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100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love

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Simple, family-friendly recipes and practical advice to help you ditch processed food and eat better every day! Thanks to Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, Lisa Leake was given the wake-up call of her life when she realized that many of the foods she was feeding her family were actually "foodlike substances." So she, her husband, and their two young girls completely over Simple, family-friendly recipes and practical advice to help you ditch processed food and eat better every day! Thanks to Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, Lisa Leake was given the wake-up call of her life when she realized that many of the foods she was feeding her family were actually "foodlike substances." So she, her husband, and their two young girls completely overhauled their diets by pledging to go 100 days without eating highly processed or refined foods—a challenge she opened to readers on her blog. What she thought would be a short-term experiment turned out to have a huge impact on her personally. After wading through their fair share of challenges, experiencing unexpected improvements in health, and gaining a preference for fresh, wholesome meals, the Leakes happily adopted their commitment to real food as their "new normal." Now Lisa shares her family's story, offering insights and cost-conscious recipes everyone can use to enjoy wholesome natural food prepared with easily found ingredients such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seafood, locally raised meats, whole-milk dairy products, nuts, natural sweeteners, and more. Filled with step-by-step instructions, this hands-on cookbook and guide includes: Advice for navigating the grocery store and making smart real food purchases Tips for reading ingredient labels 100 quick-and-easy recipes for such favorites as Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale Pesto Cream Sauce, Cheesy Broccoli Casserole, The Best Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker, and Cinnamon-Glazed Popcorn Meal plans and suggestions for kid-pleasing school lunches, parties, and snacks A 10-day mini-starter program, and much more. 100 Days of Real Food offers all the support, encouragement, and guidance you'll need to make these incredibly important and timely life changes.


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Simple, family-friendly recipes and practical advice to help you ditch processed food and eat better every day! Thanks to Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, Lisa Leake was given the wake-up call of her life when she realized that many of the foods she was feeding her family were actually "foodlike substances." So she, her husband, and their two young girls completely over Simple, family-friendly recipes and practical advice to help you ditch processed food and eat better every day! Thanks to Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, Lisa Leake was given the wake-up call of her life when she realized that many of the foods she was feeding her family were actually "foodlike substances." So she, her husband, and their two young girls completely overhauled their diets by pledging to go 100 days without eating highly processed or refined foods—a challenge she opened to readers on her blog. What she thought would be a short-term experiment turned out to have a huge impact on her personally. After wading through their fair share of challenges, experiencing unexpected improvements in health, and gaining a preference for fresh, wholesome meals, the Leakes happily adopted their commitment to real food as their "new normal." Now Lisa shares her family's story, offering insights and cost-conscious recipes everyone can use to enjoy wholesome natural food prepared with easily found ingredients such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seafood, locally raised meats, whole-milk dairy products, nuts, natural sweeteners, and more. Filled with step-by-step instructions, this hands-on cookbook and guide includes: Advice for navigating the grocery store and making smart real food purchases Tips for reading ingredient labels 100 quick-and-easy recipes for such favorites as Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale Pesto Cream Sauce, Cheesy Broccoli Casserole, The Best Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker, and Cinnamon-Glazed Popcorn Meal plans and suggestions for kid-pleasing school lunches, parties, and snacks A 10-day mini-starter program, and much more. 100 Days of Real Food offers all the support, encouragement, and guidance you'll need to make these incredibly important and timely life changes.

30 review for 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love

  1. 4 out of 5

    Huma Rashid

    I mean, it has some good recipes, so that's nice, but honestly, this is what happens when literally anyone can publicize their change in eating habits and brand themselves an "expert." THe GMO section was hilarious to me, but also very sad because it was the perfect illustration of scientific illiteracy. Obviously, the author feels that GMOs are bad, adn lists a bunch of fruits/vegetables that are 'at risk' or whatever for being modified. And I'm sitting there like, lady, ORANGES ARE GMOS. ORANGE I mean, it has some good recipes, so that's nice, but honestly, this is what happens when literally anyone can publicize their change in eating habits and brand themselves an "expert." THe GMO section was hilarious to me, but also very sad because it was the perfect illustration of scientific illiteracy. Obviously, the author feels that GMOs are bad, adn lists a bunch of fruits/vegetables that are 'at risk' or whatever for being modified. And I'm sitting there like, lady, ORANGES ARE GMOS. ORANGES ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO EXIST. Like? People are so dumb, I swear to God. Learn some science and food history before you tout your randomly strung together 'knowledge' as food canon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brianne

