Real Food for Health (and an update on my cough)

eat real food

For years, this was my focus.  When I started going through some really hard times mentally/emotionally, I started buying allll of the processed foods.  Then I joined a anti-diet group/program, and they thought this was bogus… like, what is “real food?”  Isn’t all food real?

I have kind of backed away from this.  I’m no longer in the group, and I’m finding that maybe what was taught isn’t 100% for me.  That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, that other people shouldn’t be a part of it, or that I haven’t learned a lot.  But it’s just not a good fit for me anymore… so I’m moving forward and finding my own way.

After a very difficult year physically, I have decided that whole foods are in fact real food, and processed foods are definitely not what are good for our body.  Does that mean that I don’t ever have processed foods?  Life doesn’t allow for real food 100% of the time. At least not ours.  But… I’m gonna share how things have gone with my new amazing chiropractor this past week.

First of all, he’s not a dietitian or nutritionist.  He doesn’t claim to be, and any advice he gives is just based on what is happening with your body and how to fuel it and nourish it to help it feel better.  He is a doctor of chiropractic care and he has a really great understanding and knowledge of how the body works.  And, what he shared with me is very similar to what I already know… it was just great to get that encouragement to remind me that what I have researched and know is in fact best for me.  I have struggled with all that is out there, and I haven’t been trusting myself and what I know makes me feel good.

Second, I knew he was going to suggest supplements, but what I didn’t know is that he was going to recommend and tell me he totally understands if I can’t afford them or decide not to take them.  He doesn’t press people to do what he says… he just shares info!  I appreciate that so much.  He suggested 4.  I bought one that sounded like it would make the most impact.  I had an appointment with my nurse practitioner (whom I adore!), and she took me off of my thyroid med (per my request and because she feels that maybe I don’t need it), and she said if my labs are elevated in 6 weeks, maybe I could try the other supplements that my chiropractor suggested.  But she said I should wait to see if I even need to take them.

Also, the adjustment that he did made my back better!

So… I’m going to share some things that I have landed on.

I’m going for 80/20.

20% (ish) of the time, I will allow myself to have things that may not be the healthiest… for example… I LOVE our chicken strips at camp, so that’ll still be happening.  Probably a few other camp meals.  And Chick-Fil-A.  Sometimes I get a salad, sometimes I get nuggets.  Sometimes I have chips, but mostly kettle cooked.  Sometimes dessert.  My coffee is still sweet, but I try to use raw honey or coconut sugar.

Being away from the house is always complicated because finding food at restaurants to eat is difficult.  We’re at my parents’ house this week, and I always want all the things that they buy like chips and cookies.  But I do know it’s temporary, and I can handle anything for a few days.

Now for the 80%…

I’m trying to reduce or avoid these things:

The hardest for me is artificial sweeteners and soda.  This is what I’m trying to do…

I have a pretty strong addiction to them.  So I am trying to drink kombucha for now, but I can’t afford to drink it a ton.  So I’m working on coming up with fun drinks that are good for me.  I do love me some good coffee with honey and dairy free half and half, hot herbal tea with raw honey, ice water in my favorite water bottle, honey and mint tea, Topo Chico, etc.  I do have honey in most things, which isn’t ideal, but I’m taking it one day at a time.  I ordered stuff to make an herbal coffee and am excited to try this soon!

I have lots of coconut sugar, maple syrup, raw honey, etc.  That’s the main sweeteners that I use.  I also have a bit of monk fruit for things like tea so that I can reduce the amount of honey that I use.  I won’t use a ton because I’m not a huge fan of the taste, but it’s the best out of the sugar free natural sweeteners.  We use Zulka sugar (unrefined) for some baking and things.  But I’m transferring over to the others as I can.

Then there’s the gluten.

It is well known that it can cause issues for people, and since I have been having issues with inflammation, it’s important for me to at least avoid it as much as I can.  I have been doing pretty well at not having it near as much, but I’m still going to try to limit it even more.  Luckily, I have soooo many ingredients to make gluten free foods including cassava flour, almond flour, coconut, cashew, tapioca, arrowroot, and a basic all purpose gluten free flour.  I’m not really a fan of most gluten free pre-made foods, so if I eat something gluten free, I will mostly make it homemade.  I’m also just trying to not have foods that I would have to come up with another option.  More of that below.

Whole Grains.

I won’t have much in the way of whole wheat (cause… gluten), but I am going to start to make homemade sourdough (which is something my chiropractor suggested).  I bought a bit of hard white wheat berries to mill again (I used to do this all the time).  I just bought a small amount to see if it’s something that I feel like I can do it consistently, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just continue buying white wheat flour on  It’s a great price and it’s already milled.  The new balanced person in me says to just use both.  If I’m not feeling up to it, don’t grind flour!  Just have the possibility for both.  I bake bread for the kids a lot… I’m not sure that I will focus on them having sourdough just yet.

