Real Food Tips: Advice and Recipes from Our Team

Aside from all the blog work our team members do to keep this site going round, each person has their own special real food talents and knowledge as well. After all, that’s what brought us together in the first place (well, except for me and my husband of course…that was actually a fraternity party in college and a story for another day!).

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to reach out to each person behind the scenes over here and ask them to share their best advice for convincing a reluctant family member to join you on the real food bandwagon as well as their favorite recipe!

From Jason, Business Manager (and my husband)

Real Food Tips (Jason Leake) on 100 Days of Real Food Tip:
I’m going to cheat here and give two tips.

  1. Have your reluctant family members read In Defense of Food and watch Food, Inc. so they have some background on why you are making a change. They could even borrow the audio book from the library and listen during their daily commute. There is no shame in changing old behavior as the result of education, but this requires an open mind.
  2. Make real food your new normal. Things cease to be “new and different” when they turn into just “how things are done” in your house (consistently, most of the time).

I remember growing up and comparing my experiences (bedtime, TV time, chore list, privileges, etc.) with those of my friends. If I ever complained to my mom, she would reply with, “I’m not your friend’s mother. I’m your mother, and in this house, this is how it’s going to be.” It’s important to go beyond groupthink and embrace your own individuality. You have the power to influence your own family’s experiences and wellbeing, and if you are a parent, that power could extend to future generations.

My favorite real food recipe is Pork Carnitas Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas. It is just incredible, rivaling authentically prepared food I’ve had in Mexico. If you are a novice cook, you can go with store bought corn tortillas the first time around (Ezekiel brand is clean), but once your family falls in love with the tacos you have to make some homemade tortillas the next time. They will rock your world.

Real Food Tips (Pork Carnitas Tacos) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood

Pork Carnitas Tacos

From Shawn, Facebook Comment Moderator

Real Food Tips (Shawn) on 100 Days of Real Food Tip:
I have been a “clean eater” for as long as I can remember, but my husband – not so much. Now, in our home he has always eaten very well, but he was also going out to eat every day. He was always tired, had low energy, and always catching some kind of bug. And over the last 5 years he had put on about 20 pounds.

I finally begged him to give me 6 months of eating only what I make and to give up Gatorade and soda. He reluctantly did, and within 3 months lost that 20 pounds and was feeling great. It has been about a year, and he hasn’t caught one cold, is no longer tired all weekend, and is sleeping much better. He will go out to eat every once in a while, but every time he does he always says, “I wish I didn’t do that!”

One of our favorite dinners is Fajitas with Homemade Flour Tortillas along with a slightly modified version of Quinoa Salad. The modifications include adding cumin and chili powder to the dressing, omitting the dried fruit, and sautéing the bell pepper along with some jalapeño, onion, and garlic.

Real Food Tips (Fajitas) on 100 Days of Real Food

Fajitas with Whole-Grain Flour Tortillas and Quinoa Salad

From Kiran, Sales Manager

Real Food Tips (Kiran) on 100 Days of Real Food Tip:
Be realistic about expectations. Attempting the 10-day or even the 100-day pledge is awesome. And during that time, stay true to the rules, and true to yourself. But after that time, feel free to allow yourself a treat here and there.

In my opinion, you should look at the whole picture. It’s certainly not realistic to have treats after every meal, but it’s also not realistic to expect yourself or your loved ones, whether a spouse or your children, to never have anything sweet again. Seek out treats that fit the bill and that can be enjoyed occasionally.

I confess, I’m often on the hunt for treats that are as close as possible to our real food rules. I’ve had more food dyes in former years in the form of chewy candies than I’d like to admit, but now I realize that there are much more natural sweets that are not tough to make, like this Vegan Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge pictured below.

While this recipe does have a tad bit of refined sweetener, it is vegan and therefore dairy-free. You can also make it gluten-free by using gluten-free oats (I did).  I also subbed out Turbinado for the Sucanat and used only 1/2 cup. And lastly I used almond flour instead of grinding my own almonds. The result was delicious!

Real Food Tips (Vegan Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood

Vegan Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge by


From Amy, Blog Comment Moderator

Real Food Tips (Amy) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood Tip (and Story):
Before moving from Florida to North Carolina last summer, I had begun casually following the 100 Days blog for a few months. When we arrived here, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my kids were in school with Lisa and Jason’s girls.

While my family had been on a decent clean eating trajectory for a couple years, there continued to be plenty of room for improvement, especially in the area of processed food consumption. So, I took this weird coincidence as a sign and started to pay much more attention to the changes that the Leakes had made in their family.

What made the quickest and greatest difference for us was simply the choices I began to make at the grocery store. I began paying much more attention to labels, stayed out of those dreaded middle aisles, and stopped justifying the purchase of processed chemical-laden products. If I didn’t buy it, the opportunity to consume it was gone.

Now, this is not to suggest we are perfect at all. Our top pantry shelf is reserved for items that are “sometimes” foods and it does get used and replenished. And, I  CANNOT send my husband to the store because he often comes back with some atrocious black listed item. (Don’t even ask!) But, we have come further than I could have imagined in such a short time. And, I am forever grateful for the stroke of good luck that landed me here!  :)

This vegetarian Cuban Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos recipe of mine is one of our favorite go-to weeknight meals. Enjoy!

