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Hi, my name is Lisa, and I’m so glad you’re here because that means you have an interest in real food!

Whether you’re brand new to cutting out processed food or you’re a real food veteran, I hope you’ll find some value in the resources on this blog. In the beginning of 2010 I had never before read an ingredient label, never bought anything that was organic (at least not on purpose), nor had I ever stepped foot in a farmers’ market. I am certainly not proud of those things, but that was reality for the first 32 or so years of my life and the most disturbing part is that I had no idea I was doing anything wrong.

After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan I got the wake up call of my life and felt like our eating habits needed a serious overhaul. Making such drastic changes was not easy at first (it has thankfully become our “new normal” since then), and at the time I struggled to find resources to help me understand exactly how I could apply Pollan’s principals to our everyday lives. So shortly thereafter my real food blog was born. What better way to convince others to cut out processed food with us than to give them everything they need to successfully make it happen!

Here are some of the resources you’ll find on the blog:

If you’re brand spanking new you might also want to check out:

I add new content to the blog weekly so be sure to subscribe via email (below) or follow us on facebook or twitter to be informed of new posts. I am very active on my facebook page so it’s a great place to post a question or join in on the discussion.

Wishing you the best of luck on your real food journey!

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531 comments to Start Here

  • [...] What foods should you avoid?  Pretty much the same ones that also contribute to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and any other lifestyle disease you can think of: fast foods, trans fats, processed foods, refined foods.  Eliminate or at least cut back on red meat and processed meats, avoid grilling or frying meats of any kind, stay away from vegetable oils and sweets… particularly anything with refined white sugars or artificial sweeteners.  Excess caffeine, dairy, and alcohol can all contribute to cancer, but if you tolerate these things well, moderate consumption may be okay.  If you want some more guidance on how to switch up your processed foods to the real, whole, much better for you and better tasting varieties, this is an awesome site. [...]

  • Hi Lisa, I just wanted to congratulate you on your new gig at TakePart! I’ve been reading since the beginning and it’s cool to see your brand grow. Good job, thanks for all the info and work you do for everyone!

  • Michelle

    Love your blog!! Great site, thank you!!

  • Alison

    I recently started following your blog and i just love it – thank you! I also started reading In Defense of Food after hearing about it on your website. WOW. it’s shocking to know, as a self proclaimed healthy eater, that some of what i’m eating isn’t actually healthy at all! for example, i eat salads most every day for lunch with Hidden Valley Ranch fat-free ranch dressing. it’s filled with high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin, among other chemicals i can’t even pronounce. while i knew this wasn’t actually healthy, i didn’t really think oil and vinegar was much healthier given the fat content, even though it’s not made up of saturated fat. it’s like i’ve been brainwashed for so long by the U.S. health/food marketing that i’ve been making some less-than-ideal food choices. thank you for educating the rest of us, and thanks to Michael Pollan for just a well written book, basically telling us that all the fad diets and health claims are bogus and we’d be better off just eating real foods as part of a balanced diet rather than trying to remove the so-called “bad” foods from our diet. thank you!

  • Susan

    Hi Lisa! Been following you on Facebook and receive your emails. Thanks for great information. Looking forward to making the Spelt Pumpkin Muffins for my picky eaters. May I suggest another book: Fast Food Nation. It was a real wake up call for us on the fast food industry and it led us to read Food Rules.

  • Kelli

    I was wondering about making homemade bread crumbs. I feel like reading one of the school lunch posts you said you would keep the crust in the freezer to make bread crumbs, but under the article about making them it says the bread should be stale (I would assume then not frozen?) Can you clear this up and how do you store them, in the freezer? How long do they last?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Kelli. I store them in the freezer as “scraps” until I’m ready to make the bread crumbs. It’s usually the crusts of bread I don’t use for my kids sandwiches, so, it’s generally at least hard enough to use for the breadcrumbs. You can also dry the bread out in a low oven if you want a little bit of a coarser crumb. Hope that helps. Jill

