Our {Real Food} Journey: 7 Tips Toward Real Food


If you’re new to this series, start here!

The following are some thoughts on what I did that worked out well OR that I didn’t do and wish I would have:

{The Emotional Steps}

1.) Freedom & Grace for Your Pace!

Some people are “all or nothing” and can make drastic changes overnight and never look back. I am NOT one of those people and it took me a long time to make changes that would stick. I found freedom from this when I decided on my most important to make and made those in my time before moving onto the next one.

Yet I’d often get annoyed with myself if EVERYTHING wasn’t the healthiest version (as if I should already KNOW how to do it all). I found grace when I decided the point is to ALWAYS be moving towards health; making some changes is better than none!

2.) Trust Yourself    

More often than not, something you try to make will not be as hard as you thought and turn out better than you expected.

{The Tangible Steps}

3.) Eliminate the Most Blatant Junk

There are intricacies within the {real food} movement, not quite knowing what is acceptable in regards to what you’re used to; however there is plenty of junk food that is obviously not real. Get rid of it! If it is not there it is not an option!

4.) Prep Salads, Veggies & Snacks in Advance

This tip is 3-fold: 

  1. Less Waste! I found repeatedly that if I brought home heads of lettuce but didn’t prep them immediately (wash and chop) they would often go bad; on the other hand, if I prepped them, we’d usually run out! The same goes for carrots, celery, peppers, etc. I’m MUCH more likely to have a handful of carrots if they are ALL already washed and chopped than doing all that work for one.
  2. Saves Time and Money! I like to make batches of snack foods at the beginning of the week, especially little bags of dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. I make about 5 for each of us (15 bags) and throw them in the fridge. Then, when we are running out the door, I’m not scrambling to throw a snack together or needing to buy one when we’re out because I didn’t have time to make it.
  3. Healthy Temptations! When healthy foods are an option because they are already prepared (at home or out) it is MUCH easier to curb my desire to “indulge” in a snack food.

5.) Figure out Your New Go-To, Real Food Recipes:

At first, I stopped buying basically everything! I couldn’t bring myself to buy items that I knew contained harmful ingredients, but then could no longer make most of my recipes and didn’t know how to go about creating new ones. I realized we needed to slow down and reintroduce some normalcy when Andy was constantly wandering around the kitchen like a lost (starving) puppy unable to find a single prepared snack or any food he knew how to prepare himself.

Learn a couple new recipes for meals & snacks (or adjust your favorite recipes to be real), memorize how to make them, and always have those ingredients on hand!

6.) Tackle REAL Foods by Category OR Meal Type (switching from conventional to local/organic)

It is easiest to pour all your energy into researching ONE topic (i.e. where can I buy the best quality of a given product for the lowest cost). I’m listing them in what I felt was their order of importance:

  1. Milk, Meats & Eggs – from conventionally raised and processed to local, organic, pasture-raised;
  2. Fruits & Vegetables (especially the dirty dozen);
  3. Nuts, Seeds, Oats, Whole Wheat, etc. (As we ran out of what we had on hand, I simply replaced these with their raw and organic counterparts);
  4. Dry beans, other grains, stocks, homemade sauces/condiments, etc.


Consider tackling Real Food items according to meal times: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks & beverages; concentrating on the common ingredients used at those meal times.

Dinner seemed to be most difficult for me because the majority of casseroles, soups, crock pot recipes, etc. use processed ingredients. But by changing our other/easier meals and snacks first, I knew even if something was not entirely {real} at dinner, the rest of what we consumed was.


7.) Save and Spend Wisely

I spent the beginning of our marriage mastering the art of couponing, but I realized very quickly into this journey that the items I was saving huge amounts of money on were really just “edible food-like substances” (as Michael Pollan would say). Cue My Couponing {Identity} Crisis! This topic deserves a post of its own (or many). I have a LOT to say about it…read tomorrow!


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6 Responses to Our {Real Food} Journey: 7 Tips Toward Real Food
  1. […] which prompts my next post: 7 Tips Towards Real Food […]

  2. Heather
    May 18, 2012 | 3:11 pm

    Hi Becca,
    I’ve been excitedly reading your posts on this topic. Its something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot recently, especially since Julia started eating “real” food. Jeff and I are responsible for teaching her good eating habits and that is quite a big task. She tends to be a picky, so it can seem overwhelming at times. Looking forward to your post on keeping it affordable. Hope you guys are doing well and can’t wait to see you all over the 4th of July!

    • Becca V
      May 18, 2012 | 5:39 pm

      Ahh, yes! That was such a motivator for us, too; thinking of putting so much artificial junk into these wonderfully pure little bodies was heartbreaking. But thinking of putting all the good stuff in that will contribute to good health is empowering! Can’t wait to see you, too and thanks so much for reading, Heather!

  3. Colleen / Inspired to Share
    June 4, 2012 | 10:44 pm

    Becca this series is amazing!!! I have fallen a tad off the wagon taking shortcuts and this was just what I needed to read to get back on track! Absolutely nothing processed. xo

    • Becca V
      June 5, 2012 | 6:14 pm

      Thank you, Colleen! So glad it served as the encouragement you needed…writing about it serves as the same encouragement for me!

  4. granola files // cilantro hummus |
    June 20, 2012 | 3:38 am

    […] is a staple for me. A friend of mine recently wrote 7 awesome tips toward real food and one of her tips is to prep veggies and snacks in advance.  When hunger strikes, I’m much […]