REAL food


Since the origin of this blog, I have gotten questions from several readers asking me what I value most (about natural living) and what I’d suggest as a jumping off place to someone who wants to make some changes but feels overwhelmed with where to start.

First, let me emphasize that my motivation for natural living came from our struggle with infertility.  It was the driving force for MANY changes, but most importantly diet.


The definition of food to me five years ago was VERY different than my definition of food today.  Five years ago, I loved anything processed (pasta, pizza, cereal, etc) and lots of dairy.  Today, I only eat whole foods (and sadly, no dairy).  I choose not to buy anything processed.  REAL food is medicine.  Man made food/factory produced food is the opposite.

Let me back up by saying that I am a Christian.  I believe God called us to care for the land and the people around us.  What you buy is voting for the farmer or factory who produced the food.  Do you want to support the farmer who cares lovingly for his animals, allowing them to roam free on pasture and see the sun, or the farmer who is looking at the bottom dollar. Do you want to eat the chicken who roams free and sees sun or the chicken who is being squashed into a building too many other chickens, never seeing the light of day?  I choose to support local farmers who treat the land and animals with love.  The result of such passion and old fashion agricultural practices is food that is way more nourishing than the other.  The taste is better too. Same goes for produce.  Do you want to eat an apple covered in pesticide over one that’s used natural farming practices to deter pests? I prefer the clean apple and supporting that orchard that has produced the organic apple.  Our air and bodies can thank these farmers for not polluting our air, our soil, or our bodies with these known poisons.


There are a lot of ways to look at the food you are buying.


As for produce, I try to buy organic whenever possible.  If it’s an item not on the dirty dozen list or a high pesticide crop; its ok to skip the organic BUT make sure it’s not GMO (the produce code starts with an 8 for GMO produce).

I buy grassfed beef and pastured poultry from local farmers.  You can buy 1/4 of a cow for a great price in this area (Lancaster County, PA).


I buy eggs from local farms that have not been pasteurized.  I look for soy free and organic.  During the summer I pay $2.75/dozen.  Lately I pay $5/dozen for eggs that have bright orange yolks.  To me, it’s worth it.  Some people buy starbucks coffee; I buy eggs.  It comes back to what you value.  The nutrients in the egg yolks far outweigh the coffee in my opinion.   (I like coffee)

If you eat grains or nuts, look into how to properly prepare them on the Weston A Price website or the Nourishing Traditions book.

As for fish: my verdict is still out due to all the recent ocean disasters.

As for water, I feel it’s important to invest in a good water filter.  Choose one that filters out fluoride, lead, chlorine, etc.  (Options: Berkey, Crystal Quest )

My journey into whole foods has been gradual.  It can be overwhelming to think about all the changes that need to be made.  Each of us is on a journey.  REAL food is a good place to start pursuing all things natural.  It’s still a journey I’m pursuing and growing in.  Being on the GAPS diet, I make everything.  It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it.


Remedies for Coughs

My daughter has had a cough for several weeks.  Thankfully, it’s almost gone now.  When it first started, I worried it could turn to pneumonia.  Right before Christmas she had a fever, was wheezing, and coughing up mucus; so I decided to take her to the doctor to make sure it hadn’t turned to pneumonia (they listen for crackle sounds).  Thankfully, it hadn’t.  I am pretty proactive with giving her natural remedies as soon as symptoms arise.


The most effective remedies I’ve used and have seen results:

Garlic Oil : crush garlic (use a garlic press if you have one) and put it in olive oil, let sit a few minutes and then rub oil on the soles of feet and or chest.  I do this three times a day when things are really bad.  Garlic is a great antiviral and antibiotic!  It helps reduce fevers and clears up ear infections!

Do Terra’s Breathe Blend/Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Put 4 drops in a bath or in an oil (jojoba, olive, coconut, etc-whatever your preference) and rub on chest or soles of feet.  I add a few drops to the humidifier too.

Slippery Elm Tea: I mix the powder with warm water or juice.

Elderberry Syrup

To prevent coughs from turning into pneumonia, create an environment with lots of humidity to loosen mucus (run shower while taking a bath) and do percussion tapping (basically tap back and chest).

*Again, I’m not a doctor; but these are things that have helped our family.  Only you can decide how to treat your family*

Day One of GAPS Intro Diet

Yesterday seemed easy at first.  I took my probiotics, drank a cup of homemade chicken broth, then had some carrot soup ( boiled carrots in chicken broth and puréed).  I went off to conquer the day, taking my daughter to Storytime.

