Just baby steps right now. I look forward to reading your series. Thanks!!


  19. Stina says

    First: LOVE your blog!
    Second: We are in the ‘need help on getting started’ phase.
    We WANT to make better choices, especially with a 2 and 4 year old who are definitely aware of those choices. I guess I just don’t know where to start. When I think of truly healthy foods, I have a few go-to recipes but that is about it.

    I also get stuck on trying to save money by using coupons or looking for good sales. As you know, the majority of those items are processed and not healthy. I want to put a stop to that and still save money.

    One of my goals for the year was to learn how to make most of our food from scratch. The timing of your series and your layout of going over so many aspects in such detail is something that I see as a blessing. Thank you for doing this. :)


  20. says

    I have been slowly moving my family closer to eating healthier. I am in the process of doing the eating from the pantry challenge, and I am trying to get rid of all of our prepackaged items. Then next time I go grocery shopping I will buy more items that are made from scratch, and try to avoid the inner aisles. I can’t wait for the rest of this series and the one following. I just love when you post new recipes and I love the pictures you take of them. It really helps me to see what it is suppose to look like ;)
    Thank you!!!


  21. says

    I pretty much know what we should and shouldn’t eat. It’s just applying what I’ve learned. My husband is also a VERY picky eater so it’s hard getting him to go along with the healthier foods.

    I’ll do really well for maybe a week. And then it’s back to the cookies and drive thru dinners! Ugh!!

    I’m SOOO excited for this series!!


  22. says

    Before I became pregnant, I made our whole wheat bread and pizza dough from scratch along with all of our meals. Then, I got too tired and had almost zero appetite in the first trimester so I fell into the convenience food and fast food trap.

    Now, since my energy and appetite are starting to come back, I’m at the – been there and needing to get back phase!


  23. Danielle says

    Woohoo Laura! I gave up Pepsi, 6 yrs ago. When we get Chinese (LOVE Chinese) we give us a free can of Pepsi. Guess what? They are still in the fridge. it’s not even a battle anymore. I know for me it was all God, I was drinking a case of Pepsi + a week. We have a saying in our church. No stress, no strain, no struggle!

    I’m looking fwd to this series so much!


  24. Andrea says

    I am very much excited for this series. I try to eat healthy but there are some boxed foods in our panty…not much though. It is tough because my husband is very set in his food ways. Many nights he is not home for dinner so that frees me to experiment more with the kids. I would love to see more dinner time recipes that are meatless. I try to incorporate a couple of vegetarian meals into our dinner menu but need a few new ones to rotate into the mix. Although anything you include in the series will be of a help to most of us! Thank you.


  25. says

    I’ve been doing a lot more of my own cooking since we figured out that my son is sensitive to artificial colors & flavors & preservatives a few months ago. His reaction looked like ADHD & eliminating those artificial things has greatly helped. Now my husband & I are trying to add in even more healthy eating to try to naturally reduce his cholesterol and avoid some of the illness we’ve seen in our parents & grandparents. When I handed him a clementine last night and said, “This is dessert,” he looked a little appalled and ate half of it. I questioned how one could only eat half of a TINY, sweet & juicy clementine, he replied, “Baby steps, baby steps…” : )


  26. says

    i am very excited about this series! thanks for starting it.
    we are in the middle stages of healthy-eating and occasional junk food.


  27. Esther says

    Our biggest problem is breakfast. We eat relatively healthy (no processed foods, lots of fruits & veggies.) and everything is made from scratch. However, I would like to eliminate almost all boxed cereal. I do have an amazing granola recipe that I make and we eat with yogurt or fresh fruit, but I need other ideas that can be eaten quickly before we all head off to work and school. I’ve made and frozen pancakes, waffles and muffins before, but we forget that they’re in the freezer and we just grab cereal from the pantry out of habit. Suggestions would be so helpful!


  28. says

    We are about to head into our 4th year of gardening, and my goal is 90% organic this year. I started grinding grain about 6 months ago after telling my husband about this blog and your comments on ground grain. We still have boxed cereal once a week since clean-up is faster on the day I volunteer at the Y. Soda isn’t really an issue, unless we have friends over. We switched to drinking local beer, with the exception of the occasional Guinness, and I spend half of my grocery money supporting the small organic grocer in town (the other half goes to a family owned conventional store). That being said, we have so much to learn still. I bought myself Nourishing Traditions for my birthday, and can’t wait to learn more about your eating journey. Kifer is still new to us, we use buttermilk. I would also like to try cheese making too, since you made it look so easy. Can’t wait to hear how everyone else is doing on their journey!


  29. Stephenie says

    I really need your help. I want to feed my family healthier foods but like a commenter said before me, I am so overwhelmed. My husband is not “on board” and that makes it very difficult. I need baby steps even though I’m an “all or nothing” kind of person. I had kicked my soda habit for a few weeks until my mil brought sodas when she came to visit for Christmas. Now I’m working to kick that again.


    Danielle Reply:

    You’ll be ok… just resolved that what you have left is what you’ll drink and no more will be bought. I know you can do it!

    When we go out to dinner as a family, I’ll get a Sprite (if I forget bottled water, I can’t stand tap water!). And I have no problems not drinking soda when I get home, altho there is orange, Pepsi, and Coca Cola in our home. They are no longer a temptation to me. Like I said above, this is coming from a person who drank a case + of Pepsi a week. I know I can’t drink a Pepsi or Coke (no reason to tempt oneself lol) but the other drinks I can drink and be aok.

    What I do need help on, is what to drink. We don’t drink alcohol at all. And I’m currently drinking a tea mix, defcaf, diet, and bottled water, but I’m getting bored with it.

    At work yesterday, I had my normal sandwich for lunch on a whole wheat wrap. I usually have it on a flour wrap, but they were out lol. And the wheat wrap was pretty good, a little sweet, but I liked it!


  30. Katie says

    Over the last year, I have been working (very) slowly toward feeding my family an all natural/whole food diet (ie, no artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives)…with a lot of slip ups and “start overs”. mostly due to lack of organization, not enough money and well, pregnancy cravings :) My husband and I just watched Food Inc. and made the decision to start over for the new year. I just went to the grocery store and bulked up on organic dairy products,(I haven’t quite made it to the step of going “raw”) organic/free range eggs, chicken, etc. (on sale and with a ton of coupons!). and now I am looking at all of this stuff and have no idea what to do with it or what to feed my family! HELP ME LAURA!!! :) thanks so much for these posts!


  31. Meghan says

    I am sooo looking forward to this. I have sooo much to learn, feel overwhelmed and comparitively to many of these comments, I am in the beginning stage. I do have the desire to change..Thank you Laura!


  32. Rebekah J says

    We are definitely on board. I grind our wheat make almost everything from scratch. My husband hunts and so we have venison for about 6 months out of the year. I’m trying to get more organic veggies when I can but pretty much all our grains I buy organic and we drink raw milk, we also have chickens so we have lots of fresh eggs. It’s so nice to know where your food is coming from and know what’s been done to it. I really hate gardening but am going to try to at least plant some potatoes this year.