  • karen

    Hi. I received the meal plans, thank you. I was a bit surprised to find Triscuits on there as a snack. I consider them to be processed and therefore not real food. They use soybean oil in it which is highly processed (they do not say it’s expeller pressed) and soybeans are GMO’s. Could you expand on why you allow these crackers?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Karen. Just like any non-organic product it’s possible that it’s GMO (the soybean oil…and even the wheat) so they aren’t our first choice cracker these days. They are still MUCH better than all the refined and sugary options though. We usually buy Ak-Mak because they are both whole grain and organic. Jill

  • Love the blog Lisa! Nice to see so many people challenging you-Triscuits!? What are you, Satan?! I only eat grains that have been pulverized between 2 stones during a new moon! And only granite, not marble, because metamorphic rocks are processed!

    Anyhoo, my husband started making most of our food after our 2nd daughter was born. Thank God for him, I don’t know if I would have stuck with it. I think it’s definitely developed a palate in them for natural foods-she is more likely to want apples and cheese for breakfast than cereal and she loves fresh juice. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading.

  • Shannan

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this site Lisa! I was much like you years ago….never read a label and even laughed at the organic, granola crunchy type people. Until taking a pediatric oncology course at work and then becoming a pediatric allergy and asthma nurse. What I’ve seen in the last three years has blown my mind!!! I began asking myself, dear lord, what are they putting in our food?! I began researching it and in some ways almost wished I hadn’t. What I found out was unbelievable (as you know). I decided to completely change the way I think about food and the way I feed my family ( I have four children). The biggest challenge has been getting great recipes the whole family will eat as well as finding great affordable whole foods. You have helped me tremendously with this challenge. Hoping resources like yours become more and more common. Thank you for your assistance in transforming our lives!

  • [...] you heard of the blog 100 Days of Real Food?  If you haven’t, go check it out right now.  I’ll wait.  No really.  It’s a [...]

  • tosha

    Hey ! I have briefly read over your blog! My sister who is 10 has had severe migraines for the past couple of years the last one put her in the hospital because she got so sick. Her Doctor at Blair E Batson has come up with NO MSG ! MSG is in almost everything … Do u know if msg is in any of the foods that you use ? Thanks for the help!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Tosha. Yes, MSG is in a lot of foods. You will find that it is much easier to avoid certain ingredients/additives when making food yourself as opposed to consuming processed, packaged food. So, I think you may have a good chance to avoid MSG following our recipes and obviously making sure that the ingredients you purchase are free of MSG. Best of luck to you. Jill

  • [...] Food.” It will change your life. Well, it did mine anyway. And take a few minutes to peruse Lisa Leake’s amazing website and resources on real food. Her breakdown of mini challenges offer easy ways to get started without [...]

  • [...] eating ‘challenge’ for anyone interested in a whole foods type diet. This website is basically about a family who took a pledge to eat 100 days of real food! You can see the rules [...]

  • Hillary

    A friend suggested your 100 day challenge on Facebook, and I replied that I already do eat real food. I’m so glad you’re taking the time to educate people on how important it is to eat food instead of “edible food-like substances” (according to Michael Pollan). I developed a gluten intolerance seven years ago, and I cut a bunch of processed food and fast food out of my diet. For me, it wasn’t hard because I didn’t eat much of that to begin with. My biggest challenge now is finding gluten free food that isn’t loaded with garbage. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

  • Mindy

    I’m wondering about the difference between your site/philosophy and “clean eating”, first made popular by Tosca Reno (I think). Your answer to this may be posted on your site, but havent found it so thought I would send a quick email. Thanks.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Mindy. I guess I would need more specifics on the site/philosophy you refer to, but, I’m not sure that it’s all that different. Jill

  • [...] My Sister’s Pantry (check out the Baby Steps series) 100 Days of Real Food The Nourishing Home Books Real Food by Nina Planck Food Rules by Michael Pollan What to Eat by [...]

