100 Days of Real Food: Cookbook Review

I’ve been making almond milk from scratch since July – one cup of almonds soaked overnight in water, drained and blended on high with 5 cups of water and 1-2 dates, then strained of pulp and poured into a jar to enjoy within 5 days.

The recipe is easy and tasty (thanks Katherine Austin!) and to my surprise, I can’t keep it for myself. My entire family loves it, despite our raw-milk straight from the farm in the fridge, too.

It’s this healthfulness that Lisa Leake writes about in her new cookbook, 100 Days of Real FoodI signed up to be one of her Cookbook Ambassadors and received an autographed copy of the cookbook in the mail.

Her inspiration began with Michael Pollan‘s book, In Defense of Food (who wouldn’t be swayed by Pollan’s emphatic, research-based presentation about what is healthy and what is not?).

(Shout-out to my sister-in-law, Darcie Cohn, for sharing the link with me to become a Cookbook Ambassador!)

The result is 360 pages of information, recipes, photography and storytelling that will convince you if you’re not already on board.

To be honest, I’ve been on board since Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma came out more than a decade ago. A La Leche League mom at the time, I remember reading passages aloud to my ex-husband, compelling information about why we needed to rethink the food we ate. As a young breastfeeding mother, it was the first time I had ever considered the concept of eating whole foods as close to their source as possible.

But for many Americans, the notion of eating whole foods, as close to the source as possible, is perplexing, foreign, confounding. Why? What do you mean? Who cares? It’s so expensive!

Leake’s walks readers through what everything means (thank you!). She even gets down to do’s and don’ts, betters and worses. For instance, seasoning packets – why avoid?

We’ve been making our own taco seasoning for years and it’s very easy to find a recipe online (here’s a good one, on p. 264 of 100 Days) and mix together spices already in the cupboard. Less sodium, fresher, even tastier than you might expect.

She mentions food dyes (hate the artificial ones, yes it’s easy to do it naturally), and the impact of non-real food on behavior, health and more. It’s so easy to see the correlation I often wonder why more people don’t!

The book arrived just in time for back-to-school. I made a decision a few years ago not to allow my kids to buy school lunch (it’s the furthest thing from REAL that food can get!). We make soups from scratch to go in thermoses. Salads with dressing in a tupperware.

Leake makes it easier. Plan ahead, freeze in portion-size containers, pack the night before. She has great suggestions for harried parents of many kids (yes, that’s me) and though I know all this, it was so great to have a ready reminder at this time of year.

Her family dinner chapter just makes so much sense. It’s what we used to do, what we had growing up, and with the run-run-run climate of today’s families, it’s what we’re missing.

We spend so much time talking about and focusing on what is wrong with our society and our children – when the solution is so easy, so near at hand. Real food. Time with family. Everyone on board. Conversation. Eye contact. All easy to do. All within reach.

This book is easy, it’s meaningful and it’s pretty. It walks busy moms through the process of transitioning from easy grab-off-the-shelves packaged and processed foods to understanding the why and the how of consuming real food. And the recipes, meal plans and shopping lists make it even easier.

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