  33. Nancy Werwick says

    I am looking forward to this series. My family and I desire to eat healthy, but I’m a bit overwhelmed. We live on one income and money is an issue. I live in Ohio and am finding it hard to find healthy food that dosn’t cost a lot (we do have a Whole Foods close by, but their prices are out of my range). Where do I start? What is the best investment of time and money to get the most health benefit? Thanks for sharing your journey with us!


  34. Sandi says

    Where are we….picture it- I’m sitting on the floor in the fetal position whispering “just try this…it’s really good, I know that it’s made from white whole wheat flour, just try it…it tastes just like white bread.” So, I’M ready, um the rest of the family-not quite there yet. Help. :-)


  35. says

    I’ve only read some of the comments, but they’re really interesting.

    I’m fascinated to learn that you’re a recovering Pepsi addict. Mt. Dew is my shortfall. I guzzle it, when I drink it. I know how it’s probably the most unhealthy thing imaginable, and the calories are 100% HFCS. It’s part of a bad emotional eating cycle when I get stressed out, or when I get to feeling really giddy and energetic.

    Right now I would really like some sugary junk food, but there is only wholesome food in the house. So we have made a lot of changes, like all homemade bread products and raw milk. But the cravings are still there.


  36. says

    Over the last year, we have slowly been moving toward healthier eating habits. I buy few processed foods, try to buy seasonal, fresh produce and limit candy and soda consumption. I am definitely trying to cook more from scratch, so look forward to seeing the recipes you will be sharing!


  37. says

    As we near 40 we are trying to eat healthier. I have always made well balanced meals. I am slowly and in small amounts working whole wheat and grains into our diet. I have to take baby steps as b/f is not totally accepting. He’ll eat it and I’ll say guess what, that pizza crust was made with 1/2 whole wheat. He’ll say that wasn’t too bad. LOL

    Looking forward to your posts Laura.

    Take care~ Amy


  38. Lisa says

    Laura- Thank you so much for your website. I check it daily for new posts. My family has been on the healthy journey for more than a year now with “daily” slip-ups but we keep trying. I grind my wheat with my Nutramill and try to make most of our bread. We have a source for farm-fresh organic eggs that are delicious. I use them for making noodles for our soaps. I also have a source for organic chicken and beef. There’s nothing like homemade stock. It is so rich. We usually put a half-cow in the freezer for winter. My brother’s family raises hogs for 4-H so we get a very pampered and well taken care of hog for the winter. My cousin just purchased a milk cow so we get approximately 2 gallons of raw milk each week. I can’t say enough about the delicious taste of the milk and I feel very confident about the way the cow is being taken care of. This gives of a source of milk, cream, buttermilk and whey. We also just switched from Sam’s Club to Costco because of the amount of organic vegetables that Costco carries.

    Wow, seeing all of our resources spelled out makes me thank my Lord even more for his provision. Now I just need his help to not fall of the whole food wagon and give in to “fast food”. A couple of weeks ago we stopped at Burger King and after my nine year old complained about her stomach hurting and decided she didn’t want to eat fast food any more. Yeah!!! One down, two to go.


  39. Jessica says

    I’m really looking forward to this series. I bake most everything from scratch and we use real butter and organic milk (I can’t get raw around here). My next step is finding local sources of meat and poultry. And my hubby and I are discussing a grain mill. But first I need to find a good source of grains. I’m really wanting to get an idea of what a good price is per pound of wheat berries, corn, oats, etc. I spend a lot on wheat free flour for our daughter with allergies, so if I could grind my own rice and oat flour, that might help a bit.
    The place where I’m really dragging my feet is switching to unrefined sweeteners. I’m having a hard time paying the 1.79/lb for sucanat and the $8 for the raw honey. We live in WV and azure standard doesn’t come anywhere near here. Plus the demand for real, local food and unrefined stuff just isn’t big here (which is why WV is the 2nd most obese state in the nation). I love baking and experimenting though (this week I’m going to try my hand at homemade corn tortillas) so I think working with the other sweeteners might be fun.


  40. Carissa White says

    I would say I have been trying to “get there” for a while now. I have read several different books leading me this way or that. Some towards a vegan type diet and yet we as a family hunt – a lot and well that never really took place that we were all vegan but we would have those types of meals a few times a week. I just recently purchased the Nourashing Traditions book and well, now I purchase eggs from a farmer near me, and Raw Milk from a farmer near me. We had been on a CSA program for the last couple of years and although it was kind of spendy in 2009 we had our first garden which was a wonderful thing – except I planted 20 some zucchini plants…once you stop laughing you have to feel a little sorry for me. I became known as the zucchini lady where I work. Lovely time, still have a ton of it in my freezer if you want to make the treck to WY to get some. :) Anyhow, right now I’m at the point of trying to loose a bit of weight after my last pregnancy…my daughter is now 2 so really it should be gone and I was actually loosing great weight while nursing but gained a bit of it back. We do green smoothies a lot, not so much now in the winter but in the summer we have them for breakfast every morning which helps with our veggie and fruit intake.

    I can’t wait to learn more from you, it has been a great adventure, and I am sure that it isn’t over.

    Thank you,


  41. says

    Pepsi? Ewww… Now Coke–THAT was hard to give up! :o)

    I’m in the stage where I’m really quite knowledgeable about real food and nutrition. I’ve read all the books, I’ve watched Food Inc., I read a lot of Nourishing Traditions type bloggers. But implementing it all is where I struggle. Some of it is that I am just simply not going to eat things like beet kvass. And if I’m not going to eat it, my husband certainly isn’t! Some of it is his tastes. He is really very supportive of me planning healthier meals, but he doesn’t want to eat “weird food.” Some of it is budget related. I’ve figured out a lot of ways to cut costs while eating real food. But no matter which way you slice it, it does cost more to eat this way. We’re okay with that, because we know we’re getting something priceless with that extra money, but we only have so much. So prioritizing is something I’m working on. If I can’t buy everything the way I’d like to, what is most important? Right now I’ve focused my efforts on animal products (meat, milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.). I know about the dangers of pesticides, but I think the effects of conventionally produced animal products are more dangerous for our bodies and our environment.

    Sorry for the long comment! I look forward to hearing about your own journey, and I appreciate everything you’ve taught me since I started reading your blog!


