Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sifting Through Life: Eat Real Food

I am having a bit of a go at it lately with the blog. I can't seem to find the time to maintain everything that is required to keep Simply Gourmet relevant in the realm of social media and this huge ocean that is known as the cyber universe.

Yep--I am having to revaluate myself once again. I guess it is because I am frustrated with myself. My blog has been a huge part of my life for the past 3 years.  I have sank hours upon hours of my time into creating recipes and sharing my thoughts and insight. This last year I have struggled to find a place where I fit in and I believe this has been some of my problem.  I lost my purpose for the blog.  I have decided that I don't want to fit in. I want to be different and this past year I have worked really hard on accepting me for who I am and all of my differences.  This new year I will be putting more focus on just being me and nobody else.

I tried the gluten free route because I had to, the Paleo route because I felt so much better, the grain free route because it was easier to say grain free instead of Paleo...blah blah blah.... to the point that I don't want to do any of this anymore.  Not because I don't love writing for the blog but because I do. My love for this venue has made me take a break this past month and think about where I see it going in the future.  I love what I create for the blog and I won't limit myself into one label anymore.  If the truth be told, I am lots of labels: quilter, photographer, thinker, knitter, hiker, camper, wife, Mom, student, teacher, lover, home cook, etc...

The bottom line is that I don't care how anyone eats. This might sound harsh. Not because I am rude or mean but because it shouldn't matter to me what you eat.  I don't care if you eat only Spam for every meal for the rest of your life.  I don't have any deep desire to change the world and teach any one person or groups of people how they should eat.  I simply could care less if our egos want us to attach labels to ourselves to define how we eat.  Why do we care what YOU eat? Why should we be concerned or offended because you don't eat meat, or you only eat meat, or you don't eat grains, or....aaaahhhhh...EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT TO EAT!

I choose to eat what makes me feel good and healthy. Eating certain foods makes me ill and their are probably certain foods that make you ill too.  I do believe there is a time and place to let others know of your food limitations but I don't want it to be the one area of my life that people use to judge me.  I see it in peoples face when I say, "Paleo or Gluten Free".  They think they know me because of how I eat.  It's crazy!  We should eat what we want and not feel like we have to justify why we are eating a certain way. This last year I found myself explaining to complete strangers why I don't eat bananas.  I walked away feeling bad that I don't eat bananas; yet I also know that if I do eat a banana I get sick--what is wrong with this picture?   I cook what I believe to be the best for my family.  I eat what I like and sometimes I even eat what I don't like because my options are small.  You should do the same.

From hear on out I will be focusing on the importance of eating and using real food.  I eat real food.  Do I eat Paleo? Yes, most of the time.  Do I eat grain free or gluten free?  Yes.  Do I make food that includes wheat for my family?  YES.  I eat real food. I make real food.  I want to cook with single ingredients to make wonderful meals for my family. I don't use a lot of packaged products.  This is what we are trying to avoid as a family.

What is real food?  That is up to you to decide for you and your family. For my family I see this as cooking from scratch as often as possible, doing my best to use local and fresh ingredients, and staying away from as much processed food as possible. You will have your own definition of what real food is and I am completely okay with that. Our differences are what keep us grounded and the world rotating.

I use fresh ingredients to make food that taste great for my family.  I share those ideas and what my inspiration for the recipes are on my blog.   In past blog updates I have talked about where that inspiration comes from: other blogs, cookbooks, TV shows, my brain, family recipes, but mostly, my own brain.

I go into the kitchen and see what I have and then decide what to make. On a good week I will make a menu. I buy according to the menu items listed but I can honestly say that only half of those things get made.  Routines in the kitchen are very mundane to me.  I like to create new foods.  Is there anything new left out there is the question?  Maybe and maybe not.  

Here's the deal for my blog.  I offer inspiration to people who are looking for ways to cook real food.  I believe my audience wants to return to a way of cooking that uses good ingredients to make simple and, at times, gourmet dishes.  Gourmet does not mean lengthy and time consuming recipes.  In my opinion, it means great flavor.  Great presentation.  A sense of love, effort and some amount of time (for certain recipes) have been poured into a recipe for you to share with family and friends.

