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Here at Our Small Hours, we believe that everyone has stories to tell and that those stories should be told in order to educate and inspire others.  It is with great excitement that I introduce our first story-telling series, Time For Real Food.  The purpose of the Time for Real Food series is to gather your stories about how you make real food happen for you and/or your family despite the realities of a busy life.  Real foodies commit to a diet that does not include microwave-ready, processed, fast-food items.  Our traditional, slow-food philosophy is sometimes difficult to work into a busy lifestyle, yet somehow we do it and are healthier for it.  Your story will educate and inspire others to make time for real food in their own lives!


Meet Lauren
Name: Lauren
Location: Northern Virginia, but I’m only here for a couple more years due to Dad’s job and then we move back to our home near Seattle. Yay! I miss the rain and all those folks rocking Tevas with socks!
Blog: Empowered Sustenance
How long have you been eating a real food diet? I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 14 (I am 19 now). At that time, my colitis was relatively benign and I was obliviously popping prescriptions to suppress any symptoms. My mom took me to a naturopath who showed me the thick cookbook and explained how healing foods would mend my intestines. For the next few years, I was only a halfhearted real food convert, too lazy to do the authoritative book justice. And all the while, my colitis aggressively progressed. Last fall I headed off to college but had to return home after one semester because I couldn’t get my health under control. I decided it was time to wholeheartedly jump into real food and I dumped my medication and started the GAPS diet (grain free with lots of broth, fermented foods and healing fats). I’ve been following this diet for six months now and my colitis is now in remission and on it’s way to disappearing from my life!
How many adults and children are you responsible for feeding? Are they able to help with your real food preparation? I actually just cook for myself. The rest of my family (Mom, Dad, and Sis) are very supportive of my decision to heal through diet, but they aren’t eating much real food. Yet. I’m working on converting them with delicious, real food dishes! Often Mom will prepare dinner and cook the protein and vegetable with ingredients that I can eat. And my parents are also very supportive in that they buy me all the raw goat milk (for my yogurt), pastured butter and coconut flour that I need!
What is your occupation? What other activities fill your days?I take online college courses right now so I can continue my education but live at home. This spring, I’m starting a distance program to be a nutritional practitioner! And, of course, I have a blast working on my blog. Other than that, I look at getting well like a part-time job. I do lots of daily healing routines like oil pulling, detox baths, energy medicine, and yoga!
Which real food convenience items do you use? I love Bubbie’s Pickles and Sauerkraut, Eden Organic Apple Butter, additive free canned coconut milk and Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin!
Which real food items do you insist on making from scratch even when you have access to a pre-made or convenient form of that food? Very, very few pre-made foods are allowed on GAPS diet. So I really just make most of my food from scratch.
Which tools do you use to get it all done in the kitchen? I recently got an Excalibur dehydrator and it is perfect for making Sun-Flour (my almond flour substitute) and my goat milk yogurt. And while I love experimenting with creative grain-free cooking concepts, I am happy most of the time just eating plain, make-ahead foods like grassed meats, soups, and Crockpot broth.  Butternut Squash Pizza Crust is one of my favorite grain-filled to grain-free recipe makeovers!
What advice do you have for those who are just beginning a real food diet and feel overwhelmed by the amount of time that real food preparation can take?
Also, be gentle with yourself! Release guilt and practice extravagant self-forgiveness if you aren’t where you want to be in your real food journey. It is a learning process, so don’t expect it to happen all at once. Eat well and heal!