I had the pleasure of meeting Karen about two years ago. She was holding her six week old son and looked remarkably rested for a first-time mom. We were at a newly formed mom’s group near my house and it’s a really fun group. Karen is now a mother of two, her second son and my fourth baby are just a couple of weeks a part.
I’ve recently noticed more food photos on her social media including this recipe for Raw Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie. Oh my! Just try saying that out loud and not want to eat a slice. Read on to hear about the simple changes she’s making for her family…
The first sentence of the introduction to Michael Pollan’s, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” is a gloriously uncomplicated rule to live by:
Seems simple enough, right?
Several months ago I started reconsidering the way I was feeding myself and my family. Preparing meals felt like drudgery. When I thought about meal-planning I felt stressed and rushed and overwhelmed. Many of my go-to meals contained highly processed or packaged foods with long lists of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Something needed to change. I knew things could be better. But in the past my attempts at change had not ended well.
I didn’t want to put my family on a diet. I didn’t want strict rules. I didn’t want to start something only to fail.
I wanted to slow down. I wanted to enjoy the process and product of cooking from scratch. I wanted the ingredients I used to be clean, whole, and natural, and to nourish the health of the family and friends I cook for. To put it simply, I wanted to get to know real food better.
So I decided to start small. Simple things, like cutting back on a few of my go-to packaged foods seemed doable. I started finding ways to replace unhealthy, processed fats, grains and sugars in recipes with natural ingredients. Soon I found that making small, healthy choices, and seeing the benefit of those choices motivated me to make more healthy choices. The small steps, insignificant as they seemed at first, led to bigger changes and have spread into other areas of my life.
In addition to these tangible changes, my attitude towards food changed from one of stress and drudgery to gratitude. I began to realize what a privilege planning, shopping, preparing, serving and sharing food with my family and others truly was and is, and that realization injected this daily work with joy and love.
Cookbooks, food and natural living blogs (like The Dig In!), Pinterest, and most importantly my good-food-loving friends (many of whom are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, egg-free, or dairy-free) have helped me discover just how wonderful, versatile, and nourishing food can be in it’s original form (or as close as possible to it’s original form). For me, it was a matter of getting down to the basics and going from there.
I’m not strictly vegan or paleo or gluten-free or dairy-free, etc. But I strive to eat and prepare whole, clean, natural foods as often as possible (organic, locally sourced food is a big plus, too! Homegrown? Better yet!). As I’ve been getting to know real food better, vegan and raw foods have been a fresh, surprising discovery for me. Particularly desserts! First of all, you can eat all the “batter” you want. Secondly, I had no idea raw desserts could be so delicious, indulgent, decadent, healthy and easy. This Raw Salted Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake is no exception, and is one of my favorites.
This Friday is Pi Day, and I can’t imagine a better way to honor and celebrate mathematics than with a healthy, raw, vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, added-sugar-free PIE!
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