  • I was recently diagnosed as pre diabetic and your site is the ONLY site where I can find recipes that I can count on to give me whole grain, non processed sugar recipes. Thank you Lisa and Jill for all your hard work! Growing up in WV (the unhealthiest state in the country), I was ignorant to so many health facts. There are SO many people out there that need this information. Thanks for making it easily accessible to us.

    Oh and I made the blueberry whole wheat muffins this morning and they were out of this world!

  • [...]  But, I’m hoping not, especially since I’m considering giving considering trying the Real Foods eating approach for a while.  Unless bacon isn’t allowed, in which case, I’ll continue [...]

  • Molly

    Hi! I am just starting the 100 day real food challenge. I have read through alot of the blogs and tips on here. I have yet to come across an article regarding polutry and eggs. I having a hard time understanding the difference between, just hormone free, free range, organic, and vegetarian diet when it comes to trying to buy my chicken and eggs. Is one of these “better” or “worse” or do you all recommend/support a certain one? Can you please provide more information on this topic? It was very overwhelming trying to pick the “right” package of eggs! Other than that I love your site and all the information you all provide. I am so excited to start this new journey!Thanks!

    • For any chicken products (including eggs) what you really want to look for is “pastured” chickens. This means those chickens were grazing on open, green pastures, which is what’s best for them. As Michael Pollan says, “You are what you eat eats, too.” and it’s true. I’ve only been able to find pastured chicken and eggs at our local farmers’ market. I think the next best bet (from the grocery store) would be organic. I hope that helps!

  • marie

    Hello, I love your blog and I am deeply considering also trying to change our family’s way of eating to real food only.But I had a few questions… Do you and your family see a noticeable difference in the way you feel, act, look… since you changed your whole way of eating? Do you see your children as healthier, stronger, better balanced children, perhaps even in their focusing at school, acting towards others, overall behavior and even immune system? Do you yourself feel stronger, less tired, better skin, better overall health? I’d really like to know any and all changes in your lives since the change if that’s possible. I appreciate any time you would be willing to share. Thankyou!

  • Susan

    I love noosa yogurt. It is new in our area…. Is it ok to eat? What yogurts do u suggest?
    Thanks for helping me become healthy!

  • Nasly

    “…how I could apply Pollan’s principals…” I think you meant principles. ..

  • Claudia

    I just started cutting out processed foods and we don’t really have any “healthy” bakeries where I live. I found a whole wheat bread that has 8 ingredients. They include: Organic 100% whole grain wheat flour, water, organic honey, organic cultured wheat flour, organic vinegar, sea salt, yeast and natural enzymes. Is this ok or would it be better for me to buy a bread machine and make my own? Also, Skippy creamy peanut butter only has 4 ingredients, which are: roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils and salt. Is that ok? Thanks for your help!

    • Annie

      Hi Claudia! I’m just starting out too, but from what I understand there are problems with both items. On the bread – The organic cultured wheat flour is probably not considered “whole” wheat and I’m not sure what natural enzymes would be… On the Skippy – Refined sugar and hydrogenated oils are no nos. I just blend up peanuts with a touch of salt or honey for a perfect PB.

      Again, I’m just learning too. So maybe someone else will reply with better explanations :-) Good luck on this journey!

      • David DeRolph

        Hello. My first comment here. Smuckers makes several varieties of natural (no hydrogenated oil or sugar) peanut butter. Since I live near a Kroger (supermarket) store, I often shop there and they sell their own brand of natural peanut butter.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Claudia. If you are able to, I would probably still suggest making your own bread. In terms of the peanut butter, you really only need one ingredient; peanuts. I would probably see about another brand of peanut butter as well. Trader Joe’s carries an organic one with only peanuts. Jill

  • I am so excited I found your blog on pinterest. And I saw a friend on here who “liked” it on facebook! I cannot wait to get your updates via email. Have you heard of Juice Plus? Best, Jenn

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jennifer. Welcome! Yes, we have heard of juice plus. It’s not a product we use, however, as we believe we get what we need from our diet. Thanks for reading the blog. Jill

  • rhonda st. columbia

    I am trying to subscribe to your blog. There seems to be an error on both places on your site to sign up :)

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