    Lisa Leake is pretentious, and that pretentious attitude saturates everything she does. Not everyone can afford her lifestyle. Her and her husband live in Charlotte, which is one of the most expensive places to live in North Carolina, she's a stay at home mom who can afford a cushy lifestyle, and thus, thinks that everyone else should be able to do what she does. She once told a reader of her website to sell their car so they could afford clean eating. This person lived in the rural Midwest, where Lisa Leake is pretentious, and that pretentious attitude saturates everything she does. Not everyone can afford her lifestyle. Her and her husband live in Charlotte, which is one of the most expensive places to live in North Carolina, she's a stay at home mom who can afford a cushy lifestyle, and thus, thinks that everyone else should be able to do what she does. She once told a reader of her website to sell their car so they could afford clean eating. This person lived in the rural Midwest, where having a car to go anywhere was a necessity. These recipes are good - doable - if you have the time. But time is a thing that people like Lisa and "Food Babe", her partner in crime, don't realize most people don't have. The recipes in this book are not feasible for a lower middle class or impoverished family, or a single-family household. Mrs. Leake thinks she is doing some good, and while she might be, for the people who can afford it and have the time, it leaves the rest of us, the people who should "sell their cars", still resorting to eating convenience foods. Budget Bytes is a far better alternative, if you're poorer and want to eat healthy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Puleo

    I've followed Lisa Leake on Facebook for some time which is why I wanted to check out this book. After reading, I can say that it was a worthwhile read, and the recipes are a great introduction to simple, clean eating. Her family has definitely gone to the most strict sense of clean eating, and that isn't for everyone, including me, but it definitely makes you think about what clean eating means and how even small changes such as reading labels can make a huge difference. It is amazing to see w I've followed Lisa Leake on Facebook for some time which is why I wanted to check out this book. After reading, I can say that it was a worthwhile read, and the recipes are a great introduction to simple, clean eating. Her family has definitely gone to the most strict sense of clean eating, and that isn't for everyone, including me, but it definitely makes you think about what clean eating means and how even small changes such as reading labels can make a huge difference. It is amazing to see what is being put in our food even when it is being pushed as "healthy." A lot of the complaints about this book were how eating clean isn't cost effective and that Leake comes across as pretentious. Leake very clearly states that it won't work for every family, but she does give the tools for those who really do want to go "all in." She also stresses that any change is better than no change. She is definitely opinionated about clean eating, but it's her passion. I'm not going to overhaul my family's eating habits, but I did take away some good information from the book and will make some positive changes. As far as complaints about cost, it's just an easy excuse to not like the book or Leake's lifestyle. Does it cost more? Sure. Cost of produce, meat, and other healthy foods always have cost more. This isn't her fault. Overall, this was a worthwhile read with an interesting point of view. I'm not going to become a full convert, but I am taking away some great information and recipe ideas.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carissa

    I have such mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I agreed with the author's food philosophy. Processed foods are bad, bad, bad. I, like the author, read Pollan's book, In Defense of Food and agreed with it. Some of the advice the author gave was helpful and I was motivated to eat better. Buuuuuuuut, there was a lot in this book that I couldn't relate to. The author made such a sweeping and dramatic change in her diet and props to her. However, her reaction to In Defense of Food was so opp I have such mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I agreed with the author's food philosophy. Processed foods are bad, bad, bad. I, like the author, read Pollan's book, In Defense of Food and agreed with it. Some of the advice the author gave was helpful and I was motivated to eat better. Buuuuuuuut, there was a lot in this book that I couldn't relate to. The author made such a sweeping and dramatic change in her diet and props to her. However, her reaction to In Defense of Food was so opposite to my own, that I had a hard time understanding this author. (I'm more of a slow, small changes person.) Even her 12 week challenge was too much for me. Rather than holding my hand through this whole foods life style change, I felt like she was pushing me off a food cliff. Also, at times, the author came off as a bit self-righteous. While I agreed with the author's beliefs about the virtues of organic foods and local, humanely treated meat, I found her eating habits completely unrealistic to my life. The entire time I read this book, I kept thinking, "Too expensive. Too expensive! Too expensive!!!" Sure enough, when the author gave her "frugal" budget for four people, I laughed. It was a whopping $50 A WEEK more than my budget for four people. I also felt like too much of this book was a review of Pollan's book. I wish the author would have brought more of her own ideas to the table. For instance, she could have focused more on application and given baby steps to those of us who aren't quite ready to so drastically change our eating habits. I would have loved a section about how to incorporate more veggies into one's diet. On the bright side, this book was beautiful, with gorgeous pictures of the author and her family and pictures of food, scattered throughout. Visually, it was stunning. I also loved that the author included quotes from her children. It was so cute and sweet. I had mixed reviews on the recipes. Her dinner recipes didn't quite gel with my family. We tried the eggplant Parmesan and the potato soup. The eggplant Parmesan was a little too simple for my family's tastes. The potato soup was good but didn't taste any different from potato soups that I've made in the past. What I really loved about the cookbook were the breakfast, lunch, and snack recipes. I'm always looking for lunch and snack time ideas in particular. We made the cinnamon apple chips and LOVED them. They were a very doable, healthy treat. We will definitely be making them again! The breakfast and lunch sections had lots of great-looking recipes. However, we only had time to make the black bean tostadas before I needed to return the book to the library. We loved the tostadas. I will definitely be adding them to our lunch rotation. They would also make a great quick dinner for our busy nights. Overall, this was a decent book (especially for people who don't have time to read In Defense of Food), with some good recipes. 3 Stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Sapper