Along with cooking and sharing recipes, I also enjoy sharing my thoughts on how I spend my time thinking and rejuvenating myself and family.  I think that eating real food is only part of the key to success with our health.  Our minds and bodies deserve that same attention our bellies do. With this thought I have continued the Sifting Through Life segments on the blog.   I get some of the best feedback from my readers and this makes me happy to know that we are resonating on the same level.

Wellness is a whole package.  I will be updating a few things over the next few weeks to better reflect the whole food or eat real food concept for the blog.

How does this affect you, my readers, in how we interact with each other?  I hope not a whole lot.  My only desire this year is that I would get more feed back and interaction with you. I really like suggestions and feedback.  It helps me to improve on the recipes and to see if I am going in the right direction.  I will continue to label my recipes with certain words to help you find those recipes on my blog: paleo, grain free or gluten free. I won't limit myself though to only preparing meals in one category.  I am trying to bring back the joy and excitement that encouraged me to start this blog in the first place.

You need to know how YOU should eat.  I look at hundreds of recipes a month for the shear enjoyment that I love recipes.  I enjoy the science behind why some things work and why some ingredients don't work well together.  This does not deny me of any of the foods that I love and need to stay healthy.  Learning to see a recipe and convert it to your way of eating is up to YOU, not me.  Not anyone actually.  It is very easy to look at just Paleo if that is all you eat, but I don't.  I don't think my readers do either.  I think we are a huge group of like minded people who eat in a variety of degrees when it comes to lifestyles and diets.

Honestly, I don't like the word diet.  The other day Cory and I went out with a group of friends and the first thing everyone did (without thinking) was acknowledge the way that we eat:  gluten free, grain free, paleo or pescetarian.

I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want the style of how  I eat to define who I am other than to say: I eat real food.  I eat what is good for ME.  I eat to provide my body with the energy it needs to stay active.

Learning your body and how foods affect your system can only be done by you.  I will mention that you won't find any recipes that include bananas or bell peppers on my blog.  WHY?  Because these are two of the things that make me the most ill; along with pork, most beef, yeast, refined sugar, tomatoes, eggplant, lunch meat, most grains, dairy, etc....the list is long...BUT, if you like these ingredients then add them or swap them out--make the recipe your own.  Don't be afraid to take chances in the kitchen.

To add more stress to the scenario, Finnley is very intolerant to all dairy.  ALL DAIRY!  ARGH.  My poor baby has suffered for a year with the dairy choices we gave to her because we believed that she should have dairy in her diet. It made her cry constantly.  She was the fussiest baby on the planet.  She didn't sleep through the night for more than a few days until a month ago when we totally took out all dairy--all: cheese, yogurt, milk, whey and most processed food.  To say she is a completely different child is an understatement.  She is happy, sleeps through the night and hasn't had a rash, along with bouts of diarrhea, for a month.  I didn't know what to do and realized what we were dealing with after some inner prompting and follow through.

With this in mind though, I still look at recipes with dairy or pork or beef or bell peppers.  I still read those recipes,  but I make the necessary adjustments that are needed for our family.  Almost anything in a recipe can be replaced with a substitute.  I did say almost.

This is how I would like for you to approach my blog.  You will see a recipe and some of the things in the recipe you may like or dislike, be able to eat or not eat OR you might like it just the way it is.  If you make changes or need help converting it to somethings else please leave a comment and I will try to guide you in your eating lifestyle with suggesting some substitutions.

I am looking forward to sharing with you a variety of recipes over the next year. I have a stack of recipes that I have been working on and the pictures in this post are just a few.  I have tried to stick to a schedule and post regularly but I am not sure that I will be able to maintain that this year.  Life is crazy and with four kids (two of which are graduating this spring and going to University in the fall), homeschooling Isabella and dealing with a very active one year old, when it is all said and done,  I am only one person with great attempts at juggling everything in my life.  I don't want to drop the ball but sometimes I do.  So about that schedule thing--I bet it will be sporadic at best.

