When I started this blog as a newlywed three years ago, my goal was to share my recipe creations and talk about what I was learning about real food and healthy living. Although I’ve expanded since then to write on simple living, homemaking, and whatever else is on my heart, wellness and food are still big parts of what I’m all about!
I’ve learned so much about natural, healthy living from my fellow bloggers, and it gets me excited to think that maybe people are finding inspiration through me, too! As I cruise through the archives of my favourite natural living blogs, sometimes I wonder: how many of these healthy practices does this blogger keep up with over the years? People get busy and seasons change, and it would just be interesting to know which healthy practices stick, and which don’t.
Have you ever wondered that about blogs you read? Today you will wonder no more about Elsie and Richly Rooted. Here are the real food practices I’ve tried over the years, what I’ve grafted into my habits, and what I haven’t:
1. Homemade Yogurt
Kept it up? Yes.
I’ve been making my own yogurt for three years, and I still use this crock pot method. It’s just too easy, too frugal not to do! When I’m in the kitchen cooking something else, it’s simple to just add a pot of milk to the stove and stir it occasionally in between other tasks. Store-bought yogurt is too expensive for the little tubs you get, and it can be difficult to find full-fat yogurt. Plus, I sure as heck don’t need someone to sweeten my yogurt for me! I’m not a baby, after all! I can add my own raw honey and fresh berries, thankyouverymuch! (:
2. Sourdough Starter
Kept it up? No.
I had a good homemade starter going for a while. (I used Heavenly Homemaker’s tutorials.) But the bread-making process took longer than I liked. You have to knead the dough for longer than a conventional yeast bread, and the sourdough residue is very frustrating to clean off of bowls and my wooden spoon. I also got sloppy about feeding my starter regularly to keep it active, so I didn’t always get a good rise out of the finished loaves.
Now, we make bread with our miniature bread maker, or use this recipe or this one for simple sandwich loaves. If you do want to make your own sourdough, this pancake recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet was one of my favourite things to use my starter for!
Kept it up? Yes.
Kefir is another really, really easy one to keep up! Honestly, it’s easier than yogurt! You just put the starter grains in a jar of milk on the counter and let it thicken to a yogurt-like consistency. We use it for smoothies or in soups instead of sour cream–or just eat it plain! It’s fascinatingly good for you, and I’ve found that my grains are quite robust and bounce back beautifully, even after they’ve been resting for too long in the fridge.
Kept it up? No.
It hurts to say that. I loved my kombucha, and I’ve stopped making it through no fault of my own. My friend Jaimie’s wonderful mom sent me a kombucha SCOBY last spring, and we enjoyed brewing the drink for several months. It’s very easy, and the finished beverage, when chilled, is deliciously refreshing.
But…the fruit flies got into the brew jar and we had to throw our SCOBY away. I’ve since learned that when brewing kombucha, you shouldn’t cover the jar with cheesecloth or a loose-weave towel, or this might happen. It’s okay to screw the lid onto the brew jar, just don’t screw it on too tightly, so gasses can still escape. (Hat tip: Donielle of Natural Fertility and Wellness.) I absolutely want to brew kombucha again, I just haven’t gotten around to asking anybody for a new SCOBY!
5. Homemade Condiments
Kept it up? Yes and No.
We’ve stopped buying a lot of condiments, but I’m sporadic about making them from scratch. Pickles, for instance. I’ve made pickles several times, but when I don’t make them, we just don’t eat them. We generally use a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing for our salads; occasionally we have something like this red raspberry salad dressing, or this sweet honey mustard. We do keep up with mayonnaise pretty well, when we have pastured eggs on hand.
If the world of “real food” is new to you, you may be interested in some of these resources!
20 First Steps to a Real Food Diet: If someone told me that they wanted to eat a real food diet but didn’t know where to start, this post is what I’d tell them.
Real Food for Beginners: This Pinterest board is full of ideas, recipes, and how-tos for getting started with real food.
My eCookbook, Real Food for the Real Homemaker, is all about making real food from scratch! It includes 75+ recipes that are simple to make and use wholesome, familiar ingredients, and has 8 chapters on topics like food substitutions, kitchen tools, and freezer cooking. Pick up a copy HERE.