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.
I am excited to introduce the fabulous team behind this blog! For the first year and a half I completely ran the whole thing by myself, and at times I felt like I was just flying by the seat of my pants. But after experiencing my fair share of technical difficulties as well as some serious blog growth, I quickly realized I could no longer do this on my own. So I am excited to share all the names and faces that make this blog what it is today. There is no way everything would keep running smoothly without their invaluable help! Also almost everyone on this list either has or will be publishing guest posts so look for their names as they join the conversation here on the blog.
Lisa Leake, Blog Creator
I am a wife, mother, foodie, blogger, and New York Times Bestselling author who started this site to (hopefully) inspire others to cut out highly processed food. Prior to my unexpected and “almost didn’t happen” blogging stint I absolutely loved both food and cooking, but never wrote anything a day in my life (other than thank you notes and term papers!). I actually worked for Bank of America mostly doing corporate event planning up until my older daughter was 4-years-old…so as you can see quite a contrast from food writing. I am glad I overcame my “lack of writing skills” concern though and went down this path anyway because as it turns out, combining a deep passion with determination and hard work can take you to some pretty unexpected and exciting places!
Sometimes it feels like I don’t have much of a life outside of this blog (and the cooking that comes with it), but I do have other interests! They include traveling, gardening, sewing, craft projects with my girls, entertaining friends, throwing an occasional party, running or biking for exercise, and both decorating and organizing our home. Yep, I am your classic type-A busybody…even though I sometimes try I never actually sit still for very long!
Jason Leake, My Husband and Operations Manager
Jason is a jack-of-all-trades having worked in engineering, real estate, and sales. But in August of 2012, Jason had the opportunity to leave corporate America and begin working on the blog full time. Hooray! Jason’s primary blog roles are editor, COO, and CFO. He is also involved behind the scenes with most every other aspect of the blog including strategic development, grocery go-getting, first tier-tech support, and emotional support. :)
Outside of work, Jason is a very involved dad and husband. He loves adventure, mountain biking, camping/backpacking, music, travel, home improvement projects, truthful people, and of course real food. He also enjoys rock climbing, running, and meditation (but is a novice at all three). Jason and Lisa both currently reside in Charlotte, NC with their two daughters, ages 12 and 14, and recently built a tiny house retreat in the mountains.
Kiran Dodeja Smith, Advertising Manager and Contributor
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Kiran was a Junior in college when she realized that the accounting degree she was pursuing was not the field she wanted to work in for the rest of her life. So instead, she continued on and completed an MBA program with a focus in marketing. Upon graduation, she moved to Charlotte, NC with her (now) husband. After working for 3.5 years with a regional bridal publication, she started her own business, a regional magazine targeting parents. She successfully ran the publication for 8 years, during which she expanded her family to include four children. In November 2011, it was time for a change.
Kiran handles all of our sponsorship partners and advertising sales including giveaways and discounts for our readers. If advertising your company or website on 100 Days of Real Food might be a good fit then Kiran is your girl! Kiran brings a strong understanding of advertising, marketing and promotion as well as skills gained from running a small business and can assist you in finding the best way to promote your business to our targeted demographic. Please visit our Work with Us page to connect.
In addition to working with sponsors, Kiran is a contributing writer for the blog. She is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and has her own blog, EasyRealFood.com. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband and four children.
Shawn Keller, Facebook and Pinterest Moderator
Shawn was born and raised in Northern California. When she was 18, she moved to Florida and it’s a good thing she did because that’s where she met her husband! After 7 years in the Sunshine State, they decided it was time for change. They packed up their stuff, put their finger on the map, and ended up landing in Charlotte, NC. Shawn has always had an interest in health and fitness, but it was when she became pregnant with her first child that she really started to feel passionate about eating real food.
Shawn’s main responsibility is answering reader questions on our Facebook wall. Just like with the blog comments and emails it got to the point where FB questions would start going unanswered if I didn’t get some help! And it’s important to me that everyone gets the responses they need. Shawn also manages our Pinterest page and helps with incoming emails when the volume is high.
Shawn stays busy with three kids (a 6-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl and a very busy 2-year-old boy), a dog, and last, but not least, a husband. Her weekends are usually filled with running the kids to their various sporting events. When she does have free time, she loves to bike and hike. Really, anything outside makes her happy :) Shawn also loves to cook and bake, so you can often find her in the kitchen.