  42. Dawn says

    Our journey began about 7 years ago with Stephen Pratt’s “Superfoods” book (highly recommend!) However, he never gives GOD the credit for the incredible way foods were created to contain components that work together to promote good health (synergy!). But once we saw how valuable these foods are and made the effort to squeeze more of them into our diet, it just didn’t leave room for much junk. I also worked toward eliminating processed foods and mixes at that point and cooking from scratch with wheat flour from the store. I felt much better, but the family thought the baked goods were just O.K. Then I had a friend who introduced milling to me and it took two years for the “lightbulb” to finally go on. “Oh, NOW I get it! The freshly milled flours are ALIVE and what we’ve been eating off the shelf is DEAD!” (oils, vit. E removed! Go to breadbeckers.com and read articles by Sue Becker for more info.). Switching to milled flour made all the difference in the world. Baked goods made with freshly milled flour taste SO MUCH BETTER!!!! So I just want to encourage anyone who may be where I was – attempting to bake healthier with store bought wheat flour but disappointed with the results – give the milling a try! The equipment will pay for itself in a short time, and there are so many health benefits (our family experiences fewer bouts of colds/flu and shorter duration of illnesses and daughters eczema disappeared!) so you save money on doctor visits/Rx drugs, too! My challenge now is finding organic foods that we can afford. Often I just have to buy conventional just because of the expense. We are planning to garden more, which I hope will help.


  43. Jen says

    Oh laura, please please, tell me how you stopped drinking soda. i am a mt dew addict. i have tried to give it up soooo many times but i just cant do it! i know it is all about self control. but let me tell you, that is something i lack. poop. i almost did it once. and then my husband was gone for a week and i got really stressed out. its almost like an alcohol or drug addiction. only not as bad. please, please tell me your secret!


    Char Reply:

    Jen, I know Laura will respond about this at some point on the blog,
    but I thought I’d give you a word of encouragement too. I’ve been
    addicted to diet coke, and I just recently gave it up. I only have a
    little over a week of “freedom” under my belt, but I agree with you that
    it can feel as strong as an alcohol or drug addiction. It’s a mental
    thing for me – not really all that physical. Stress with my kids
    triggers it more than anything else.

    I just started a new blog, and my first post was about getting rid of
    the diet coke. Not sure if it would be of help, but feel free to
    click over and read it: http://ahundredpounds.com/no-more-diet-coke
    (Laura said it was ok to post this, so I promise I’m not trying
    to spam her comments). :-)



  44. amy says

    Eating healthier is my family’s goal for 2010. We have a long way to go, but have made progress. Hubby still wants his diet soda and chips to take to work. I also have been baking bread, but don’t know how to make it last longer. It seems like it only lasts a day or two before it dries out. I wrap it and put in in a bag. Is there something I am missing? Thank you Laura for all you do! I love this site!


  45. Bessers says

    My healthy eating strengths – fresh ground whole wheat flour in bread, rolls, pancakes, and pizza crust. Lots of fresh fruits & veggies.

    Where I know there’s lots of room for improvement – I still use store-bought bread, bagels, cereal, granola bars, etc 70% of the time for convenience.

    I must say, the other day I was out running errands and bought the kids & I big pretzels as a special treat snack. I’ve made your pretzels with fresh-ground wheat and couldn’t believe how empty and blah the ones we bought tasted by comparison.


  46. says

    We are kind of in the middle on somethings and the VERY beginning on others.

    I am needing help with picky children. I am having a hard time on some recipes winning them over. I have always made baked oatmeal, but I made the “healthier” version this time and well it DID NOT go over well, but my dh liked it so thats a huge improvement!
    I LOVE your blog and thank you so much for all you do and helping me on my journey as well!


  47. Bethany says


    LOVE,LOVE,LOVE your blog and I’m really looking forward to this series.

    We’re all over the place…I try to eat whole grains, veggies, fruit and eliminate artificial sweeteners, sugars, etc. but my husband (whom I love dearly) is (self-admitted) extraordinarily particular. He doesn’t like whole grain anything, he won’t touch veggies except for the occasional raw baby carrots in a bowl of water, and isn’t as concerned as I am about the sugar issue. In the past I’ve just let it go, but now we have a 6 month old son who is just starting to eat solid foods and I really want him to have good examples to follow…*SIGH*

    My other challenge is managing my time. Being a (new) mom, I’m still getting used to finding time for cleaning the house, taking care of my son, preparing meals, etc and while I’m getting better, it’s going to be a challenge to squeeze in making breads and meals from scratch each day that my husband will eat. Did I mention we’re on a much more strict budget too now that I’m staying at home? Still, I know lots of other ladies do it with more constraints than I do, so I’m eager to learn how!!

    The good news is that I used to be addicted to Dt. Mt. Dew and when I got pregnant with my son, I had to drop it because of the caffeine. Now, I very rarely drink soda at all, which is so different, but great for me!!! We really can do it!!

    None of this is meant to be complaining. I am ridiculously blessed and SO, SO grateful to God for all He has provided for us. Ok, I’m done now…Thanks again and have a great day!!


  48. says

    I’ve been cooking most things from scratch for quite some time, but they’re not necessarily healthy meals.
    Healthier eating habits is something I definitely wan to implement in my household. Needless to say I am looking foward to your posts.


  49. says

    So excited about this series!
    I just got a grain mill for xmas! whoo hoo! So we are finally able to grind our own wheat. :) We have been eating an organic whole foods diet for about 5 years. We still need to get more veggies in our diet. And we eat out too much. We have 4 littles under the age of 7 so I think perhaps this will just get better with time as I will eventually have more time to spend making food. I would like to know more about growing and canning enough to survive through our long winter (we always seem to run out by january) and about how to soak grains. And also how to find a raw milk source here in Wisconsin where it is illegal to sell it? (i don’t get that) Anyway…thanks for all you do Laura!


    Deanna Reply:

    I have a relative who is trying to get raw milk where it is illegal to sell it. I believe he is going to buy “stock” in the cow. Therefore, as part owner he may do with whatever he wants with his share of milk. Not sure as to the specifics of his agreement.


  50. Danielle says

    I reallllllllllllllly am opposed to drinking raw milk, or giving it to my family. What would be the 2nd best thing?


    Andrea Reply:

    Probably it would be getting raw milk and pasturizing it yourself so that it isn’t “ultra” pasturized or homogonized. I suppose next to that would be buying organic milk in the grocery store.


  51. Lynn says

    I definately want to eat more heathly! I do not drink soda or eat anything with sugar. I eat only wheat bread. My struggles come with cooking and stocking my house with healthy food and not so much processed food. I am single and it seems so much easier to pick up something on the way home from work than go home and cook! I’d like to cook more healthy food at home.

    Thanks for doing this!


  52. Barbara says

    I think we overlap in the phases that you mentioned. . . We started this journey about 4 years ago – – I cook mostly from scratch using natural and organic ingredients when available, grind my wheat, drink filtered water, can foods grown in my garden (organic seeds, no pestisides), love raw milk and free range eggs when I can afford them, use only organic meat and poultry. Stopped eating french fries if and when we eat out, stopped drinking diet pop, but now hooked on regular (aaarrggghhh!). We’re trying to move away from conventional meds and use homeopathic and essential oils, but they don’t work fast enough to satisfy my husband and children. My husband loves that I’m trying to cook healthy and do the right things to make and keep us healthy, but he thinks the kids need Doritos, sugar-laden cereals and Twinkies occassionally so he stocks up when he stops at the store! The other problem we have is that my husband is a very picky eater – no veggies except corn and lettuce! I make the kids eat what they are served, but it’s getting harder now that they are old enough to realize that Daddy doesn’t eat green beans and broccoli.

