It’s been one of those days. Who am I kidding? It’s been one of those weeks.

I figure the best way to combat “one of those weeks” is by making a list of things that I’m thankful for.

  1. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. My husband, who is patient, kind, understanding, hard-working, a listener, and an encourager.
  3. My parents, who have always loved me well and taught me to be grateful. I am thankful that they are not only my parents, but my friends.
  4. My brother. He is hard-working and has found what he’s good at and what makes him happy. I admire him for that.
  5. My grandparents. They have raised a family of Jesus followers and desire to have a close, loving relationship with their children and grandchildren. I love to hear their stories and the way life used to be.
  6. My friends. They are each different, teaching me unique lessons in life. (I miss you all.)
  7. The last three months living with my family. There were days when I didn’t appreciate it, but looking back, it was a special time that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have the best family.
  8. My time at Horizon Physical Therapy. I learned many life lessons, met some great people, and was able to financially support Chris and me while he finished grad school.
  9. Chris’ new job. I am thankful that he was able to find a job so quickly after graduation and doing what he wanted to do.
  10. Our apartment. It isn’t what I dreamed of as a little girl when I thought about the home I would be living in, but it’s a roof over our head and it’s within our means.
  11. Music. Maybe I am stuck in the past, but I love music that I listened to as a child. I love reminiscing and being nostalgic. I hope one day my children will want to remember their childhood.
  12. Our cars. They aren’t fancy. But they get us where we need to go.
  13. Accessibility to fluoride-free drinking water.

…this is a working list…

Five Gallons

I told you I’d have some funny stories.

Chris and I sat down Monday night with my newly organized ‘real food’ notebook to pick out what we wanted to eat this week. As I began to flip through the recipes, there was a lot of this going on: “Oh I’m still waiting on {insert ingredient} from Amazon,” “Oh I don’t know how to do that yet,” “Oh I haven’t ordered that yet.” See, we are trying to pace ourselves with purchasing these real food ingredients, due to budget restraints, but that limits my ability to whip up these fancy new meals. I’m sure I looked just like a popped balloon. I know I felt like one. I closed the notebook. Chris encouraged me that I could find some easier recipes in the morning before I went to the grocery store. He was right.

I woke up Tuesday morning, feeling a little downtrodden and discouraged, fixed breakfast for Chris, and then after he left, went back to sleep. I had been so motivated just 24 hours before. What happened? Emotions…lies…silliness. Thankfully I chose to spend some time with Jesus before I got too far into the “I can’t” pit. Using Oswald Chamber’s book My Utmost For His Highest as a guide, I opened to July 9th and the opening line was, “Do you even have the slightest reliance on anything or anyone other than God?” It continued, “Are you relying on yourself in any manner whatsoever regarding this new proposal or plan which God has placed before you?” Um, yes, yes I am. Everyone who reads this post may not be a follower of Jesus, but for those who are, RELY on Him! Of course I’m not perfect, but He is. ūüôā

So, I¬†started looking for some “getting started” recipes. I found a 5-day meal plan and headed to Whole Foods. I’m so used to buying pre-packaged meat, so the meat counter is a new experience for me. I always feel uncomfortable when I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, especially when it involves talking to a stranger about how I don’t know what I’m doing. Thankfully, the gentleman at the meat counter was very patient and helpful. I managed to successfully pick out some wild-caught salmon. I then chose between a whole lot of different types of sausages… like a WHOLE lot. And then finally, I picked out a whole chicken. I even asked if they fed the chickens soy… and the best part is… they don’t!

Since learning about the dangers of fluoride in our tap water, I have really wanted to buy a¬†Berkey water filter. Thankfully, while I was living with my family in the perfectly rural town of Statham, we were on well water and I didn’t have to worry about it. But now that we are back in¬†the city, it’s definitely an issue. Unfortunately, the Berkeys are not in our budget right now, so I needed a different, cheaper solution. I knew that the Earth Fare back in Athens had a filtered water station where you could fill up a jug of water that had been filtered by reverse osmosis, which removes any fluoride and I believe chlorine, too. Much to my excitement, so does Whole Foods here in Chapel Hill! I stared at all the different sizes of jugs… which one will be the most cost effective, which one will last long enough, can I lift that one once it’s full, etc. I decided to go with the big’un…¬†the five gallon jug. I filled that thing up and hoisted it into my buggy. I was so pleased that I had found fluoride-free water for only $.39/gal! And then it hit me… how in the world am I going to get the water OUT of the jug…? Oops. It’s not like we own one of those breakroom water coolers and I really don’t think it’ll go well with my kitchen decor. ūüėČ Thankfully, Chris was able to pick it up and pour out enough water for dinner last night and he poured some more for me this¬†morning before he left for work (yay for strong, servant husbands!). But what about the next time I fill it to the brim? This whole sitting on the floor with a water bottle in hand while Chris slowly pours trying not to spill any of our precious fluoride-free water will eventually get old. So¬†what did I do?! I googled! And I have found the solution… a hand pump! And it’s only $10! Suh-weet. I’ll be ordering that guy today.

