Your Real Food Journey {Finding a Starting Point}

finding a starting point with real food

People often ask me “Where do I start getting more real food into my day?”

I usually answer with a question, “Well, where are you at?”

finding a starting point with real food

Your next step is largely defined by the progress you’ve already made. So let’s look at the path behind us for a minute.

If this were a phone chat or an IRL conversation, I’d ask you a series of questions to figure out just how much of what you’re eating qualifies as real food, and then share what in my opinion would be the next most important thing you should work on (using the step-by-step approach we talked about in yesterday’s post.)

{Of course, this is all just my opinion, but since I get asked my opinion on this all. the. time. I’m setting aside my humility and pretending to be an expert today just for you.}

I might ask you, “What do you typically eat for breakfast?”, or, “How many meals a day do you eat grains?”, or “Do you drink raw milk?”, and we’d go from there.

Because this is a blog post, I’m gonna have to just dive right into my recommended steps, and you’re just gonna have to provide feedback in the comments after I’ve blathered on. And we’re gonna cope with that, ok?

10 Key Steps on the Real Food Journey

Here’s 10 action steps I’d consider to be great places to start making changes in your diet and lifestyle. I’ve put them in a particular for the sake of this series, somewhat prioritized. You may deem #8 way more crucial than #3, and I’m totally OK with that! But the whole idea is to find what you’re already doing great on, and look for the next step toward wiser food choices for you and your family.

  1. Get rid of fake foods in your cupboards and on your shopping list
  2. Learn to menu plan and start building a list of real food meals you love
  3. Choose good fats and use them right
  4. Learn how to save money on meat so you can afford higher quality
  5. Learn to make bone broth and enjoy it every day
  6. Learn to reduce grains and prepare them well
  7. Adopt a stress-free mindset toward your food
  8. Make the best dairy choices for your family
  9. Decide which equipment you do and don’t need to continue your journey, and start saving
  10. Learn to save money by buying and preparing food in bulk

Well? Did you find a your starting place? Remember, whether you’re at #2 or #10 doesn’t matter as much as your willingness to continue to make progress. (BTW, if you’ve conquered all 10, your next step is to call me and let me learn from you!!!)

Remember to look at these as steps to tackle one at a time, not a list to complete this week!

I hope that having this little ‘map’ as it were has helped to unwhelm you a bit on your real food journey. But you know the really exciting part? I’ve got a post about each one of these steps so you aren’t just stuck looking at a map, but you can actually start making some real progress!

Tomorrow we’re gonna talk about Step #1: Real Food, Fake Food {Identifying the Charlatans}!

Tweetables: (in case you wanna share this helpful series with your peeps!)

  • It doesn’t matter so much where you’re at on the journey as much as your willingness to make progress (<–Tweet that)
  • 10 Key Steps to help you find where you’re at on the #RealFoodJourney (<–Tweet that)

Where are you on my {opinionated} Top Ten List? If you’d be so kind as to share in the comments which step you are on or where you are headed next, it would bless me ever so much as I attempt to make this series as helpful as possible for you all!

 This post is Part Two in a 31 Day Series–find all posts from this series here as they become live here–>Your Real Food Journey



25 responses to “Your Real Food Journey {Finding a Starting Point}”

  1. Faith N. Avatar
    Faith N.

    EI stumbled onto your blog while trying to occupy my ruminating mind; a result of my chronic insomnia. I am 33 years old and officially disabled due to a variety of health reasons. Most days, I feel like I’m 70. I’ve admittedly allowed my diagnosis to crush my hope, and now, I’m ready to take charge and control what I’m able to control; what I put in my body being something I CAN control. So, I’m reading through your step-by-step guide of how to change. My first goal is to eliminate fake foods from my kitchen. I’ve decided that I cannot eliminate them, as my husband is not interested in joining me on this trek, therefore, I’m going to separate and organize the fake from the real. Yes, it will require a good measure of will power on my part to resist the tastiness of potato chips, but I know I can make my own, and they’ll probably be so much tastier and nutritious for me. I think my biggest concern is the potential for added expense while being on a partially fixed income, as I’m on social security disability, and the hubby works full time, yet we never seem to get ahead with all my medical expenses. I’m hoping to find some helpful resources at my local library, as well. I look forward to changing the direction of my health, for the better. Thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Faith, you are so welcome. I’d encourage you to focus on things like making your own bone broth, yogurt, and sauerkrauts as those items actually reduce expenses, while greatly adding nutrition!

  2. Mary Beth Avatar

    Ok. On this list we buy quality meat-local grass fed beef and we just got out first order of Zaycon chicken. Local chicken is way too expensive. We also menu plan.

    Loving this series! So glad I found it. And congrats on the new addition! Next time you’re down south we should get the little ones together while we chat!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Yes, Mary Beth! this next trip south I really want to try to connect with my southern bloggy friends!

      1. Mary Beth Avatar

        You know how to find me! Just let me know and we will figure something out!

  3. Kristin Hoenicke Avatar

    I’m looking forward to learning about steps 4, 5, 7 and 10. The rest I have been incorporating slowly for the past 5 years. I ALWAYS love learning new things about real food!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Delighted to have you join us, Kristin! I hope my upcoming posts are helpful!

