Episode Recap — Real Food Bloggers – Unprocessed & Unmodified
In this episode of Living Natural Today: Out with Toxins, In with Your Health, Teresa discussed “real food” with real food bloggers, Kristine Cocchiarella of Real Food Girl: Unmodified and Julie Hornbecker of Whole Food, Real Food, Good Food – including strategies for incorporating unprocessed and unmodified ingredients into one’s daily life. Kristine and Julie both have a passion for healthy food and cooking with organic, non-GMO ingredients.
Shown below is a sampling of some of the questions & answers from Episode #4:
Teresa: What made you develop an interest in real food?
Julie: For years, my husband was struggling with his weight. He tried several diets with varying degrees of success. A couple of years ago he had asked me to help him with the Bowflex Plan which basically requires one to buy Healthy Choice & Lean Cuisine Meals. As I was purchasing, I looked at the ingredients to see what made a “Healthy Choice” meal healthy. Three things crossed my mind: (1) the alarming number of ingredients, (2) the complexity of the ingredients and (3) there were ingredients I never heard of. I then began to do my own research to learn as much as I could about the ingredients – and “went into shock.” I felt a “moral obligation” to share what I had learned with people on my blog.
Kristine: I joined a popular wellness catalog company to rid our houses of toxic chemicals and cleaning products. As I did research about what was put in personal care products, laundry items and cleaning products I began to wonder what is being put in our food. During this same time I stumbled upon the documentary, Genetic Roulette. It’s then that a light bulb went off – and the puzzle pieces that were once scattered, all came together. I began to understand that the reason I was “feeling like crap” (headaches, insomnia, exhaustion) all the time was because of the food we were eating. I was angry and mortified – and changes needed to be made – and I wanted to share this information. It’s at this time that I started to go “unmodified.” Removing GMOs was the biggest, most important step. I turned into label reader and ingredient researcher. I began to question the need for various ingredients.
Teresa: Tell us about your blog. How long have you been a blogger? What are some of the things people will find on your blog?
Julie: I have blogged for 1.5 years. My blog contains:
- Recipe collections that only contain real ingredients. I often tweak recipes that my family really likes with “real” ingredients.
- Recommendations/ideas for school lunches
- Information about GMOs
- Favorites brands/products
- Label library
- Recommended books/resources
Kristine: I have been blogging for approximately 20 months. My blog is a great starting point for people getting into real food – can be very overwhelming at first. Any step forward is a good step. My blog is a “safe” place for people just starting out in real food world. My blog also contains:
- “Ingredient 411” Section
- Real food guidelines
- Dirty Dozen and Clean 15
- GMO 411
- Chef-inspired recipes
Teresa: What motivates you to continue writing posts & making the recipes?
Julie & Kristine: Every time we go to the food store and see what is in others’ shopping carts, we are inspired… We want to educate others and share what we have learned.
Teresa: October is non-GMO month. What has turned you off on GMOs?
Kristine: My own health and digestive health. I become violently ill within 20 minutes of consuming GMO corn or soy.
Julie: We avoid GMOs by looking for the official “organic” label or the Non-GMO Project Verified label. Important Note: All natural means nothing!
Teresa: Are there times you “cheat” on your diet?
Julie & Kristine: From time-to-time both will let their guard down ever-so-slightly – whether it be an organic jellybean, sip of coke or cupcake. It’s important, however, to keep moving forward, do the best you can and give yourself grace.
Teresa: Do you cook from scratch every day?
Julie: I usually cook on the weekends so it is not as overwhelming on weekdays. I do a lot of freezing and use a lot of mason jars.
Kristine: I cook from scratch 4-5 days per week. It’s just me and my husband. We do lots of leftovers.
Teresa: How challenging is the real food lifestyle with children?
Julie: I put healthy snack plates out – and because it’s there, they’ll eat it. Sometimes, however, the kids lunches, for example, will look so different than other kids – and that can be difficult for a 3rd grader.
Teresa: How do you come up with new recipe ideas?
Julie: I take goodies my kids love – and “healthify” them… and they love it!
- Replaced Mashed potatoes with Cauliflower
- Chocolate pudding > made w/ cashews
Kristine: Magazines, cooking shows, cookbooks, other blogs… I’m a perfectionist…
Teresa: What is one tip you could give for someone who wants to remove processed food from their life?
Julie: Take it slow. Start with a healthy snack. Replace chips with an apple or carrots. Just start slow.
Kristine: Do what you can on your current budget. It’s not an all or nothing proposition.
Click below to listen to the entire episode. It is chock-full of practical advice, regardless of how far (or not far) you are in your real-food health journey. It is sure to uplift and encourage!
(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)