    The healthy eating sections in the beginning of the book are interesting. However, these recipes are way too basic and there are really very few recipes- for people who do not know how to cook at all. My book group chose this and I will give this to our library. I have many actual cookbooks.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    More of a cookbook than anything else - but some great information and support in a 'real food' diet.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zora

    The only "diet" book you'd ever need. The recipes are great for omnivores and vegetarians but a vegan would have less to choose from--though the principle still applies. There's no real science in here supporting the claim that real food is better for you than normal packaged fare, but it just makes sense that it would be. We didn't evolve over 5 million years of eating BHA, Xanthum gum, sodium benzoate, and so on, so it's doubtful we could be well-adapted to it. (Though the same thing could be The only "diet" book you'd ever need. The recipes are great for omnivores and vegetarians but a vegan would have less to choose from--though the principle still applies. There's no real science in here supporting the claim that real food is better for you than normal packaged fare, but it just makes sense that it would be. We didn't evolve over 5 million years of eating BHA, Xanthum gum, sodium benzoate, and so on, so it's doubtful we could be well-adapted to it. (Though the same thing could be said of New World veg for people like me, and oils, which come from a recent--in evolutionary time--technology, or out-of-season vegetables and fruits. But ya gotta eat something in winter.) Eat like this 95% of the time, accept the body size that results, and quit obsessing over whatever the TV tells you about if eggs or oil or whatever are "good" or "bad" this year, and I suspect that'll give you optimal physical and mental health. It'll also save you a lot of time obsessing over food news. Just don't become a bore about it. If granny feeds you a store-bought cake for your birthday, smile and have a small piece and say "Thanks, gran! You're the best." Because she'll be dead soon, and you should be nice to her and that trumps any diet, any day. I'm going to start eating "apple sandwiches" with either PB or cheddar cheese between two slices of apple. Sounds yummy! i wish I had a mom packing me those amazing lunches. They're works of art! : )