    I am looking forward to this series!!


  53. says

    We are somewhere in the middle I guess. I don’t buy a lot of junk food, but at the same time I know that I could be doing more. I currently have a Dr. Pepper addiction, probably the worst thing to have while pregnant!! I really would like to cook more from scratch and maybe someday have a garden and grow my own produce. I don’t know how you do it because it seems like I don’t have enough hours in the day.


  54. says

    Well, I’m a water drinker. I try to make everything from scratch. We have a huge garden and my husband does lots of canning. My downfall is chocolate! When we had our son a year ago we decided to make homemade baby food (so easy). From there I started looking on the internet and found this blog and started making your recipes. Thanks for the inspiration. Look forward to hearing more.


  55. Becki says

    We are somewhere in the middle too. A couple of years ago, my new years resolution was to be more “green”. In researching what that means I really started to examine our food choices. My family has never been good at eating vegetables anyway, and that has still not changed, but we are eating far less processed food. I do all of our baking, we have very few canned and boxed foods in the house now. And the ones that are here are left from before (I should probably check expiration dates today!). But I am really looking forward to new ideas and new recipes.

    My big concern with eating healthy is the huge cost increase for my foods that are more healthy. We are on a very, very limited budget. The increased cost of some foods definitely restricts us in many ways.


  56. Danielle says

    I forgot to post on our eating habits lol.

    let’s just say they are close to the doritos/jelly bean category lol. Altho, we do eat veggies w/lunch meals. (we eat our big meals at lunch time too)

    Convenience/fast food/processed junk pretty much sums it up for us. Eating a wheat wrap yesterday was a big deal for me. I was afraid I’d hate it.

    We rarely eat organically, after reading recently, it doesn’t really matter, I’m not really sold on it yet. we don’t eat red meat, or pork, or anything “gamey” (ex deer). so it leaves, poultry and fish.


  57. says

    I’m in the “pitched the boxed food” (for the most part- sometimes use it on busy days when it was on sale). My family thinks it’s cool because my hubby has terrible knees, and eating better has helped that, my boys are too young to know better, candy is a Christmas treat at our house, and my youngest has never known anything other than wheat flour. He doesn’t even like cake and cookies. I’m also in the “it’s just my second year gardening and I’m eating up all the info I can get” stage. And in the “I have NO CLUE what to do next” stage. I have a $200/mo budget to feed my family of five. Have no IDEA how to make that stretch, or where to go to get the healthier things when in the middle of nowhere.. not so much, but way out of the way from anything that’s health oriented. Near a military base, no co-ops nearby.


  58. says

    I really want to start eating healthier. I use half whole wheat in my recipies, brown rice, and try to homemake whenever possible. My husband thinks I’m going overboard. He sees no reason to go healthy, thinks all the foods he’s eating are fine and there’s no reason to change our diet. I’m trying to convince him otherwise. Help!


  59. Janet says

    We have been grinding our own wheat for two years now. My husband got me a Bosch Kitchen Machine mixer for Christmas because of your ‘why husbands should buy their wives grain mills’ post. So, THANK YOU IT IS AWESOME! We drink raw milk, mostly. But buy mostly regular vegetables and cheeses and eggs at the store because we can’t afford the organic stuff. I make most of our food from scratch, but I splurge on Annie’s box macaroni and cheese and Multi Grain Cheerios once in awhile! (Especially because I crave them when I am pregnant!) Oh, and we just started a compost bin this year, and hope to have a garden (in our new backyard!) this summer! Yay!


  60. Holly says

    When I was growing up my mom taught me to cook “from scratch” but I wouldn’t say that we ate healthfully. Three years ago when I was a new bride and faced with having to plan my own dinners I was terrified! We ate a lot of jarred pasta sauce and frozen ravioli and takeout on the many evenings I was too tired from work to figure out what to cook. My poor hubby! Then I had my dear son in late 2008 and started staying home. My hubby finally had a good job and after I got used to having a baby to take care of, I was bored stiff! I watched a lot of cooking shows while nursing, then I started trying the recipes. Then I started reading cookbooks (remember how HUNGRY nursing makes you?) and when I had exhausted almost every book I picked up the one I had saved for last, The Moosewood Cookbook, my MiL had given me. It’s a vegetarian cookbook that has some wonderful recipes for fresh veggies. We ate all our meals from that book for almost the whole month of July 2009. Then when at my MiL’s, I found Nourishing Traditions. So now we’re in the process of finding local sources for our veggies and meat and dairy, and eating soaked, whole grains. I made yoghurt for the first time last week! It was soooo yummy!


  61. Kimberlee says

    It is interesting to see people’s posts. We were forced to eat healthy when diagnosed with celiac disease and therefore unable to eat anything with wheat, rye, barley or oats in it. At the time, very few convenience items were available and I began making everything from scratch. Now, it is just what I do. It is an expensive diet to maintain. I almost cry when I see regular wheat flour on sale for $2.50 for a 10 pound bag or so. I make my bread and it costs between $3 and $5 per loaf to make, but I have so few other options. Sometimes we are put in situations where you just make do and the Lord provides the means. I am not really sure how it works out, but it does. Luckily, we CAN eat fruits and veggies and do so with abandon. Who would have thought my kids would be so excited about a case of grapefruit or the pomegranates we got for CHristmas? Had we not been diagnosed, I suspect we would be a Hamburger Helper and fast food family. So, thank you Lord for celiac disease…I think.


  62. Sarah @ The Monkey Times says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this series, I am so excited about it!! We are in the phase of sometimes we have a salad with dinner, I make things from scratch here and there, and would love to eat healthier because we have some definitely poor eating induced medical issues, not to mention clothes not fitting well phase. (Hopefully that phase doesn’t last as long as it looks, lol!)


  63. says

    We are new to this journey. My 4 year old daughter has a low-grade brain tumor. After some research (and a lot of prayer), we decided to completely change our diet. We used to be a Hamburger Helper, fast food loving family. One day I threw it all out and looked at empty cabinets wondering what to do next. It’s been 3 months since then and I am starting to find my groove in the kitchen. Some things have flopped but we have had some real successes. I know it must bring honor and glory to God to prepare food in a way that nourishes your body from foods that He created for us (instead of a lab somewhere). We still have our fast food moments and somedays I feeled overwhelmed with the amount of items I need to prepare. I have lost weight eating this way (yea!) and my precious daughter is doing great. It feels good to see her munching on broccoli and nuts instead of candy and spaghetti o’s. I still feel like we have a long way to go but I am so grateful for sites like this that provide encouragement!


  64. Chris says

    We drink raw milk, farm raised eggs, and try to avoid MSG and (usually) high fructose corn syrup. I just bought a Vitamix to grind wheat and make things and absolutely love it!


  65. Pam says

    I’ve been on this journey a while. Thankfully, my children love and crave veggies (and sugar, too, but at least they get their veggies). I just got a grain mill and I’m waiting on the grain to arrive. I’d love ideas on storing the grain – I’d like to get “food safe” plastic containers, but I don’t know what or where. Any ideas?