I love this little place that I have created on Simply Gourmet and don't want to give it up.   I appreciate your patience, feedback and friendship as we take this journey of eating real food together.

Thanks for listening and understanding, possibly relating to a few words that I mentioned above, but mostly, just thanks!


ps:  It looks like I have labeled myself once again with the term "real food".  I believe this relates more to my family's way of eating; the cycle starts again.

LOL  #can'tescapelabels #eatrealfood


  1. yes. yes. and yes. we should ALL be writing about what we want, when we want and how we want; chasing someone else's dream or idea isn't being our best selves and we do no one any favors by being cookie cutters of the same content, same recipes, same language. yay for you Sherron - cannot wait to see what you do this year!! xo

    1. Thank you Debra. I am trying my best to keep this thing authentic but at times it gets overwhelming to me when everything seems to be the same over and over again. When I step away for a while then I can feel myself returning and my thoughts creating what I like. To me this feels good. I feel excited again about the process. I am easily over stimulated and taking the time to listen to my own inner voice and do my own thing is what works for me best. I lost focus this last year, as I mentioned above, and hope to just get back to creating content with real food and sharing a little bit about how our family lives a simple life. Thanks for leaving a comment. I have always valued your thoughts and opinions. Take care and have a good week--try to stay warm--we are freezing here in MD. LOL

  2. Bravo, Sherron!! I so agree! Kudos to you for being you and eating what's right for you and your family! Yes, we do need to label to help readers find what they need, but otherwise, it's just all about sharing good food. :-) Btw, I LOVE your new header, too!


    1. Thank you Shirley! I felt a change was needed as this New Year approached. I need to get back to the simple part of my blog which is cooking from scratch the things that my family loves. We are a diverse group of eaters and I believe this is how most homes function...with a variety of family members eating somethings and not eating others. I want to go back to this format and let people chose what they want to make and not make based on their needs. I always appreciate your comments and thank you so much for taking the time to stop by. I hope all is well with you and this New Year has started off on the right foot. Take Care--Sherron

  3. Well-said - I totally agree. With any blog I follow, I take what works for me & skip or modify what doesn't. I don't expect any blog writer's ideas or recipes to fit me 100%, nor should I expect this. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment. I appreciate your thoughts and kind words. Sherron

  4. Well done Sherron! I loved reading this and seeing the different struggles with various dietary items. As you already know, I am all about REAL FOOD, primarily from local farms and markets, livestock raised practicing humane husbandry, no antibiotics or added growth hormones, organic (or organic practices) produce, ancient grains, etc. I pass that along in the recipes I post/share on my blog, however I also know not everyone is as adamant about it as I am. They can, however, take the same recipe and make it using their conventional products. I present what I know to be true, I don't eat or use processed foods, I put up a lot of my own foods throughout the year, and I love making bone broths. This doesn't mean I expect everyone to follow along ... it's simply doing what I want to do for myself and my family and I'm passionate about what I do. Happy to read this and "see" you! Mary

    1. Hi Mary, Thank you for your comment. I have always admired your passion when it comes to real food and how supportive you are to the local farms in your area. I hope you are having a great week.

  5. Another profound post Sherron and spot on! Your philosophy on eating real food is exactly like mine. When I started my blog almost 4 years ago, I set out to share recipes that my family and I enjoy in all different categories. For us, we don't eat seafood (or peppers!) so you won't find many recipes with those ingredients on my page. Do I have gluten free, vegetarian, paleo, etc recipes? Yes, but not on purpose. If they fall into that category, so be it. My recipes are also created using local, easy to find, fresh ingredients and I try to stay away from using anything processed. I don't like to be lumped into a single category or label myself. Great post!

    1. Hi Carrie--thank you! It is so great to hear from so many friends. I am glad that you enjoyed the post. Your comments have made me feel like I was in tune with where I see myself heading this year with the blog. I feel so much better now that I have gone back to my root purpose for the blog. It has made it enjoyable again to relax and cook what we eat and share what we love. Have a lovely week.


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