We'd like to introduce Courtney Haswell, a Real Food blogger dedicated to upholding a healthy lifestyle for her and her family, while encouraging and helping others to do the same. This is Courtney's story of Real Food journey. For more information about Courtney, visit her blog—Family Gone Healthy. If you have a story you'd like to share about your Real Food experience, we'd love to hear it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here's Courtney's story:
Let's be honest, most of us at some point have eaten a typical American diet. Either as kids, teenagers, or even adults on the go, quick and easy comfort food is what we usually crave. I was no different growing up. I loved boxed macaroni & cheese and hot dogs. My parents would cook most of our meals, but Dr. Pepper and Oreos were constant staples. You could say that back then we didn't know better. We assumed that if it was sold at the grocery store, it was safe to eat.
After I got married and was out on my own, I would make an effort with my husband to cook more often. At the time I thought to myself, "Hamburger Helper is better then fast food," but I really didn't consider what I was putting into my body. Even though I studied the internal workings of the human body throughout college and have a degree in biomedical engineering, I still was oblivious to just how bad these ingredients were for the body.
It wasn't until I gave birth to my first daughter at the end of 2009 that I started to take more notice. Of course, we all want what's best for our children, and I began to research the right foods to feed her. I happened to see the documentary Food Inc., and that's when I really opened my eyes. I couldn't believe some of the things I saw in that documentary. How could so many people be unaware of what's going on with our food supply? The living conditions of the animals? The genetically modified ingredients that aren't even labeled in our foods? I tried to start making changes right away.
Unfortunately, change is hard. A big move and new jobs got in the way, and we slowly crept back into bad eating habits. We were better than before, but we were still eating a LOT of processed foods. This is the story for a lot of people. They are aware that what they're eating is toxic and can really harm their bodies over time, but a lot of people just accept and trust our foods or don't have time to make change. It usually takes something big for change to happen. You get sick, become overweight, or for me it was becoming pregnant again.
While I was pregnant with my second daughter I was having a hard time putting on weight and had severe morning sickness. Most processed foods would make me sick, and I seemed to be craving more fruits and vegetables. I was also having trouble keeping foods down, so I started researching which foods had the most nutrition. I didn't want to waste my small appetite on empty calories! While researching, I discovered so much online about "clean eating" and "real food" and couldn't stop reading.
When my second daughter was born in October of 2012, I was ready to make a huge change, not just tiny ones anymore. I was going to try breastfeeding and wanted to get optimal nutrition for myself that would be passed on in my milk to the baby. I went through our pantry and tossed out everything processed or containing artificial dyes and genetically-modified ingredients. I was finally fed up with our industrial food system, and all the large companies trying to profit over cheap, processed foods. I also wanted to start supporting our local farmers and other families in our area. Regular trips to the farmers' market became a staple in our week.
In early 2013, I decided to start "Family Gone Healthy", my blog dedicated to helping other families take the same steps we took. With a little planning and a willingness to learn more about the food we put in our bodies, every family in American can take the steps to eating better!
Courtney Haswell is a Real Food blogger behind the website, Family Gone Healthy, and lives in North Carolina. She is a biomedical engineer by day and has two young daughters, ages 1 and 4. Check out her free Real Food Grocery Guide and subscribe to her weekly newsletter to follow more of her story.
Alright. It’s 2014, and that means resolutions. The residuals from partying like it’s 2013 are officially gone. Vacation’s over. It’s Monday. It’s time to get serious. (I hope that was somewhat motivating, if not, try reading again with the Rocky Theme Song playing in the background. It works, right?)
It’s time to take 100 Days of Real Food’s 10-Day Real Food Pledge, along with us here at Little Green Pouch. By doing so, you’ll start of your 2014 with a commitment to Real Food, and real health. 100Days of Real Food predicts that, upon completing your 10 days, you’ll notice improved health, “such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.” After the 10 days are over, you can continue with your life however you’d like, but with knowledge as to how and why you should avoid processed foods.
We hope you do this with us! Don’t forget to sign up for the 10-Day Pledge with 100 Days of Real Food, and review the Real Food Rules while you’re there. Also, be sure to "Like Us" on Facebook where we will be checking in with you on how your 10 days are shaping up along with giving away a 4-pack of Little Green Pouches and an accessory of your choice each day when you engage in our daily Real Food Pledge posts.
Finally, start cooking some real food. If you need inspiration for recipe ideas don’t forget to check out our Real Food Pinterest Board and Real Food Recipes hub. And 100 Days’ Real Food Tips is another wonderful resource.
On our end, we’ve made a few real food plans to get started. Here is Melissa's Plan for 7 month old daughter, Parker. And Maggie's plan for, her, her two boys (3.5 and 5) and her husband. You can download a blank meal planner HERE.