Real Food Tips (Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood

Cuban Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos


From Andrew, Technical Support

Real Food Tips (Andrew) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood Tip:
My best tip for convincing anyone to eat real food is simple: Lead by example. That means preparing delicious, real food that you truly love. Odds are, they will love it too! It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to taste good, be satisfying, and be made from the best ingredients you can gather. Then they’ll keep coming back for more!

These breakfast potatoes are one of my favorite real food dishes. They’re a frequent weekend brunch treat in our house.

Real Food Tips (Breakfast Potatoes) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood

Breakfast Potatoes / Photo Credit: Kelly Jaggers


From Lisa, Blog Creator (me!)

Real Food Tips (Jason Leake) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood Tip:
Last, but not least. You guys hear from me all the time, but I thought I would join in the fun anyway! My biggest tip I could share is to start small. Please don’t get overwhelmed and give up all together. At a minimum, take one tiny step in the right direction each day (or each week) and pat yourself (and your family member) on the back for it. It’s better to make at least some changes in the right direction than none at all – so don’t sweat the small stuff!

Gosh, pick only one favorite to share? And I am even the one who requested this information! It’s hard to narrow it down to just one, but I’ll have to go with Caprese Salad (preferably with homemade basil pesto). This is just a dish that I could probably eat every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. It has been a favorite of mine for a long time now.

Real Food Tips (Caprese Salad) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood

Caprese Salad

What’s your best advice for convincing a reluctant family member to join you on the real food bandwagon? Let us know in the comments below.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!
  • Comments

    1. Mary Catherine |

      The pork carnitas were a big hit in our house as well! My cousin asked me for “my” recipe afterwards. I emailed her the link… I have to give credit where it’s due, thanks!

    2. Kathi |

      Great article! Thank you for sharing your favorites. We have had the pork carnitas and my family keeps asking me to make them. I just purchased a tortilla press, so I’m excited to make them. I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes posted.

    3. Shannon |

      I think if you want to convince someone, just show them your team photos. Beautiful, beautiful people. Clearly eating well makes you look terrific!

      • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

        Too, too kind, Shannon…and a big thank you from ALL of us! :) ~Amy

    4. |

      Can somebody suggest some good cancer fighting foods/recipes?

      • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

        Hello there. My first advice is too be sure you consult with your physician on this. That said, foods high in antioxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Beta Carotene and foods rich in phytonutrients are likely you best bets. Do a quick Google search with these termnologies and you will get a whole list of the best of the best. Hope that helps a little. ~Amy

    5. Emily |

      I was wondering if you have any suggestions for substitutions for honey and nuts in your recipes. I have an infant and was wanting to try some of your recipes but want to feed it to my baby also and since you can’t feed honey or nuts to children < 1 yr I didn't know what to replace them with?? Thanks!!

      • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

        Hi Emily. You can usually use maple syrup in place of honey though you may have to adjust recipes a bit as the consistency is different. You could try sunflower seeds or pepitas (you could grind them before adding- if still not a thorough chewer) in place of nuts or just leave them out entirely. ~Amy

    6. Jess |

      To make a long story short, I started following 100 Days of Real Food when I was pregnant with my son… So my husband knew better then to argue with anything I wanted to eat :) But after little man was born, the hubs assumed we’d go back to the old ways. I continued to cook real food meals, became more active about planning meals and involved our almost 4-year-old daughter in the whole process too. She really enjoyed playing in the kitchen with mom and checking out all the local farmer’s markets, and the husband enjoyed the delicious food we were cranking out. Once he realized that real food does not equal boring food (and that our daughter enjoyed the shopping/cooking/eating too), he was definitely more interested in involving himself in the whole process.

    7. Joanne Robles |

      Hi! I love your site! Will you please add a +1 button (for Google Plus)so I can share your blog/recipes? Thanks!

    8. Catherine |

      Really happy I stumbled across your blog. I have always tried to eat healthy however in the past it was always a buy the low fat version and cook mostly real food. Once I was prego with my daughter I was much more conscious about finding organic or natural options and once I was actually feeding her table foods I only wanted to find the organic options. (I was noticing often enough there were not low fat organic options) Unfortunately, as you have pointed out in the past is the importance of reading labels because even organic options are full of unnecessary ingredients. Hence the better option to make it from scratch— no need for a preservative when your eating it fresh and or freezing. I just started making the recipes on your blog and some from Foodbabe and my husband, myself and our daughter have thoroughly enjoyed! My husband falls off the band wagon way too often though…. after eating some crappy Super Bowl snacks went to bed with a migraine and really regretted it! He is getting better.
      Once again I have some bread going in the bread maker and will probably do an Alfredo sauce tonight since I don’t have many other ingredients in my house today. Snowing again in the NE so tough to get out! Glad to be snowed in and making real food :)

    9. Maria |

      Thank you for this post, although it’s older, it helped me a lot. I have fully transitioned my family of 5 to real food after years of allowing those things that I knew were bad to seep in. Two of the 3 kids are really embracing it but one is acting as if I am punishing him. It’s a lot of work . At times I feel like my husband sabotages it by bringing home a box of frosted flakes even though it might be trader joes, or a coke zero, and commenting how it’s okay to have a llittle. I try to stay calm and move forward. I dropped my daughter at softball with a friend and came back to find her drinking a blue Gatorade purchased for my daughter by the friends mom, even though my daughter had a full water jug. Please address this again as I feel like I am constantly battling societies barrage of blue dyed, HFCS , processed garbage …daily. My kids aren’t as young as yours and they are given more access and freedom when I may not be around…unfortunately some make better decisions than others.

    1 2 3 4

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *