We invite you to read along and hopefully join in as our family seeks out the real food in a processed food world. Our hope is since our family (that does not live on a farm, has two young children, and a husband that travels frequently) went 100 days without eating a single ounce of processed food or refined ingredients that you will consider taking our 10 Days of Real Food pledge. To make the boundaries clear we set some ground rules. If we did it for 100 days, then I am absolutely convinced that anyone can do it for only 10 days! And in case you need some more convincing, check out our list of 10 reasons to cut out processed food. If you would like to make some changes without going “cold turkey” also check out our 100 Days of Real Food Mini-Pledges, a 14-week guide for slowly cutting out processed food.

Our original 100 Days of Real Food pledge ended September 4, 2010 and boy was it a wild journey. You can start reading the blog from the beginning on “Day 1” if you’d like. During that pledge, one piece of feedback we heard often was…isn’t real food expensive? And the honest answer? Yes. So we decided to set out on yet another real food journey by taking a 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget pledge. This one began on October 4, 2010 and allowed us to spend only $125/week on food for the four of us. That is less money than a family would have on full food stamp benefits! You can read more about the rules for this second pledge by starting on “Budget Day 1.” Thanks for stopping by!

A little more about our family and why we are doing this…

At the beginning of 2010 our eating habits were just like those of any other average family. We thought we were making fairly healthy food choices, although we certainly weren’t following any special rules. Then came along the Oprah show “Food 101 with Michael Pollan”. After the show, Jason and I (Lisa) both decided to read Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food” which ended up being life changing for us. As it turned out, a lot of what we thought were “healthy” food choices were actually just highly processed and what the food industry was labeling as “healthy.”

Jason’s background is fairly different from mine. As a young child he lived with his parents and aunts and uncles on a hippie commune in Oregon. They grew and raised all of their own food. Jason and his parents have since become more industrialized when it comes to eating, but that doesn’t change their basic understanding of where our food comes from. On the other hand, as a child I had both Doritos and Kraft macaroni & cheese as staples in my diet, and I barely stepped foot on a farm. This shaped my views as an adult. As most other wives and moms can relate, I do most of the meal planning and food shopping, therefore I was (and still am) the biggest influence on our family’s food choices. And after reading “In Defense of Food” I decided it was time to make some big changes to those food choices.

So it wasn’t easy at first, but we slowly revamped everything from what we bought, to where we shopped, to how we cooked. It’s been such an eye opening experience for us that we didn’t want to keep all this exciting information to ourselves. So soon after we started making changes I launched a blog called The Food Illusion (which has now been moved over to this site) and began to build an audience. After a few months of blogging I decided it was time to do something big, something bold, and something that would get as many other people as we can to not only read about eating real foods, but to also make a commitment to this important change. Which is when the original 100 Days of Real Food pledge was born. You see, every time we food shop or eat a meal we are voting for either processed food-like substances or real food. If all of us make the right choices together then we can make a big impact, which will help change our country’s food system for the better.

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Family photos taken by Photography by Chanda: http://photographybychanda.com/pope/
Disclaimer: Lisa Leake is not a trained dietician, nutritionist, chef, or medical professional. The information on this blog is based on facts, research, and personal experiences. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Never dismiss any advice your health physician gives. The author shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or any other damages.

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  1. Jenny |

    Hi Lisa–

    Very excited to find your site and even more excited to find out that you live in Charlotte. (I had assumed that the 100-day challenge originated from someone in San Fran or NYC where there seems to be a larger movement in regards to eating real food.)

    Looking forward to reading your site and blogs.

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      Thank you!! And I agree it is about time the food movement came to Charlotte!

  2. |

    As someone who (among many other thing) teaches folks how to grow vegetables year-round and as a devoted vegetable gardener myself, I say bravo.

    Eating whole foods, cooking them fresh, and avoiding processed foods is a great step forward for health and taste.

    Good for you for successfully promoting your efforts to a wider audience!

  3. Marlo |

    Hi, I stumbled on your page. Great ideas. But what do you do if you are gluten free and or dairy free as well?

