I first heard about “real food” five years ago. I was working for a magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina and I wrote a feature on a set of twins who worked as bakers and personal chefs, specializing in foods for people with special dietary requirements. Now, they didn’t call it “real food” – they mostly talked about gluten-free baked goods (which sounded a bit like black magic to me). But they talked about what you eat making your body sick, or well.
At the time, I was suffering regular anxiety attacks and lots of indigestion, bloating, and other fun stuff. I was pretty sure it was mostly brought on by my stressful job, but I did wonder if eating better might help. However, I wasn’t quite ready to do anything about it, because “gluten-free”, translated to “a flavour akin to the combination of tofu and soot.”
Fast-forward to Summer 2013, and I’m living in Bedford, England, and am surrounded by people who believe, like those twins did, that what we eat can help or hurt our bodies. People like Katie-Jo, who completely overhauled her family’s diet because she believed it might help her son’s autism, and improve her anxiety; or like Sarah, who’s been taking baby steps for almost two years to make sure she, her husband, and their three kids are eating food that’s good for their bodies. It’s not black magic…and it’s not rocket science either.
What we eat does make a difference to how we feel – I know it when I scarf an entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts (I don’t want to talk about it – sometimes it simply must be done), or when I drink enough water every day.
But if you think the Dwights are going to live on tofu and bean sprouts, you’re wrong. One thing I’ve learned about real food, about healthy eating, is that it’s not as bad as you think it is. In fact, if your healthy food doesn’t taste good, you’re probably doing it wrong.
I’ve already been taking steps to see that we eat healthier for almost a year, slowly cutting out processed foods and getting back to basics, but it’s been a slow journey. Sometimes I’m awesome and we eat super-healthy for three days in a row and then I run out of groceries or get emotional and cry into a can of Pringles, and I think that’s okay.
Kezia, from Super Naturally Healthy, is the brilliant lady who’s going to be helping me (and you!) make some more healthy changes, and she tells me she operates on an 80/20 principle. That is, she eats the really good stuff 80% of the time, so that if she really, really wants a Diet Coke every once in a while, she’ll do it and not worry about it (although I’d like to point out that I’ve known her for three years and I’ve never seen her drink a Diet Coke, so…).
I’d love for you to get involved in this journey, which we’re going to call “Healthy, Happy, Smitten.” I’ll be hashtagging related posts on Instagram and Twitter with #healthyhappysmitten, so if you use a recipe we post here, or have a question for me or Kezia to answer, go ahead and use that hashtag too. Or, you can email me by clicking that little button over to the right and I’ll see that the question gets answered by either me or Kezia.
Last year, when I did some real soul-searching about this blog, I came up with this tagline: Creative. Authentic. Passionate.
It’s a way for me to measure what I’m doing here and, really, it’s how I want to live my live. Creating, like I believe I was made to. Being authentic while I do it, because authenticity kind of fires me up. And being passionate about whatever I’m doing and, really, not doing anything I’m not passionate about.
It’s why I write here, why I devote myself to mothering my boys and loving my husband, why I love capturing beauty with my camera, and it’s even why I’m going on this food journey. There’s something creative in preparing wholesome meals for my family and friends, there’s something authentic about getting back to basics with our diet, and one of the things I’m most passionate about is feeding the people I love.
Come back tomorrow for the beginning of our journey!