Do It Anyway

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When I started moving toward a Real Food diet several years ago, I found I often got caught up in an “all or nothing” mindset. Our budget simply wasn’t large enough to accommodate the switch to 100% organic produce and pastured meats that a Real Food diet requires. And honestly, few people’s are.

I did my best, I joined a produce CSA and a beef CSA and we went to the farmer’s market and it was great, but the financial juggling got to be exhausting. I had a baby who was quickly becoming mobile and required constant attention, and between our family’s limited income and my limited time to prepare food, we would often fall back on eating “whatever” after our CSA had run out (which happened all too quickly most weeks).

And that’s when I decided on my #1 Real Food rule.

Do it anyway.

Careening back and forth between microwaved pizza and grass-fed stew out of Nourishing Traditions was a ridiculous contradiction. My all or nothing attitude was sending us right back to the standard American diet. So I decided then and there, that I would do my best to afford sustainable, local and organic produce and ethically raised pastured meats. But when my budget said no, I would make do with inferior products.

Why would you do that though?

I found when I didn’t have pastured chicken, I didn’t make bone broth. And when I didn’t make bone broth, I didn’t feel it was worth the trouble to make a soup or stew from scratch. And when I didn’t have the best organic yogurt, I didn’t make whey, and I didn’t put up any ferments. Especially if my vegetables weren’t organic. Because why bother? My food was already full of GMOs and antibiotics, so I may as well give up.


Yes, I had “less than ideal” food to work with (still better than most people in the world!), but if I prepared it using traditional methods such as making bone broth, putting up ferments, soaking and sprouting my grains and making food from scratch, I was learning  and practicing important skills. I was skipping the drive through, or frozen pizza. My family was getting important probiotics and minerals.

Learning to prepare foods using traditional methods is a dying art. And if you begin preparing your food like your ancestors did, regardless of the quality you can afford, you will have mastered a very important step in your real food journey.

Now I certainly agree with those who say that if you can’t afford pastured meats, then find vegetarian options like beans for protein as often as possible, but I am raising a teenaged boy who is growing about a foot a day, and he needs animal protein!

This is just the first step though.

Mastering traditional food preparation skills is just the first step toward a Real Food diet. My family has been saving for a few months for a chest freezer and a large, bulk pastured meat purchase that should see us through the next year. Because we truly believe in both the health, ethical and environmental benefits of raising animals humanely and feeding them biologically appropriate foods.

But if you are on the first step of your Real Food journey, I hope what you take away from this is that even if you are dealing with less than ideal ingredients, you can still make bone broth weekly. You can still put up ferments.  You can still soak, sprout and sour your grains. You can still DO IT ANYWAY.

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My number one Real Food Rule




About Kelley

Hi! I'm Kelley. Real foodie and crunchy mom to a teenager and a toddler. My husband and I live in Southern California.


  1. Love this post! Great perspective and advice!

  2. oh em gee… you are my soul sister! thank you for this! Just because we can’t be 100% organic grass-fed perfection ALL the time, doesn’t mean we have to throw in the towel…i can totally relate to your article!!!