    Thanks for the time and effort that you put into your blog!!


  66. says

    I am so excited to see you posting about this topic! I felt like such a loser when I saw the video of your pantry! Nutritious eating has been an area of guilt for me as a mom. I am trying to wean out most processed foods and cook more from scratch, but am still lacking in a lot of areas. I have tried several of your recipes and loved them. I am looking forward to this series. Thanks!


  67. says

    My journey started when I was told the my chance of every having children was slim. I was healthy before that but hearing the news woke me up. I knew from that moment on I wanted to know that I was doing everything possible to make my body as healthy as it could be. My hope was that by doing that I would create the best possible body to hold a baby. Well, my son is now 2 and a half. Thanks to food allergies I’m at the ” looking for new recipes to adjust” stage..and so I’ve landed here. I still have a soda and sweet from time to time but I figure that makes me human.


  68. RG says

    Can’t wait to dig in and learn. I am so at the beginning of all of this. Thanks for taking the time to lead some of us by the hand.


  69. says

    Ok, so I spend way TOO much on Organic Milk and Real OJ, but can’t give up our Pop-Tarts! HA! We still have cereal in the cabinets b/c I’m not a morning cook! I cook with honey and my 5 pound bag of sugar lasted about a year last time. I love sweets (while I lick the chocolate from my fingers from my batch of “Giant Morning Cookies”) and that is my weakness. A garden would be a lovely thing but I’m a fair weather gardner and hate the heat of the summer. Can’t wait to see how you got started on this and get more pointers on continuing my family’s journey!


  70. says

    We’re somewhere in the middle, I guess! I made the switch to butter; we make a lot from scratch; I try to use whole wheat flour…sometimes. I can and freeze when I get the opportunity We eat fast food once a month or so. :) We still really like good deals, donuts, cereal, and pop tarts.

    Thanks for starting at the beginning for us, I’m looking forward to it!


  71. Melissa says

    We have been in the process for several years now. We drink organic milk, buy organic produce and free range eggs and purchase our beef and chicken ( except boneless,skinless chicken breasts) from a local farmer who’s animals are completely grass-fed. I do grind grain but not nearly enough! I make a mean whole wheat cinnamon roll but can’t get bread right. We do eat out too much and I also have a serious soft drink addiction! We also eat too much sugar. For me, I’d like to learn more about gardening ( especially gardening for people with brown thumbs!). I do like to can and make our own jam and green beans. Time sometimes gets away and it seems daunting to cook everything from scratch every day, 3 times a day. Laura, you are such an inspiration and make it look so easy. We need to learn to incorporate many more veggies into our diet. Any tips for hiding them?


  72. Lois says

    I don’t know where we are at! I think I was always a healthy eater, but it was more for cheaper than convenience. I cook from scratch, but I’m not too concerned with whether it was organic. I’ve baked bread forever, but got my grain mill about 10 years ago. I have an “eat, drink, and be thankful” outlook. I made babyfood, and used powdered milk for everything, including drinking, but now that my kids have an opinion, and when my husband comes home from the store with litre soda bottles, real milk and chips, then I have to admit our family seems to be falling back into naughty habits. If any of us had serious food allergies, then we’d have to be more diligent. I prefer meatless meals, but then all these super diet trends about low-carb/high protein came out, and I feel like a heathen if I don’t do something. And Laura, will you address the soybean controversy? I always considered soybeans to be our friend, and now there’s a strong anti-soy cult out there. I’d like your opinion on it. Thanks.


  73. Monica says

    Thanks in advance for the posts you are going to do about your family. I like reading about how families eat and things like that (maybe I am just a bit nosy). As for my family, we have always tried to eat healthy. Now I am just trying to incorporate more organic items in our diet. I am also saving up money to buy a grain mill so that I can use healthier flours for baking. I have recently started ordering from Azure Standard (thanks for introducing me =)) and am being even more conscious about what I bring home from the store. I really, really enjoy reading and learning from your blog. I have been reading it for a little over a year and have learned so much. I don’t comment very much but I do appreciate all that I have learned and hope that I can continue to learn and incorporate it into my family’s diet.


  74. says

    I think we’re like you, kinda. Maybe. We’ll figure it out when you start posting. :) A decade ago or so I did the coupon thing, hamburger helper, things like that (ack!). AND there was a season when I subsisted on Mtn Dew and Top Ramen.

    We’ve come a long way baby. :D

    When the black-market cow is freshened, we’ll be back on the raw milk. I buy organic wheat, grind it, make our own bread, yadda yaddah. I use a lot of Nourishing Traditions ideas (or try to), soaking rice and beans before cooking, (sometimes) soaking flour before making bread. We do a lot of organic stuff – still too much in the sugar dept (org. evap cane juice, maple syrup, etc) though. I’ve got several jars of bell peppers doing the lactic-acid-fermentation thing (a refr truck crashed and my bro-in-law tow-truck man gave us free reign!), I’ve made (in the past) sourdough, kefir, kombucha. We DON’T do artificial sweeteners, white rice/flour/pasta/whatever, soy, crummy oils, margarine, HFCS, MSG, or other suspicious acronyms (well, Hubby is a little less selective). :) I’d LIKE to have a little more self-discipline when it comes to potlucks and holidays and places where I’m not privy to the ingredients (um, and even when I am, like when they’re posted on the side of the bag of doritos?).


  75. Brook says

    I am really looking forward to this series! I have been studying & reading nutrition & different life style programs for YEARS but have not made any real changes…don’t know which way I should go. I really enjoy reading about people that eat mostly raw, vegan foods but don’t know if I can completely give up meat. My youngest daughter is a vegetarian & we have an acre garden every year & fresh eggs from chickens & turkeys so I know we are truly blessed to have fresh organic food in the summer & fall. What do I do in the winter & spring? What I really want to do is:
    Eat Local
    Eat organic
    Drink more water (want to enjoy drinking water)
    Give up Pepsi/sweet tea/beer
    Not eat dairy (but LOVE sour cream & cheese)
    reduce/give up some meats

    I am usually gung-ho in the morning but then I come home from work or out running errands & fast foods just calls my name…


