Real Food Carolyn focuses on real food (that is free of gluten) as well as healthy living. I share this love of real food, including traditional preparation methods based on my reading of Dr. Weston A. Price’s research and allergy-free recipes following some principles of the ancestral food / paleo / primal templates. As a Christian, I am trying to become a better steward of God’s creation through my food choices.
My love of REAL FOOD surely began back in my childhood as the daughter of a gardening/hunting/fishing father and a food-preserving/homemade-meal-cooking mother.
But somewhere in my adulthood and while raising our two children, I became more and more disconnected from food as nourishment and certainly knew little of the power of food to heal. Or to cause harm.
It took my daughter’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease to open my eyes.
That was back in 2008 – actually the week of her high school graduation and after 4 years of multiple misdiagnoses by various physicians. A month or so later, my son, husband and I were all diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
Huh. Turns out that those whole wheat waffles were not a healthy breakfast choice for the kids, even if I served them alongside a scrambled egg and fresh fruit. And the whole wheat bread in their lunch boxes? Uh, no. Let’s not even mention the whole wheat pasta for dinner. Or the dinosaur-shaped breaded chicken nuggets for that “special Friday night treat”? Oops.
Well, I’ve been on a mission since then.
(Just ask my family … and friends … and anyone else I’ve run into at the grocery store or farmers market or … Yea.)
First order of business that fateful summer: I was determined to find and eliminate every speck of gluten in our house and to secure suitably tasty gluten-free substitutes. We met with a “gluten-free nutritionist” who pointed out all the GF cereals, breads, crackers, pastas, etc. that we could safely consume. Hmm.
I was then armed with a 4-page, size 10 font, list of multisyllabic gluten-free ingredients for cross-checking to food labels. I spent hours in the grocery store, with my list of “safe ingredients” in one hand and squinting at the tiny print of the ingredients label of the box or can held in my other hand.
My head ached. What did those ingredients really consist of? How were they made? Could they actually be toxic for us, too? And, by the way, those GF substitutes were not tasty.
It wasn’t much later, on one particularly frustrating day of label reading at a local health food store, that it hit me. Stop reading labels! Move away from the middle aisles that are lined with processed “food-like products” and, instead, shop along the exterior of store where the food was naturally gluten-free. Vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood, dairy, nuts & seeds, and the like. What a relief!
That was the break-through that ultimately helped me leapfrog into the world of “traditional foods” also known as “ancestral foods.”
Dr. Google and I had figured out my daughter’s Celiac diagnosis (a long but fascinating story for another day) so naturally I turned to Chef Google for guidance on getting back to basics in my kitchen. Along the way, my web searches kept returning articles referencing the research of Dr. Weston A. Price and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Such fascinating research and resources on traditional preparation of the foods of our ancestors!
Since my web searches were filtering for gluten-free, another wonderful resource was emerging: the Paleo/Primal community. I’ve devoured articles, books and podcasts and also attended presentations by the bloggers and practitioners whose dietary principles dovetailed (in my opinion) those of the Dr. Price. My research, study and immersion into the REAL FOOD world continues practically every day … with voracious reading of nutrition books, participating in on-site and on-line classes, attending conferences and webinars, and teaching local workshops about traditional foods.
Along the way, I also developed great appreciation of the importance of sustainable farming and the local food movement. Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Virginia is the most easily recognizable prophet of the cause. (Oh my gosh, people! He sat RIGHT beside me at the 2013 Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund workshop in Atlanta. We chatted about farms and life and such things. We’re pretty much buddies now. <ahem>)
There are so many hard-working farmers across our beautiful country and the Charlotte-area is blessed with some great ones. I highly recommend that you get out to your local farmers markets and introduce yourself. Ask the farmers about their animals and growing practices. Buy the food that they work so hard to produce. Take that food home and be nourished by it.
So these days, I shop more at the farmers markets than I do at the grocery stores. We consume nourishing and “naturally gluten-free” pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, organic veggies and fruits, grass-fed raw dairy, healthy traditional fats and oils, etc. We avoid most grains, GMOs, industrial seed oils, extruded cereals, processed dairy, and refined sugars/artificial sweeteners.
My kitchen sometimes looks like a science lab with so many lacto-fermenting jars stacked around. My whole house sometimes smells like a chicken broth brewery … brothery? I seek out the “odd bits” from my local farmers in my quest to eat nose-to-tail. My weekend plans typically include a trip to the farmers markets or, better yet, directly to a farm.
And now I’m known as “Real Food Carolyn.”
Contact me here: RealFoodCarolyn (at) gmail (dot) com