Staying Whole in a Processed World: Introduction

One day I got this message from my cousin Mary, who just finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan:

“Now I want to join our CSA co-op, only eat whole grains, and never eat grocery store meat again. It’s exciting, but a little overwhelming, and hard to know where to begin.”

She suggested that I write a series of posts about how we transitioned as a family to eating more carefully.

So… I am. For the next few Mondays!

If you’ve been reading (or watching films) about topics like this, you may be feel inspired to make changes to your diet, but are unsure where to begin — especially if being in the kitchen isn’t your thing. I feel like there’s a gap between the education about food matters and the practical application. That’s where I want to help!

Where do we start?

I knew for sure what I did NOT want to do in this series. I didn’t want this to be a “eat this, not that” kind of series. I’ll be focusing more on how to transition and incorporate more whole foods into your kitchen by sharing what worked with our family. (And to hopefully prevent a mutiny in yours!)

Why? The topic of nutrition is like drinking from a fire hose and conflicting opinions/research can lead to some hot debates. I think we can all agree that a whole food is healthier than a processed one, right? I don’t think we’ll go much deeper than that besides discussing the “cleanliness” of meat. With the tips and things I’m going to share, you can take this as far as you like… going full-on paleo, or vegan, or just getting rid of the boxes in the cupboard.

Here are the topics I’ll go over in the next few weeks: (Links will be added as I finish the posts.)

Fruits & Vegetables

Whole Grains

Getting Your Protein

Healthy Fats

Processed Food


I’ll also give you one or two things you can easily do each week as well as resources and recipes that apply to each topic. (aka Homework. Yay!)

Ready for your first assignment?

Yes? Great!

OK, you’re assignment: Pick up a book, read an article, or watch a movie about a food-related topic.

Need some direction?

Here are some great resources:

Note: I’ve researched or read through most of these sources and found some great information. They don’t always agree with each other, but they’re good places to start.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (or watch Food, Inc. which is based on the book)
Food Rules by Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman (like a condensed version of In Defense of Food)
Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Weston A. Price Foundation Website
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Website (the TV show is excellent!)

This list just scratches the surface (and I’ll continue to add to it). If you have any other helpful resources, please leave them in a comment below!

Until next time…

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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32 Responses to “Staying Whole in a Processed World: Introduction”

  1. #
    Mel — April 2, 2012 @ 5:48 am

    Sounds great! I am looking forward to the coming weeks!


  2. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — April 2, 2012 @ 6:48 am

    Wahoo! I’m so glad you’re doing this!!


  3. #
    Mary — April 2, 2012 @ 6:54 am

    Hooray! You’re the greatest, Nat! I’m looking forward to this!


  4. #
    Jill — April 2, 2012 @ 7:12 am

    This looks great! I can’t wait to hear more about it! :)


  5. #
    Julia — April 2, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    I’m glad to see more food bloggers encouraging a more ‘whole’ lifestyle!!! Can’t wait to see what’s to come…


  6. #
    Caitlin — April 2, 2012 @ 9:11 am

    This sounds great! We started cutting out processed foods about a year ago and I would love some more tips. :) Thanks for putting this together!


  7. #
    Anjie — April 2, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    I also recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
    I will be sure to follow the series, always looking for new ideas!


    • Natalie replied: — April 2nd, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

      I’m so glad you suggested this one! I just got the audiobook and it’s next on my list :)

  8. #
    Devon — April 2, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    I can’t wait! I’m slowly moving towards cutting out processed foods, and I have a LOT to learn.


  9. #
    Joanne — April 2, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    Woot woot! Spreading the whole unprocessed food love. I love it.


  10. #
    Mindy Oja — April 2, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    For books I’d also recommend “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan (a sort-of condensed version of In Defense of Food) and for inspiration, “The Dirty Life” by Kristin Kimball, or “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.
    We’ve read and reviewed all of them over at Reading For Sanity (shameless plug).


    • Natalie replied: — April 2nd, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

      Oh heavens. Not shameless at all. It’s actually perfect if people want to click over and read your reviews about them. I added them to my list in the post! Thanks!

  11. #
    Heather — April 3, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    This is perfect. I’ve been wanting to move in this direction for a long time, but did not know where to start. Totally overwhelmed by all the opinions out there.


  12. #
    Jolene ( — April 3, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

    This is great! I always try to include as many whole foods into my diet as possible.


  13. #
    Radhika @ Just Homemade — April 3, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

    So glad to find your blog!
    After watching Food Inc., my desire to stay clear of processed and GMO foods has found a new strength..
    YAY! to you for pursuing this subject.. You have a supporter in me for this food revolution..


  14. #
    brandi — April 4, 2012 @ 7:56 am

    i love this! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is one of my favorite books – i read it at least 4 times a year, once each season, if not more.


  15. #
    Jodi J. — April 4, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    I am looking forward to reading your series. I agree that eating whole foods is better than processed and it is something we are striving to be better at. It takes time and planning (food prep and meal planning). Planning ahead and doing a little research makes all the difference!


  16. #
    Amy Powell — April 4, 2012 @ 11:38 am

    I love this idea! I’ve actually just started a paleo-based eating plan (too hard to jump all the way into hard-core paleo) & am loving it! besides losing a lot of weight in just the first 7 days, I feel better too. looking forward to reading more!


  17. #
    Karyn — April 12, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    I’d also recommend watching:
    Food, Inc.
    Forks Over Knives
    Food Matters
    They changed my family’s lives!


  18. #
    LyndaLee — May 19, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    If I can do my est to post any articles with nfo related to healthier eating habits, than my day is complete.


    • LyndaLee replied: — May 19th, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

      ( *best )

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  20. #
    Gaby@GabHousewifeChronicles — September 13, 2012 @ 8:31 am

    Hi! I wanted to let you know that I used some of your information on my blog, and cited and linked you on one post:
    If you disagree, please let me know to edit the post.
    Regards, Gaby


    • Natalie replied: — September 13th, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

      Thanks so much Gaby! I love that you added me as a resource. Great list!

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  23. #
    NebraskaNancy — February 18, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    How about a tutorial on how to have your own kitchen herb garden?


  24. #
    Gina Rasinski — May 4, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

    LOVE everything I have made, I’m a vegetarian, and decided TODAY I am going paleo and vegetarian – will do very little wild fish. THANK YOU for EVERYTHING you post – I know it takes time. We are a family of 6 – 4 teenagers ages 14, 15, 15, 17 and all serious athletes. We love eating healthy and all cook and like to try new recipes! Thank you, again!


    • Natalie Perry replied: — May 6th, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

      Hi Gina! Thank you for your sweet comments! It means a lot! Best of luck to you, too. Paleo and vegetarian seem to be polar opposites, but it sounds like you have a plan! :)

  25. #
    Laura Boston — January 13, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    Very excited


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