So, back to food. I¬†did pretty good at the grocery store. I had to be outta there in 45 minutes, because I was taking Chris lunch at work. I managed to wrap it up just in time. I couldn’t find a few things I needed and other things I didn’t even remember to look for. I really have got to get this grocery list thing¬†down better. I’m so used to cooking the same ol’ things, so I rarely made a grocery list… I would just buy what I always bought. But now, the list is completely different and much more involved. (I hope I’m not overwhelming you… this requires you to be intentional, but it’s definitely¬†worth it!) So, I got home with my purchases and decided what to make for dinner (one day at a time). I went with the whole chicken using a great crock pot recipe. As a side, I made Olive Oil & Rosemary Potatoes. Yum. I’ve made herb-roasted potatoes before, but this recipe is definitely going down as a fave. I didn’t cook any veggies… I know, I know. But we’re getting there. I’m particularly excited about the left over chicken. I think I’m going to make tacos tonight and then tomorrow I’ll used the bones to make my first ever bone broth.

Okay I think I’ve said enough for today. I’m feeling much better today. I just can’t expect too much of myself here at the beginning–it’s a process, much like all good and worthwhile things.

UPDATE: The $10 hand pump that I ordered last summer proved to be useless.  We are now buying three five-gallon jugs per week to cover our drinking, cooking, and baby-bathing needs.  We purchased some smaller glass jugs that Chris fills up each morning before he leaves for work and I use those throughout the day.  Not ideal, but better than drinking hydrofluorosilicic acid, a fertilizer plant waste product.

Keepin’ It Real: My Real Food Journey

I’m pretty sure no one follows this blog, but I am going to use it to document my journey into the real food lifestyle. How did I get started on this journey? It was the combination of a few different factors that I believe were divinely orchestrated. Chris and I began talking about our baby timeline about the time a friend of mine from LeTourneau posted a link to a real food¬†blog. I started looking around the blog and was immediately intrigued. I have always felt that I was born in the wrong era and that there is something drastically wrong with our world today — no one seems to value the basics — the simplicity of life on a farm, for example, working to be able to provide for your family and nothing else. It’s always seemed to me that if raw cow’s milk was good enough for generations before me, why isn’t it good enough for me, today? Everything just feels backwards. Just as we talk about our tendency to supplement God with our homes and our jobs and our cars, etc., I think we tend to try and supplement God’s order, too. Just like God is enough — so is His order.

As I began to dig more into the blog, I found a book called The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care. I immediately ordered it. I wanted to know what I needed to be eating/not eating as Chris and I prepared for a potential pregnancy. I was dumbfounded by what I read. We’ve got it all wrong. Low-fat, no fat, calorie-counting… this isn’t what God intended. What am I supposed to be eating? Cod liver oil, liver, raw milk, ¬†butter (and lots of it!), eggs, beef, pork, lamb (including the fat!), coconut oil, lactofermented beverages (lacto-what?!), bone broth, properly prepared grains, legumes, and nuts (I didn’t even know you could prepare nuts…), and the list goes on. There’s another list of things to avoid, too. It’s pretty much every American’s typical diet: white flour, white sugar, vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, soy products (yep), microwaved food, and caffeine. As much as this struck me as a challenge, it just felt right. It felt real. Embarking on this journey isn’t about convenience, it’s about truth. It’s about getting back to what God intended.


So how am I doing? Well, I was living with my parents and grandparents from April-June, so that made it difficult to dive in head first. I started taking fermented cod liver oil (FCLO)¬†everyday with breakfast. I also started eating pasture-raised eggs for breakfast, with lots and lots of grass-fed butter. I was able to get non-soy, non-GMO, pasture-raised eggs from a¬†co-op in Athens for a little while, but we have since moved to North Carolina. Now I am waiting¬†to get started with a local co-op here in Durham. In the meantime, I am buying pasture-raised eggs from local healthfood stores, such as The Fresh Market and Whole Foods. I also started drinking raw milk¬†(y’all it’s GOOD), but the farm I was getting it from discontinued selling at the Athens co-op. Again, I’m waiting to get started with the Durham co-op. I am really excited about it, because the farm that provides the food for this co-op is familiar with the Nourishing Traditions book and prepares its food based on its teachings. One thing I really want to get soon is a water filtration system. Unfortunately, they are pricey. I was really enjoying the fluoride-free water at my grandparents’, but we’re back in the big city and unfortunately, drinking fluoridated water everyday. No good. On a positive note, Chris planted our first garden on Saturday! We are attempting tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and spinach. Yay.

Today, I have started my “real food” notebook. I have been subscribing to blogs right and left and have a great place to start with recipes and “how-to” guides. I also ordered a cookbook that I’m really excited about called The Homemade Pantry¬†— it’s a book full of recipes for items that you typically buy at the grocery store.¬†I am particularly excited about the homemade “pop tarts” (toaster pastries in the book) — who doesn’t love pop tarts?! I was so disappointed when I learned how terrible they were for me… they were seriously a staple in my high school diet (sad, I know). Anyhoo, when Chris gets home tonight (after his first work softball game–woo woo) we’re gonna sit down and go through the recipes I’ve added to the notebook today and make a meal plan for this week. I’ll do my shopping on Tuesdays. This week will probably come with a lot of funny stories. Stay tuned.

I am excited. I hope more people will be encouraged to start living the real food way through my experiences. Sometimes I get so excited it makes me cry…happy tears, of course. Keep it real folks.