We’ll make sure to let you know how it’s going here on our blog and on Facebook. And please do the same. We’d love to hear from you on Facebook, in our inbox (email@example.com), on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or carrier pigeon. Let us know you are taking the plunge, we mean pledge, with us. Let's do this!
On a parting note, we’ll leave you with some motivation from the king of all motivators, Rocky Balboa. It is a little bit over the top, and not entirely appropriate for the situation, but we couldn’t resist.
“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”
(Rocky IV (curse you Ivan Drago!)) We’re looking forward to getting healthy with you (and hanging out) these next 10 days.
- Maggie & Melissa
As we get ready to take the 10 Day Real Food Pledge, 7 month old Parker didn't want the big kids and grown ups to have all the fun. So we present to you, Parker's Pouch. This is Parker's weekly meal plan as prepared by mom, Melissa. You can download Parker's Meal Plan and then use our blank Meal Planner template to create your own.
Since food at this stage is pretty simple, Melissa will be mixing homemade grain cereals with pureed fruits and vegetables. On the weekend when there is a little more time, Parker and mom will get a little more adventurous in the kitchen and make some of our Real Food recipes.
To save time during the week, Melissa is spending some prep time this weekend to puree all of the fruits and veggies listed in the meal plan to store in the freezer in 1oz cubes (these are our favorite trays). Another way Melissa is helping Parker stick to her Real Food pledge is by making all of the cereals (rice, oatmeal & barley) in the Vitamix. All you have to do is blend the whole grains until they form a powder. Then we store them in empty, dry Little Green Pouches to easily grab and mix with water or breast milk for each meal.
Stay tuned this week for lots of pictures and update of how our 10 Day Pledge is going. And be sure to LIKE us on Facebook to follow along and to win fun prizes throughout the 10 days.
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Alright. It’s 2014, and that means resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions is to eat healthy. If you are trying to make the switch to a Real Food lifestyle, or just want to reboot and get back on track after the holidays, join us as we take the 100 Days of Real Food’s 10-Day Real Food Pledge. Don't worry, we aren't starting until Monday, so you have time to prepare and come to grips with the challenge. Plus, we will be right there with you every step of the way because we are taking the pledge, too!
By doing so, you’ll start of your 2014 with a commitment to Real Food, and real health. 100 Days of Real Food predicts that, upon completing your 10 days, you’ll notice improved health, “such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.” After the 10 days are over, you can continue with your life however you’d like, but with knowledge as to how and why you should avoid processed foods.
We hope you do this with us! Don’t forget to sign up for the 10-Day Pledge with 100 Days of Real Food, and review the Real Food Rules while you’re there. Also, be sure to "Like Us" on Facebook where we will be checking in with you on how your 10 days are shaping up along with giving away a 4-packs of Little Green Pouches and an accessory of your choice each day when you engage in our daily Real Food Pledge posts.
Plus, each day you participate, you will earn an entry into our grand prize drawing—a $200 grocery gift card and Large Starter Kit so you can continue to enjoy the Real Foods we are sure you and your family will crave after the 10-Day Pledge. That means you can earn up to 10 entries into the grand prize drawing if you join in the conversation each day. Note: Winners for the daily and grand prize will be chosen at random, and are available for residents of the U.S. and Canada who are 18 years or older).
So, here's the next steps:
Here's to a healthy 2014!
Maggie & Melissa
Happy Holidays! We just can’t wait to celebrate this festive season with our little ones, and we bet you can’t either. And what better way to do so than with some Holiday Pouch Recipes?
We have a fantastic new recipe that is certain to be a party pleaser for kids and adults. Charlotte March’s Pear and Cranberry Puree will knock the stockings off your wee one, and, when topped with a little bubbly, makes for a great treat for mom, dad, grandma, maybe even Saint Nick (a recipe for more presents?). And the great thing about this puree is not only that it is delicious, but also healthy. Indeed, it’s stamped with our Real Food badge of approval.
A few other Holiday Pouch Recipes you might want to try, which are also Real Food Pouch Recipes, include:
We’d love to hear from you if you have any Holiday Pouch Recipes to share. We know you are such a talented and creative group!
As the year draws to a close we can’t help but get a bit reflective. We started this company a little over a year ago, and it has been such an amazing ride so far. Of course, that is all because of you. We are so thankful for each and every one of you, and the incredible support you have shown us. We couldn’t do it without you. Honest and sincere.
We wish you and your families a wonderful and memory-filled holiday season.
In continued appreciation,
Maggie & MelissaPS: Don’t forget to mark your calendar for our 10 Day Real Food Pledge, starting January 6th. (It’ll make you feel better about all those Christmas cookies and holiday cheer.)
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