  4. Kalyn Brooke Avatar

    I feel like I keep getting stuck at number one. I get most of the fake foods out and then life gets busy and I reach for convenience. Going to get back on the bandwagon! Although I have kept up the habit of making broth, so that’s encouraging. 🙂

  5. jennifer Avatar

    I do not yet buy raw milk but do use coconut milk and almond milk more than regular milk. I want to learn how to get good meat at a great price…I am tweeking how to do all this on a tight budget. It does get discouraging to try to figure it all out . I have done most of that list though so maybe I’m doing a little better than I thought. i’m really excited for this journey thank you . 🙂

  6. Rachel Avatar

    Oh man, the perfectionist in me just totally forgot yesterday’s post and began to panic about this list, lol. Ahh! *Breathe* Mmmkay, focusing on what I am doing right: most of the fake foods are out of my cupboards (most), I make my own chicken broth (but only really use it in occasional soups and dishes), I am religious about menu planning, and I prepare my own beans in bulk. Oh, and I fry almost everything in butter ;). Looking forward to your posts on buying better meat, and reducing grains!

    1. Trina Avatar

      You’re doing great, Rachel (and you’re so cute!) You know this is the series you asked me to write a year ago, right? Just for you. Glad you’re here. 😉

  7. Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake Avatar

    Hmm. I don’t know what bone broth is. 😉 I think the only thing on your list that I can say I’ve confidently got down is menu planning. We’ve occasionally bought local beef in bulk and it’s something we’d like to do again.

    1. Trina Avatar

      hooray for buying local beef in bulk! that’s a great thing to get the hang of!
      Don’t worry, Claire, I’m gonna teach you all about broth. 😉

  8. Crystal Avatar

    Love you, my dear friend! Enjoying all of this! 🙂

  9. Stephie N Avatar
    Stephie N

    Speaking of babies, your new little one should be here soon too if I’m not mistaken, how is your family preparing for the new arrival? Do you have a good real food freezer stock post planned? I had a hard time stocking the freezer and actually using it lasT time!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Stephie, Yes, I’m freezer cooking almost every day! Meal count is up to 8! My method is simple–I just double what I’m making for dinner each night and freeze the rest. And my recipes? All the casseroles from my cookbook 😉

      1. Stephie N Avatar
        Stephie N

        What month should freezer cooking start do you think? I know at this point (4 months for me) it might be too early for things to keep properly, but I do know I want to try stocking the freezer with stuff we actually want to eat this time! Cooking with toddlers can be so challenging and adding a newborn is severely going to make the juggling act harder! (mine are 2.5, 15 months and due in march)

        1. Trina Avatar

          Stephie, now would be the time to find dinners that everyone loves. I wouldn’t worry about making freezer meals yet, but call this the research phase. 😉 As far as when to start? Depends on how many meals you want. I’m shooting for 2 weeks worth, so I started 4 weeks from my due date, doubling dinner whenever I had a chance. It hasn’t felt like this huge burden to get off my list, just a slight tweak to the daily routine that sends me to bed smiling knowing we’ll have yummy food in the next weeks!

  10. Stephie N Avatar
    Stephie N

    I an really looking forward to your posts on meat and bulk cooking, I’ve mastered and then slacked of on many of these things (except number one!) Over the past few years, ex. I made yogurt for nearly a year, then baby 2 was born and I started buying yogurt at the store with whole ingredients. . . But I have yet to find good quality meat inexpensively unless my husband shoots it and making bulk work on a budget with small space has always green challenging for me! I am excited at the prospect of sharpening skills and maybe getting more inspiration to hop back on the diy food band wagon so to speak before baby number 3 gets here!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Stephie, you’re inspiring me to write a post on ‘seasons of real food’. Some seasons, buying yogurt with whole ingredients is where it’s at, and making it goes out the window for a while. That is so ok! The meat on a budget post and cooking in bulk (even in small spaces) post are both written from my 3 months living in Alabama on a bus, where space and money were tight. It CAN be done! Can’t wait to share with you.

      1. Stephie N Avatar
        Stephie N

        Awesome! Sounds like just the kind of information we are looking for! Can’t wait to read what you’ve got coming up next!

  11. Stephanie Kay Avatar

    I do a little of several of these. I’ve been taking baby steps toward real food for a couple of years. My newest step will be baking bread. A friend is giving me a bread machine she wasn’t using. I’m hopeful that it will save us money AND help us eat better. My biggest deterrent to real foods is the price. Feeding a family of 7 on a single income isn’t easy. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Stephanie, I’m so glad to have you join in the journey with me. I hope you find some helpful stuff along the way!

  12. Jessiqua Wittman Avatar

    Steps 1 and 4 and 7 are a big deal to my family right now. The others… I’m really looking forward to this series so that I can catch some hints.
    I was at the store the other day, and the lady checking my groceries out was like, “Wow! Somebody likes the healthy stuff!”
    I kinda shrewdly smiled. A lot of people say that about my family, but I know there is Sooo much more we could do. I bought bags of healthy, baked veggie chips instead of making them. We buy organic rice milk because raw milk is currently not available, etc.
    The thing is though, we’re trying to eat healthy so that we can feel good about what we DO eat, not so that we can feel bad about what we DON’T. 😀

    1. Trina Avatar

      This is wisdom!–> “eat healthy so that we can feel good about what we DO eat, not so that we can feel bad about what we DON’T.” Preach it, sister! 😉

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