Hey Friends! We've created this blog for YOU! Here is a little about us. This blog is simply us wanting to do what we love-eating real delicious food and sharing info to help and support others to do the same! Honestly, I am doing it for me too. I am so passionate about eating well to feel great that I need an outlet aside from the friends and family who are tired of hearing about it over and over... 🙄
disclaimer alert! We're not qualified to and are in no way giving medical advice or recommending any of our information as treatment for any medical condition or disease and this is not a replacement for licensed professional medical advice or care. Ok....? Good. We are also participants in the Amazon Affiliates Program and may at any time utilize Google Ads on our site. This all helps to offset the costs that go into running this blog, developing recipes and supplying free content for everyone. For more info on all of that and our full affiliate disclosure, check out our resources page at http://www.realfoodtoheal.com/resources
The inspiration for this came from friends having many questions about how we manage to successfully eat healthy and many requests for help getting started and staying on track. We're passionate about eating real food ourselves and feeding our children the most nourishing foods possible. We each tend toward a different modified real food diet as that's what makes us feel best. I'd like readers to feel comfortable in this space whether you're wanting to start full on paleo, primal, dairy free, nut free, nightshade free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, pegan, plant based, GAPS, AIP, ketogenic, allergy specific, diabetes management, etc. As long as your personal game plan of interest involves JERF (just eating real food) from recognizable ingredients that are unprocessed, we are with you. No room for dogmatic attitudes about diets here!
Jennifer's Health Journey:
My health journey is another huge reason why we wanted to start this blog. I was able to heal my body through working with medical professionals and changing my diet and lifestyle. I am confident that eating real food can change anyone's life for the better to some degree, no matter the situation. I have always been health-conscious and previously tended toward a "calorie is a calorie-less is better-calories in/calories out, low-fat, fat-free, 100 calorie packs processed diet foods" kind of diet and was doing ok with that (or so I thought). Before I changed my diet and lifestyle I thought it was normal that I always felt in a fog and had trouble concentrating. I didn't realize that mustering up energy to do everyday things was difficult and exercise was an extreme effort that didn't really feel good at all. I only remained at an ideal weight for my frame when I consumed very little calories (1000-1500/day-mostly diet foods-hardly any real food) and overexercised. This had me in a constant state of hunger and fatigue-come to find out I was very undernourished! I ate mostly processed diet food and very little real food. I was sick all the time, had chronic pain, depression concerns, skin issues and digestive trouble. I thought this was all part of being an adult and I needed to just put up with it and push through. A chronic pain/fatigue "fibromyalgia" diagnosis at age 22 from doctors who recommended daily nervous system and pain medications for me was the big wake up call. It was time for me to see what my other options were. I knew I was way too young to have that kind of life and that there had to be another way to be well. I started to do some more research and seek out second opinions from other doctors. I found that there are many doctors who actually do recommend simply eating real food, exercising and properly caring for your body as the first steps to being well! I had no idea that I felt as bad as I did UNTIL I changed my diet and lifestyle and saw how good I felt with the new change!
My journey to wellness ended up being a little different than I thought it would be. That being said-I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU DO IT THIS WAY-please, please, please only go about making this kind of change in your diet with the help and advice of a trained medical and nutrition professional. Unfortunately at this time I did not have health insurance and the cost to have help with this kind of elective care was out of my budget. In an act of desperation I did my own elimination diet of problematic foods, starting with gluten and grains, followed by dairy, legumes and eventually nuts. This process was inspired and guided by the 5-6 week total elimination protocols that I read about on medical blogs as well as allergist's websites. Strictly following this protocol I found many slight sensitivities and gluten being a very severe (textbook celiac disease) reaction. I ultimately eliminated my problems simply by cutting out unnecessary junk food and chemicals in all areas of my life . I additionally started eating MORE with putting into play the real food diet changes that worked for me.
I remained on a modified fairly restricted healing diet (now under the care of a professional) for a period of time and felt better than I ever had. Last year I started some new therapies through my healthcare provider's recommendations. I am completely symptom free and have healed from all sensitivities-I can even eat gluten now without consequence for the first time in several years! My primary care doctor still recommends that I generally avoid it to be safe and knowing that it works best for me. I usually eat a "YOLO" meal (You Only Live Once or "cheat" meal) a few times per month on average. This is not something I consciously do, as I focus on simply eating intuitively. Just knowing that I can eat out wherever/whenever I would like with confidence that I won't react is a truly great experience!
I have plenty of energy most days (even with what little sleep we get working full time, running side projects, having a school aged child and very active toddler) and am in great physical shape at a very healthy weight for my frame and build! Somewhere in all of this I quit obsessing about the number on the scale and stopped counting calories. I started eating intuitively and MORE of the "right" foods for my body (including well raised meats, fruits, vegetables, legumes, some grains and healthy fats!) With cutting out the majority of the junk I lost 20 lbs that I didn't really know I had to lose. I avoid consuming empty calories and processed junk food for the most part, making sure that I am always eating, moving and resting enough. By doing these things and working out functionally to maintain muscle tone, my body stays where it wants to be.
We live a balanced life all around-with healthy eating comes healthy lifestyle. We are big fans of whole body and mind wellness and practice meditation, mindfulness and loving kindness. I have taken the time and efforts to discover my dietary needs and address sensitivities to optimize my overall health and wellness. In addition to that I am grateful to spend my workday with a fun and progressive company that emphasizes the importance of overall health and promotes healthy diet and exercise.
Changing your diet can change your life! I can't stress enough-I recommend that you work with a qualified medical practitioner in your journey when dealing with major diet changes to improve illness or heal from ailments and disease. We are not doctors and don't pretend to be-do your own research and please do not consider anything you read on our blog or other social media outlets to be any form of medical advice, treatment or diagnosis because it is not. It's important to realize we all have different goals, dietary needs and reasons for wanting to change up or maintain our healthy lifestyle and eating habits. Some may want to just generally feel better, maybe manage allergies, lose weight, gain weight, support another person doing this, modeling for their kids, bodyhacking, improving performance, managing health conditions or chronic illnesses, or heck, maybe they just like a challenge.
Whatever brought you to where you are in your health journey, we are happy you found us. Just know that we respect where you are in your journey, where you have been and where you are going. We kindly ask that you respectfully support all people in their journey as we support you! Nobody is perfect and we are certainly all at different levels with unique goals! It's all about balance with your goals and changes in life. We all do the best we can to stay on track and it's much easier with support. We ask that you please join us in our choice to reserve judgment towards others on their own personal health journey. Please feel free to join our Real Food Challenge Support Facebook Group as well! We welcome you to enjoy and contribute to the inspirations and discussion on this free forum as well as challenges!
Cheers to health,
Jennifer and Roy Wakumelo