Prior to Storytime, I prepared some meatballs (just ground beef) and threw them in the crock pot with some broth.  This allowed them to boil while we were at Storytime.  We enjoyed them for lunch after we came back.


For dinner I threw some of our leftover boiled chicken from the previous night into a crockpot with broth, cut up carrots, and some Sghetti squash.  I boiled the squash before putting it in the crock pot.  It was my version of chicken ‘noodle’.

I was thankful that dinner was in the crockpot, because the second half of the day  was harder then Id thought it be.  I juice everyday, so this lack of nourishment was hard for me.  A day without eggs was no big deal, as it was a nice break.  However, the lack of fruit made me lethargic.  I drank a cup of tea with honey every time I craved something, and it helped.  I made ginger tea by grating fresh ginger and pouring  hot water over it.  I let it steep for 3 minutes, then added honey.

This morning I woke with a light headache, a likely die off symptom.  I’m not feeling as excited about GAPS Intro…the limited foods are hard; but the healing will be worth it.  I did move into second stage today (adding egg yolk) because I read on the GAPS website that moms who are breastfeeding should start in stage two or three.  It really hasn’t change much besides the added nutrients of a raw egg yolk.  I’m keeping Eby in first stage because my husband accidentally gave her applesauce yesterday.

We are taking Epsom salt baths to promote the detoxing and increase our magnesium.

I’m resting more today, allowing my body’s energy to focus on the healing. I backed off the probiotics for today and will reintroduce a small amount tomorrow.  It’s important to start slow and not have too intense of die off (detox) symptoms, especially with breastfeeding.



GAPS diet: What is it and why I Am doing it?

Dr. Natasha Cambell McBride saw a connection between lack of beneficial gut flora and disease.  We live in a world where antibiotics are overprescribed and in our water, so many of us have poor guts.  We aren’t absorbing the nutrients from our food, and we have lots of food sensitivities.  The GAPS diet is designed to heal the gut and get it back to a healthy state.  Probiotics are one element of the healing protocol, while diet is another.

This week I am embarking on the GAPS intro diet in hopes that we can heal both my daughters and my food sensitivities.  This diet has been suggested to me for the last year, and I am finally at a point where I am ready to do it.  My daughter is fourteen months, so over a year and eating solids.  I still breastfeed, but in my research it says intro should be fine for those still breastfeeding as long as the child is over a year.  Eby will be eating the GAPS diet as well since she clearly has inherited my gut issues from birth (reflux and food sensitivities).


Tomorrow is the first day of GAPS intro.  First stage foods are lots of homemade broth, carrots, zucchini, onions, leeks, boiled meat, and herbal teas like ginger, peppermint and chamomile.  I will start the day with broth and tea, then have some carrot soup, boiled chicken, and more broth.  It will be hard for me to not have eggs and fresh juice in the morning.  I’m hoping to move through intro fairly quickly, since I already eat a diet close to full GAPS.

Thankfully, I have a new friend who will be embarking on this journey with me, so we will have each other to lean on for recipes and support.

Here is one of the recommended probiotics for GAPS followers:

(I am an amazon affiliate.  Every time you click one of my links and buy something, I get a percentage of the sale (4-7%).  I choose to only recommend products that I have chosen to personally use.)

Pistachio Butter

I love peanut butter, but my body responds with a headache the following day or two.  My daughter (who is still breastfed) responds to sunflower seeds and almonds, so sunbutter and almond butter are out for me too.


I LOVE pistachios.  I could eat an entire bag in one sitting.

Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors.  Eatting nuts that haven’t been soaked can really strain your digestion and limit the nutrients you are able to absorb.  However, properly soaking nuts makes them easy to digest and your body gets more nutrients.  Once nuts are soaked, they need to be  dehydrated ( you can use an oven on the lowest setting.  I use our Breville Smart Oven. )  Nuts need to be fully dry so mold doesn’t grow.

After soaking and dehydrating pistachios, I like to make pistachio butter as an alternative to peanut butter.  It’s so easy.  All you need is a food processor.


Put your nut of choice in the food processor and process till you get the desired texture.  And you have your very own homemade nut butter! I love to put pistachio butter on apples or flatbread with applesauce.



Breville Smart Oven (one of my favorite appliances!):