  76. Jennifer in northern alaska says

    Thank you for this posting series! It comes at a great time for us!
    When we first got married, I worked, and got pregnant and was super tired all the time- so i cooked convenience foods. Then we moved into a place where, in exchange for my working, all meals were provided! Talk about convenience food! (but not very healthy). We lived there for two years- I barely cooked a meal. I thought I was spoiled, but new our health was suffering.
    God has provided a new phase for our life- and I have been thrown into cooking every meal on a very limited budget, and being a mom of two all of a sudden. I LOVE cooking and have SO much fun doing it with my toddler, but could definitely use some help and advice from you:-)
    My husband is a naturopathic doctor- so he embraces an organic, “from scratch” diet, and cheers on my enthusiasm for cooking! I am so blessed in that regard. I cook almost completely from scratch, so our treats are packaged granola bars and ready-made cocoa and breakfast cereal. No junk food or eating out (it is too expensive!) I miss my breadmaker, and am slowly learning how to make bread w/o it, I sprout in the winter, eat local and seasonal as much as possible, organic as much as we can afford it, always use whole wheat (but haven’t made the jump to grinding my own yet), drink raw milk, make kefir, and yugurt, am planning on having a garden and preserving as much as possible next summer (NOTE to anti-gardeners- a CSA is the next best thing!), and am enjoying home-made fermented foods (HINT- try kefir-fermented sauerkraut- you need no salt and it only takes 3-5 days! :-) However, my serious (and I mean serious) downfall is sweets. I have a terrible sugar addiction, and am always making cookies, fudge, pies, etc… Especially anything chocolate.
    1) How did you start your meal planning, and find the diligence and perserverence to keep it up?
    2) When you find something you KNOW is healthy, but tastes “weird”- like fermented foods- how do you incorporate it into your family’s meals while respecting your husband if he refuses to eat it?
    3) However, my number ONE question is- could you teach us the “gist” of cooking: what is the difference between cookies, brownies, breads, and crusts? What are the basic casserole, broth soup, cream soup, rice’n’beans ingredients? How to substitute? I can make up a meal, and follow a recipe easily enough, but I would LOVE some tips on how to create meals from what I already have in my cupboards, and how to create recipes to bake with…..
    THANK YOU so much for the time and effort you put into you blog. Truly, you will be blessed for all of the blessings you give us!


  77. says

    I am at the “please just tell me what to buy, how to use it, and what to make, stage”. When I look at all the soaking, and homemade bread, and healthy things, I want that lifestyle so bad, but I dont know where to start at all.

    I have cleaned out the pantry and fridge so many times and bought oodles of veggies only to throw them out and run to starbucks in defeat.

    I have three little boys and I dont want them to feel like I do. I want eating healthy to be part of their lives, not just a fad mommy does every couple of months.

    I am really looking forward to this! Thank you!


    Becky C Reply:

    Don’t get overwhelmed. I was there just a year ago. Totally know what you’re talking about. Just give yourself time to figure it all out. It will happen. I still by the “fast” foods when they’re on sale. I know it’s not good for you, but those nights that I’m not up to doing the whole nutritious thing, or need something fast and easy because we’re on the run, I have Hamburger Helper or such like. I know it’s not good for my family, but I’ve made it down to where we only have it once a month or so, so I feel better about myself. I started off telling myself I could only have it once a week. As I weaned my family (and myself) off of the convience foods, I began to find “from scratch” things that we liked better. It will happen. Don’t get discouraged, and keep the “outs” until you’re ready to go “full throttle”. :)


  78. says

    I am so excited about this series! I can’t wait to read your future posts!

    We raise chickens and get our eggs from them. All of our meat comes from a local organic farmer. I get milk from a local dairy. We still have a ways to go yet. We have cut back tremendously on processed, convenience foods, but still need to go further in that regards. One of my goals for the new year is to cook more from scratch.


  79. says

    I’m in the middle of the “what do I do with these food now?” and “how do I convince my husband that wheat bread isn’t evil?”. I’m also firmly in the ‘Addicted to Pepsi’ category and can’t wait to hear any tips whatsover you might have!


  80. sara says

    I grew up with 2 active duty military parents and in a “what can cook fast in the microwave” era. Once first married, my husband cooked more then me! We discovered my eldest daughter (2 1/2) had severe food allergies while nursing her. That really opened my eyes as I went on a strict elimination diet and “realized” what was really in some foods. My youngest daughter (8mo) also has food allergies. I have tried to get rid of most processed food, but do allow for all-natural cereal and granola bars. We also have mac n cheese and hot dogs (gasp). When not nursing, I also love me some Sonic diet vanilla coke. I am VERY much looking forward to your posts to come, including the “making things from scratch”. THANK YOU so much for passing along your knowledge and experience.


  81. Jenn says

    Wow, what a great discussion – love reading where everyone is! We’re better than we were many years ago, but still have a ways to go :) The biggest hurdle, unfortunately, is the price of eating healthy/organic. I try to buy natural/healthy snacks and things the kids will eat. We do have a small garden, but I don’t seem to get the time to can :( We’re not organic yet in meat/veggies/dairy…do hormone/antibiotic free milk (esp w/pre-teen kids), cook almost entirely from scratch (I have health issues that prevent me from eating almost anything processed, so have cooked from scratch for years. Am really appreciating all the recipes here to expand our menus! Can’t wait to read more about how to afford eating healthier!


  82. says

    We are pretty good, most of the time. We have only eaten whole grains for years, we buy organic whenever possible and we try to eat as little processed food as possible (which is easier at some times that at others). We don’t do raw milk (it’s illegal here in Canada) and I don’t know that I would confident enough to make that leap. Generally, we are really good with sugars, too, although I do have a sweet tooth and when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard! I debate whether to start soaking grains – I have tried it a few times but I am not convinced yet. I just with that healthy food wasn’t quite so pricey!


  83. Suzanne says

    I am really looking forward to this series. We eat fairly healthy (lots of fruit and veggies – though not much variety with my picky eaters- whole grains, we are vegetarians-debateable I know-, lot of food from scratch) but I have a few struggles. One is my picky eaters and that I try new recipes and they take a tiny bite and then eat the side dishes. Also I feel like we eat too much sugar – I should say I eat too much sugar and also diet pepsi. SO looking forward to hearing how you stopped. I have quit before , only to get into it again. And it is not caffeinated so I can’t blame that! My goal is to stop drinking soda, make my own yogurt (we eat tons of Stonyfield and it is expensive!), and grind my own grains using various grains- decreasing gluten also. I feel very discouraged when every time I turn around, something else, that was good for me – is found to be bad for me. UGH!


  84. says

    I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition, but my idea of what’s healthy has changed a lot over the last few years. I am currently grinding my own grain and baking most of our bread products. I tried soaking a few times, but I haven’t built that habit yet. I do soak my oatmeal, though. I try to buy organic whenever possible. And now after watching Food, Inc., my husband is fully on board with buying a whole grass-fed cow and getting raw milk. I would be really interested in hearing how you kicked the soda habit. That’s always been tough for me. I know its horrible for me, and I’m down to maybe once a week or so, but I find it so hard to resist the temptation when it presents itself.


    Andrea Smith Reply:

    Yay, Miracle. Raw milk is wonderful. Love you!


  85. Deanna says

    My question is how long are you in the kitchen during the day? I don’t really like to cook because I don’t feel successful at it. It’s disheartening to cook a meal and no-one like it. I do enjoy baking.You have inspired me to try to ditch the cereal in the mornings and since breakfasts are mostly baked goods that has been an easy switch. Kids do miss cereal though. I find it daunting to try to cook a separate meal for lunch. Ours are usually a sandwich or I try to get the kids to eat leftovers. The things holding me back from a better diet are hubby’s attitude toward food, my dislike for cooking, having young children who just seem to know when you need to concentrate on something other than them and homeschooling(which takes up a lot of my time)!!Any tips in these areas would be helpful.


  86. Deanna says

    For those of you wanting to kick the soda habit. I did many years ago. After having a bad gall bladder attack and then having it out. I had lots of motivation. You can think of it as pain in a bottle! I would also tell myself I was drinking terrible chemicals. After not drinking it for so long if I ever try it now – it just tastes like chemicals. If you like ice tea that would be a good switch. Or, buying a special water bottle to have with you all the time.


  87. Sally says

    Thank you Laura, you are so funny, real, and encouraging! We all need to be real in our journey. I grew up in a house full of junk! Literally white bread, twinkies, Doritos, you name it.

    I had a roomate in college who grew up really natural. It was amazing the influence she had and the wonderful ways I started to feel when I ate better. I’ve been married to my best friend for 13 years and we have 2 wonderful homeschooled kids! Our grain mill has been part of our lives for 3 years now. After implementing it into our life (and I think for everyone that “groove” will be a little different), I can honestly say I don’t know how I’d ever go back to the other stuff.

    I am in the want more new recipes phase. We raise our own garden, do canning/freezing, and have our own flock of free range chickens that my daughter adores. I truly love cooking and it makes me feel so good knowing my family is eating healthy. I really love the recipes that can be made ahead of time and frozen or cooked on time bake. For busy schedules it really helps.


  88. Wendi says

    I am in the “I know how to cook from scratch/can my garden veggies/grind my own wheat, but can’t find time to do any of it so I cook from a box/can” stage. I have a pantry full of wheat, rice, beans, etc., but when it comes time for dinner everything takes to long. One of my challenges is we live in a small town with only 1 grocery store that doesn’t have a great stock and can price things high because they are the only ones. The closest large town is 1-1/2 hours away, so I have to factor in gas. Working on getting Azure into our state (or maybe we’ll move to one that they already deliver to). Another challenge is “weaning” my family off junk food. I can make a loaf of whole wheat bread and they love it, then several loaves down the road they want store bought fluff. Looking forward to your great recipes and advice.


  89. says


    I was prayerfully considering staring a new carnival on Saturdays called “From Scratch Saturdays”. As you know, my family is trying to take what we used to buy and make it from scratch. I thought it would be a good way to share my success and failures and others could link up also. Would you consider “partnering” up and doing it with me? I would do all the work but it could be part of your healthy eating series and you could link up your adventues. What do you think?


    Jodi Reply:

    Opps sorry.. It said it ddin’t work so I retyped it and now it’s here twice! I’m really excited about it can you tell?!? :)


  90. says


    I was prayerfully considering staring a new carnival on Saturdays called “From Scratch Saturdays”. As you know, my family is trying to take what we used to buy and make it from scratch. I thought it would be a good way to share my success and failures and others could link up also. Would you consider “partnering” up and doing it with me? I would do all the work but it could be part of your healthy eating series and you could link up your adventues. You have the audience and readership and I have the newbie and I wanna learn personality. Could we make it work? What do you think?


  91. Megan says

    First off, I just want to say thank you for the godly influence you have as a wife and mother and also for the huge influence you have made on my family’s eating habits. I usually try to keep comments really short but there’s just a lot I have to tell you this time so here goes! Sometime a little over a year ago I ended up on your site but I honestly don’t even remember what brought me here. I found all of the information so intriguing and it has helped me SO much. I have always cooked a lot, I started when I was about 10 or 11 and I always enjoyed seeing just how “from scratch” I could make things. Fast forward a number of years to being a working newlywed and the time it took to cook from scratch just wasn’t worth it when the ingredients I was using weren’t necessarily that much healthier anyway. I have always been slim and wanted to eat healthier but like most of America didn’t really know how exactly to do that. I ate a lot of low-fat yogurt and was hungry a lot. It was after I had our first baby and transitioned to staying home full time that I found your site and it has been so wonderful to really feel like I understand now how to feed my family in a healthy way that we still all enjoy very much. AND, a huge added bonus for me is that it has never been easier to control my weight than now because I finally understand that fat is not evil and I don’t have to cook a meal for my husband and then watch him eat it while I eat a bowl of Special K to avoid all that fat. Because of what your site got me started on (I can’t even count now the hours I’ve spent reading about health and nutrition) we now raise our own beef to butcher, have our very own milk cow (this is so exciting for me because it’s the only possible way we could afford all that good milk, grass-fed butter, raw cream, etc!), make everything whole-grain (from my own flour I grind), buy local free-range poultry, have laying hens for eggs, garden, and try to buy organic produce but a good part of it’s conventional because of price and availability. We’re now expecting again and I feel so much better about what I’m eating this pregnancy. I have to say that you’re site is probably my favorite one I visit because while you do focus a lot on food you seem to keep things in proper perspective. At the end of the day, it’s what we’re doing for God’s kingdom that matters most, not food and you seem to have such a heart for ministering to people for the Lord. Also, my husband and I would love to have a large family and I feel so much better equipped to feed a big family on a tight budget now because I’m learning to do more with less, use everything (like bones to make my own chicken stock, render my own beef tallow, etc), produce more of our own food, and so on. I would say that we spend less on food now than we ever have (and we never spent a lot). Sorry this is so long, I just have so much I could tell you and I want you to know how appreciated your are! :)


  92. Renee says

    I just found your blog today and this series really intrigues me. I grew up eating healthy in many respects, but I’m constantly learning new things. I’ve even taught my mom a few things! We avoid high fructose corn syrup, eat more and more locally, responsibly produced food (including venison harvested from our own backyard), and savor sweets as an occasional treat. This year I’d like to learn about baking with home-ground wheat, raw milk, and canning. My husband would love for me to figure out Indian cuisine. (Maybe this is all a bit ambitious with our second child due around Easter!)
    P.S. My husband is from Nebraska, and the oldest of 4 boys. It’s always fun to read about people who live “back home.”


  93. Lauren says

    I’m a 25 year old single girl living on my own. I’m slowly getting into the healthy eating thing. Even though I live on my own, I still spend a lot of time talking to my parents, and it gets discouraging when they think it’s silly I’d want to bake my own bread, etc. They are on the no carb bandwagon, along with all those ideas that come along with the low-fat craze. I just want to cook clean, healthy foods and make my own bread. I know I shouldn’t be bothered by what they say because they don’t dictate what I buy for food or choose to make for myself. It’s nice to come to a place that encourages healthful eating habits!


  94. says

    I am in the sometimes healthy,from scratch, organic, freerange category and the sometimes doritos. mac and cheese, storebought stage. My kids say I am a little bit bipolar when it comes to food. I guess I am happy where we are at – much much healthier than even a year ago – and I know that it is a slow process – a journey we are on and when I get discouraged I look back and see how far we have come. Looking forward to both series.