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      If you are gluten free there are many brown rice and other whole grain options when it comes to pasta, bread, and crackers. For dairy try almond milk and other similar alternatives.

  4. Courtney |

    Hi! I just found your blog and am loving it. My family of three (also in Charlotte!) has been on the “real food” diet for about 4 months now and are DEFINITELY on a budget- I stay at home with the kiddo, so we only have one income and spend $80 per week on food. I definitely think you can eat real food on a budget if you just plan! We have to write our menu every week and ONLY buy whats on the list. It’s work, but it’s worth it.
    Are you signed up for Earth Fare’s mailing list? They send out great coupons about 3 times a month for something for free with a $5 purchase. We’ve gotten free chicken, beef, grapes, melons, sugar, apples, brie and a ton of other stuff i cant remember. I highly reccomend it.
    I’ll be following your blog for sure!

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      Thanks for stopping by the blog! It is nice to know I am not alone on my mission :) Also, I am on Earth Fare’s email list and love getting stuff for free from there!

  5. Caroline |

    Good morning, just found your web site in Eating Well magazine. I am approaching 70 I have been through the gauntlet of real foods (grew up in So California) to processed foods and the swing back and forth. Fast good came into being during my lifetime and works very hard to convince us it is good for us. I am also a very big fan of Jamie Oliver and find it a shame a Brit has to come to West Virginia to try and get them to eat healthier in schools. My husband and I live in PA in Mennonite/Amish country and real food is plentiful and fairly inexpensive. I love to cook but still work 48 hours per week, counting commute time to DC from PA. I cook on the weekend and freeze food for quick wholesome meals during the four day commute, have a garden and bake my our bread. I believe that many of our health problems can be traced directly to our diets and also read In Defense of Food. Thank you for your web page and even though I have not read any of your blogs yet, I cannot wait to jump in. Great work!!

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      Thank you so much for your comment…it sounds like you have a lot of experience in this department!

  6. Caroline |

    Just read my comment and I really meant fast food not fast good.

  7. Amanda |

    Good Morning! A good friend of mine just sent me a link to your site last night and I am so interested in everything you are doing. I would love to hear you speak, what time is your discussion at EareFare on 1-12-11?

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      Welcome to the blog! The Jan. 12th discussion will be at 6:00 P.M. – hope to see you there!

  8. Emily |

    Thanks so much for what you are doing! This is all very new to me but I am so excited to learn from someone who is in the same place as me with a 3 and a 5 year old. I was completely dumbfounded when I cleaned out my pantry and refrigerator at the amount of items containing sugar. And I thought I was doing pretty good…Things are definitely changing around our house. THANK YOU!

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      I was right there with you when we started all of this a year ago…at first it felt impossible “relearn” how to food shop and eat, but it got so much easier over time. You can do it! And your kids will thank you for it one day (and by the way persistence is key with them)!!

  9. |

    Any chance you could do a gluten-free segment? I cook in very similar ways at home and like your style. Thanks for the fun ideas.

  10. Jennifer |

    I just found your website and am so encouraged! We have a 19 month old daughter who is intolerant to eggs, dairy, corn, wheat and bannanas (whew!) and it has completely changed how I shop for and cook our meals. She is projected to grow out of this if we keep it out of her diet for a year and slowly introduce the foods into her diet. Even though this has been tough, it has been a blessing to our family because we are making better choices. More recently, we are on a strict budget so I was thrilled to see your real food on a budget series! Here in Oklahoma City we do not have a lot of options, but we do try to visit our farmer’s market each week and buy organically at the supermarket. Anyway, thanks for inspiring and educating us with your story!

    • Bebe |

      Uggghhhh allergies are so tricky. I am ale ays looking for new blogs. We are eggs, milk, soy. These poor babies. Mine is 20 mo. Contact me via my blog and i will help you with recipoes. It’s so tricky.

    • 100 Days of Real Food |

      Thank you so much for your comment, and I wish you the best of luck with your daughter!! Food allergies are not easy so I hope she does grow out of them!

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