Other than that, I have oats (whole rolled and steel cut), some brown rice (not a ton), wild rice, and quinoa.  Some of the gluten free breads have all kinds of grains that are gluten free.

I have to have some whole grains for energy.  My body craves it.  But I’m trying to change up what whole grains I’m taking in.  And how many.

Healthy Fats.

I can handle a bit of real butter, and I try to choose pastured varieties.  If I can’t afford it, I just use the regular old butter.  I use so so much coconut oil.  And avocado oil and olive oil.  I use a bit of canola if the others don’t work. It’s not ideal, but I try to buy organic when I can.

Allll the protein.

I know myself, and I need quite a bit of protein.  If not, I get shaky and I don’t have much energy.

We ordered half a grass fed cow.  We will receive it in about 3-4 weeks.  It will include all kinds of cuts: steaks of many types, stew meat, soup bones, roasts, lots of ground, and probably more that I’m not remembering.  I can’t wait till our freezer is full.

I try to buy pastured pork and chicken.  It’s not always possible, and I wish we had a better source, but it is what it is.

I buy nitrate free lunch meat and bacon also.

I eat a LOT of eggs.  We mostly eat eggs from my parents’ chickens right now.  I buy some Farmhouse eggs when we don’t have some from them.  AND.  I am picking up some chicks on Friday and we are starting over again with chickens for eggs!  We have a coop already (it needs a bit of work), and we’re just trying to work out the housing.  We have about 4 weeks (at least) till we need to have a place to put them.  We have everything set up for them as chicks.

The boys and I are pretty obsessed with wild caught salmon these days, and it’s super easy for even the boys to make.


I also get protein from homemade Greek yogurt, nuts (I loved them brined and roasted!) and seeds (especially hemp!), nut butter, collagen, grass fed gelatin, hemp protein powder, grass fed beef jerky, homemade bars, and homemade granola with lots of nuts and seeds in it.

There’s probably more that I’m not thinking about.

What about beans?

I LOVE beans.  Love them.  And they have so so many amazing health benefits and nutrients.

Unfortunately, they also can cause inflammation.

The balanced person in me says it’s okay to have them sometimes.  I will focus on the beans that have more bang for their buck like black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.

And pasta?

I try to mostly buy whole wheat and/or gluten free.  But I’m trying to minimize this as well.  Again.  Not eliminating.  Just reducing.

All the fruits and veggies!

I pretty much don’t limit this at all.  I am trying super hard to increase these because they make me feel so good and there are so many nutrients in them.  I don’t always buy organic because it’s expensive, but sometimes I do.  There are some of them that I almost always buy organic, and some that I never buy organic.  My goal is just whole foods in general.

I can’t handle most dairy products, so this is what I use instead.

I like Melt “butter” because while it’s not necessarily “real food,” it has better ingredients than most dairy free butters.

I love oat milk, oat milk barista blend, Silk dairy free half and half, and for the most part I try to avoid foods that have dairy listed in the ingredients.  If it’s not much, sometimes I can handle it.

I use coconut oil most of the time instead of dairy.

What about snacks?

I have worked to reduce processed snacks like crackers, chips, cookies, etc.  It’s an adjustment for the kids, but it’s starting to get easier for them.

I won’t have some of these, but some are just for the kids:

  • Grass fed beef jerky
  • Brined and roasted nuts
  • Homemade bars
  • Homemade Greek yogurt
  • Homemade granola
  • Seaweed sheets (boys)
  • Apple sauce (kids)
  • Homemade trail mix
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Veggie straws
  • Tillamook cheddar (kids)
  • String cheese (kids)
  • Nitrate free salami
  • Olives
  • Raisins (boys)
  • Fruit
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Boiled eggs
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Homemade muffins
  • Breakfast cookies
  • Stove top popcorn (in coconut oil with sea salt and nutritional yeast)
  • Green protein smoothie


Fermented foods for probiotics.

I’m trying to get more fermented foods in my diet including kombucha, sourdough breads, sauerkraut, kimchi, and home canned foods.

I’m still working through things and figuring things out.

I still struggle to avoid things that I know aren’t the best for me when I’m not home, but I’m working on it.  I don’t feel well when I have things like soda, processed foods, etc, but I still have a hard time overcoming the fact that they are just easy.

A few things that I haven’t mentioned…

The medication that my ENT put me on has helped so so much, so my nurse practitioner and I decided that anxiety is a huge cause of my cough.  Also, dairy really affects me.  And lastly, my nurse practitioner took me off of my thyroid med because we aren’t sure that I need it and it can cause a lot of anxiety, which then causes my cough.  I’m working with my counselor doing EMDR to work through some trauma and things to reduce my anxiety also.  I’m coming at it from all sides!

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