  95. Ann says

    I first read Nourishing Traditions about 3 yrs ago and was amazed to learn that FAT is good for me?!!! But I was totally overwhelmed at the thought of changing everything about the way I cooked (I thought I made everything from scratch then!). I got rid of processed cereals, but didn’t change much else. About a year and a half ago, I got serious about learning to cook this way and have changed nearly everything. I buy raw milk, a CSA share, and raw honey from a local farmer. I got a grain mill and learned to make sourdough bread. I started making stock and fermenting salsa and pickles. I recently started to sprout grains and make kombucha. I’m a novice gardener (I can grow lettuce, but can’t seem to grow more than a few tomatoes) and a goal is to grow and preserve more food. I love blogs like yours because I get so many great ideas–Thanks!


  96. Tiffany says

    I am so excited you are doing this. My goal this year is to cook dinner 4 nights a week (up from 1 last year!) and to cook healthy. Both my husband and I need to lose weight, and we want to set a good example for our two daughters (3 years old and 11 weeks). I need easy, budget-conscious recipes to try.


  97. says

    We’re a middle of the road bunch. I consider us a rather healthy family, eating whole grains, grass fed meat, lots of fruits and veggies, and avoiding MSG and HFCS. I make most everything from scratch, however I don’t always buy organic and we don’t have a source for reasonably priced farm eggs or raw milk. We have refused to buy into any one health guru’s ideas and instead stick with the “as close to how God made it” rule of thumb. Most of all we don’t want our lives to be ruled by fear, which seems to be a big factor in a lot of the information out there.


  98. Andrea Smith says

    I am so blessed. I got a grain mill and a Bosch for Christmas from “everyone.” But I look at them and just feel overwhelmed. I try really hard to bring good ingredients into my house: organic meats, hormone free dairy, veggies and fruit. I shop through Azure, have a local CSA box in the summer, get raw milk weekly through a farm, get hand-outs of eggs, honey, and grass-fed beef from my mom’s chickens, bees, and half-cow, and take advantage of Costco and Fred Meyers organic offerings. I eat brown rice, whole-wheat flour, beans, organic corn chips. It is expensive sometimes, but little-by-little I am replacing junk with good stuff.

    My enemy is time and energy. We often have a convenience meal in the freezer for nights I wouldn’t cook otherwise and at least once a week we grab food out–usually fast. :( I feel so guilty about that when I have a freezer full of organic meats, but I am trying not to be perfectionist and do what I can. I also struggle with a sweettooth.

    I really appreciate your recipes. They are usually quick, simple, and have ingredients that I have on hand. Plus my husband (who is not picky, but prefers meals with meat and a non-stressed wife) likes them. I could always use more of those! Especially the one dish kind. And I want to start really getting everyone’s money’s worth out of my new Bosch and mill! Tips for those would be a blessing too, thanks!


    Debbie Reply:

    I know how hard it is to try to eat right when you are tired, stressed or in a time crunch. One of the things my husband and I did to eliminate this problem is to have a “cooking day”, usually on a Saturday when we both work in the kitchen to make meals to put in the freezer and be able to use quickly. It makes the cooking fun and helps my husband understand how hard it can be to make quick healthy meals. One of our favorites is to make a red pasta sauce then we can take it out of the freezer and in the time it takes to cook the pasta and make a veggie the sauce is reheated in a saucepan and your quick, easy, healthy dinner is ready to put on the table.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks, Debbie. Those are good ideas. :)


    Kaylen Reply:

    Andrea, I have the same problem. What I try to do to combat it is to cook several large meals a week, and freeze all of the leftovers. If I have enough left for another meal, I’ll freeze it in a gallon size freezer bag. If I have enough meal portions in the freezer, I’ll freeze individually portioned in quart size freezer bags. I label and date each bag before I put the food in, and then I can always identify what I have frozen.

    I also tend to cook at “non-mealtimes”, such as while my son is napping midafternoon on Saturday or early in the morning (we get up at 6am with him usually). I like to have my coffee while cooking, it’s a nice way to wake up! Cooking at a time I’d otherwise be wasting time helps get ahead – if I wasn’t cooking in the mornings on the weekends, I’d be lounging about online reading blogs. Instead, I’m doing something productive that I enjoy and it really makes the difference over the week.

    I blog about it if you’re interested, http://cookwithkaylen.com.

  99. says

    I just started reading this series and I’m curious to see how you do it all and save money. We are a low income family (meaning we are on supplamental income, WIC) and I do find it hard to buy better food options.

    I guess ‘where I’m at’ is I make our dinners from scratch. I don’t do Hamburger Helper, ect. But I do buy granola bars /fruit bars for the boys. And they eat cereal. I love to bake so I do bake most of our sweets (cookies/cakes for special occasions), from scratch. Through WIC we get our bread, milk, cheese, peanut butterand cereal. We also get 12$ worth of veggies a month, which is my favorite ‘help’. My boys (18 mths and 3.5 yrs) are so very picky, especially my oldest. I know that is mostly mine and my husbands fault. Yes, I fell into the trap of becoming a short order cook! And we are suffering from that now. But I desperately want to feed my family healthy meals and have good eaters! I look forward to reading the rest of the series!


  100. says

    I’m very curious to read your posts. We’re on a tight budget and while I’m working on getting my husband on a healthier lifestyle (he’s been an over the road trucker for almost 18 years so was way out of shape before we even started dating), I have to be careful of how much I spend on groceries. The kids & I love eating healthier choices and my husband is getting there, but its so hard to be able to afford the healthier options at the stores, especially during the winter when its all out of season. I don’t have a whole lot of time either because of being in college but I’m always wanting to learn more recipes I can feel good about feeding my family.


  101. Mona says

    Wow Laura! You stories sounds exactly like mine, including the Pepsi addict part. I am probably going to be launching my new blog soon that talks about my story as well. I say probably because I was once a blogging addict and haven’t had one in a few years so I am taking it slow. Anyway, I am not sure how I found your blog. I think I was searching for something on Google. I am glad I found it. Keep up the great work. :o)


  102. Barbara says

    We have a child with ADD. I have noticed when I “cook” and buy organic fruits and veggies that he is much better. We also do the vitamin supplement as well. At this point we are no longer hearing that he needs medication. I am doing what I know to do, but I was in the “box” food stuff. I am always looking for recipes that can help me on this journey of healthy eating. Thank you for what you do for all of us out there who are trying to figure it out.:)


  103. Jenifer Parker says

    I know the Pepsi cravings but I beat them with sheer willpower when I decided that it was bad for me and a total waste of money. I still kick myself for ever being pulled into that ugly habit. Even tap water is better.
    Oh well, live and learn.
    Good for you for kicking that bad habit.


  104. Jules D says

    SO glad I found this website, well actually my aunt forwarded it to me.
    I am going to school to become a dietitian and love everything about eating healthy. It is so important to put the right things into your body.
    I am so excited to try the healthy pop tarts recipe. Even though I am going into the field of nutrition I still struggle with some things and here recently it’s been the pop tarts. :(
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help other people. I can’t wait until I am able to do the same.
    God bless!


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