It’s time for a fresh perspective!
Every Thursday I share an interview with a real-food-lover, a real person living in the real world just like you and me. Today we will hear from Raine, who blogs over at Agriculture Society. She has kindly consented to share her wisdom and experience with us! Thank you Raine!
Name: Raine Saunders
Blog Name (if applicable): Agriculture Society
About You: (Are you single/married? Do you have children? Anything else you would like to share?)
I have been married for almost 18 years and we have an 11-year old son. I am a freelance health/nutrition writer and health/nutrition coach. I love my work, and I love that I can help support my family doing something I feel very passionate about where I can help others realize their health goals with real food and natural remedies, and from the comfort of my own home.
1. Tell us about your passion for real food. Why do you eat the way you eat?
I’ve been aware of the significance of organic and natural foods since the 1990s, but it wasn’t until about 7 years ago when I started experiencing acute health problems where I was forced to start looking at what I was eating as a cause. My husband and son have also had various issues which we’ve been able to improve with eating real food such as trading pasteurized for raw dairy and reducing grains and eating them properly prepared when they do consume them. I had been buying organic food all that time, but I was still buying packaged foods and hadn’t yet discovered how to make a lot of the foods I prepare now from scratch. I certainly wasn’t acquainted with making bone broth or fermented foods. Now it’s a part of my life I can’t imagine doing without.
2. What, in your opinion, are the top five “healthiest foods” that you include regularly in your diet?
Cod liver oil, animal fats like butter, ghee, lard, and tallow, bone broths, fermented foods like home-made yogurt, kefir, sour cream and cultured vegetables, pasture-raised meats/poultry/eggs, and organically-raised vegetables and fruits. Ooops, that’s more than 5. :)
3. What, in your opinion, are five of the most unhealthy foods/food types?
Modern, artificial fats like canola, soybean, and cottonseed oil, refined sugar, refined grains, packaged cereals, crackers, and other similar items, and commercial dairy and meat products.
4. Say someone is interested in making healthier food choices but is overwhelmed with all the information. What first step/steps would you recommend?
5. Start buying organic meats/dairy/eggs instead of conventional. Later switch to grass-fed and pasture-raised.
5. Cooking from scratch can be time consuming! What are your tips for keeping things easy and manageable for the modern on-the-go lifestyle?
1. If you have a regular work schedule (either part or full-time), spend a day a week organizing, preparing foods, and freezing or portioning out for meals to use for later.
2. Make your own stock regularly, either chicken or beef or both. Make enough that you can freeze for later or use up over a few days. Stock is incredibly versatile and can be used in just about anything you cook: soups, stews, chili, rice dishes, casseroles, and can be added in anywhere you would normally use water. Stock adds flavor, moisture, and so many nutrients including minerals, gelatin, and amino acids. Here’s a post about the health benefits of making your own bone broth and recipes: 9 Reasons to Make Bone Broth.
3. Don’t waste anything – if you have leftover bones, fat, meats, vegetables, etc., put it in a freezer container such as safe glass or plastic (with no BPA), and use for later. If you only have a small amount, add to it over several meals and then pull it out when you want to make stock, soups, stews, chili, rice or casserole dishes, etc. Here’s a post with tips on how to do this: Waste Not, Want Not: Tips for Saving in the Kitchen.
4. Cook meats in advance such as steaks, roasts, and chicken so you’ll have these on hand to use with any meal you want to prepare. I often keep my meat simmering in stock on the stove for days at a time, and keep adding water, herbs, spices, salt, pepper, and butter, ghee, or coconut oil (and a splash of apple cider vinegar to pull out minerals if there are still bones in the pot) to use with meals.
5. Instead of using canned vegetables, use frozen fresh organic (bonus if it’s local and seasonal) for throwing into just about any meal you are making. When you do have fresh veggies on hand, use as much as you can and freeze or can the rest for later use.
6. Eating real food can also be expensive. What tips do you have for keeping costs down?
1. Buy direct from the farmer. Costs are always less than if you bought from the store (many health food stores and some chain stores now sell “organic” and “grassfed” meats, eggs, poultry, and other animal products). When you buy direct, you can also buy in large quantities, such as a 1/4 or a 1/2 cow, etc. and then you can freezer your meat for later. There is a cost savings when you buy meat in bulk. You can also ask all the questions necessary to your farmer about the practices he or she uses in raising your food. Here’s a link: Questions to Ask Your Farmer – Know What’s in Your Food.
Here’s a post with suggestions for eating real food on a budget:
Food Budgets – Using Creativity and Prioritizing for Healthy Eating.
2. Cook or prepare from scratch all the things you would normally buy in packages, bottles, cans, etc. such as soups, stews, chili, sauces, marinades, salad dressings, home-made cereals, etc. Buying the packaged foods really is more expensive in terms of the following: quantity you get per pound (if you look at the price per pound you pay for processed foods, the cost is actually much higher than you think), nutritional value of the foods you are buying, and health costs later on down the road you’ll incur for eating processed, unhealthy foods. Here’s an eye-opening post about all the hidden costs of cheap foods, and a chart which compares the cost of several processed foods to a pasture-raised chicken:
Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food.
7. Do you have any favorite recipes (or links to recipes) to share?
8. What is your biggest motivation to putting the time and effort into this lifestyle?
Our food supply is becoming more and more corrupt and un-trusthworthy. There is much evidence of this happening when you look at all the cost-saving measures that are used which are bad for our health to produce and package food for sale, and that more and more processed foods are appearing on food recall lists regularly. Buying from local, sustainable farmers is one of my biggest priorities. I want to support our economy, our health, and the environment so I support small, family businesses who produce products I can believe in and know are healthy for my family to consume in lieu of these large, bloated corporations that fill their products full of chemicals, alter the foods horribly, and process them at high temperatures.
Now I want to hear from you! Yes you! You don’t have to be a great cook, have all the answers, have a blog, or eat right all the time. You just have to love real food and have an opinion about it! Copy these questions and send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can share them with the rest of my readers!