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    Very informative and helpful! I was reminded of things I already knew, and learned a lot of new things along the way. The recipes in the latter half of the book look GREAT! I can't wait to give them a try!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This is a beautiful book with great photographs. I read the first half, and like other reviewers, was a bit put off with her pretentious attitude and constant referencing of Michael Pollan, who himself is a journalist and not a nutritionist. I would have like more "science" backup, although I did learn a few things about processed food. I feel like she really excels at marketing her ideas in a beautiful glossy book! The second half of the book is recipes, which I just glanced through quickly, sin This is a beautiful book with great photographs. I read the first half, and like other reviewers, was a bit put off with her pretentious attitude and constant referencing of Michael Pollan, who himself is a journalist and not a nutritionist. I would have like more "science" backup, although I did learn a few things about processed food. I feel like she really excels at marketing her ideas in a beautiful glossy book! The second half of the book is recipes, which I just glanced through quickly, since I had to return the book to the library. I referenced a few recipes to try, which I hope I can find on the the blog, or I will check the book out again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    I have to say that I found myself shaking my head while reading this book. The pretentiousness, arrogance and condescension of this author was WAY too much for me. The entire time while reading this book, I thought she taught her audience as though they were too stupid to think through anything and needed her direction to even go to the bathroom. If they're too stupid to even read a recipe and then make up a grocery list, how do you them to cook the meals? The only thing that saved this book from I have to say that I found myself shaking my head while reading this book. The pretentiousness, arrogance and condescension of this author was WAY too much for me. The entire time while reading this book, I thought she taught her audience as though they were too stupid to think through anything and needed her direction to even go to the bathroom. If they're too stupid to even read a recipe and then make up a grocery list, how do you them to cook the meals? The only thing that saved this book from getting a zero star rating were the recipes. She did have some very interesting recipes in the book that will be added to my meal rotation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Loved it! Pure common sense, but it's good to have it all laid out and recipes too. We are gonna do this - it's gonna take a bit - while we use up what we have but then pure butter and olive oil, 100% whole wheat, and cutting MAJORLY back on added sugars, deepfried, fast food and items with preservatives in it. Have you read the labels on your bread?! Bagels? Wraps? Salad Dressing? Things that are supposed to be "healthy". Insane. Whole foods is the way to go.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Really cool ideas in here, even if you don't go completely "real food". Gives you a lot to think about. Every recipe I've tried is fantastic (and easy).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Some of the reviews here are calling Lisa Leake pretentious. She absolutely is. I followed her Facebook page after reading this book and I am often shocked at how oblivious she is to the rest of the world. Not everyone can afford to eat like her family does, and not everyone has the leisure time to do meal prep and make sure their kids get X amount of fruits and vegetables in a day. She has occasionally posted things that refer to a lack of effort from people who do not make healthy eating a pri Some of the reviews here are calling Lisa Leake pretentious. She absolutely is. I followed her Facebook page after reading this book and I am often shocked at how oblivious she is to the rest of the world. Not everyone can afford to eat like her family does, and not everyone has the leisure time to do meal prep and make sure their kids get X amount of fruits and vegetables in a day. She has occasionally posted things that refer to a lack of effort from people who do not make healthy eating a priority. I am curious if she is even aware that poor people are, like, a thing. Working multiple jobs and barely scraping by usually means you can make sure your kid is fed, period. So yes, Lisa is a pretentious and privileged white lady from North Carolina. However! I still really enjoyed this book. Some of her beliefs didn't jibe with me (I just don't think GMOs are THAT big of a deal), but there are a lot of excellent tips in this book as well. Eating two fruits or vegetables with every meal? That's a good tip. Cutting back on heavily processed foods? Also good. I have tried a few of the recipes and found them tasty, and I have baked a few things (not from this book) with whole-wheat flour and minimal sugar and been pleased with the results. I am not going to give up putting sugar in my coffee or eating french fries (because I want to enjoy my life while I am alive), and while my husband and I are blessed to be very comfortable financially, I am not going to buy all of our meat and eggs at a farm, because holy crap that is expensive. We did switch to pasture-raised eggs and we are more careful about reading ingredient labels. So did I learn some things from this book? Yes, absolutely. I had some really good takeaways and we definitely incorporated some of these ideas into our day-to-day eating.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Padanyi

    The teaching portion of this book is a little judge-y. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone in the earlier stages of recovering from disordered eating. Lots of stars though for tons of super practical recipe inspiration! Such a great resource for lunch ideas in particular.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Reid

    Excellent ideas on how to move towards more wholesome eating and living. Wonderful recipes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Jorgensen

    Awesome cookbook. Lisa's lovely personality shines throughout.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    One positive takeaway from this book was a lot of easy and practical ways to incorporate more real food into my diet. But man... this author is very much blind to her own privilege. This woman's diet relies on a lot of things that are unrealistic to most- disposable income, time and access- and her condescension towards those who are unable to feed their families this strictly prescribed diet was not appreciated.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annmarie

    I love these recipes!!! I have already made a third of them. They are easy to follow and make. Each recipe I made has came out great!!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Bennett

    This book is broken down into 2 sections: the first half is a recap of what is on Lisa's blog and the 100 day "real food challenge" that started it all. The 2nd half is recipes. I follow the blog and agree with some of the other comments; Lisa can come off as pretentious because she is very passionate about her beliefs. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can rub some people the wrong way. She is also a stay-at-home mom with what appears to be a very comfortable financial situation -- someth This book is broken down into 2 sections: the first half is a recap of what is on Lisa's blog and the 100 day "real food challenge" that started it all. The 2nd half is recipes. I follow the blog and agree with some of the other comments; Lisa can come off as pretentious because she is very passionate about her beliefs. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can rub some people the wrong way. She is also a stay-at-home mom with what appears to be a very comfortable financial situation -- something that allows her to do things that a lot of people won't be able to follow. Pros: --she has a lot of good, if common, information. --She has a LOT of kid-friendly recipes (which I don't have to worry about, but I know many people who are constantly trying to find food that their kids will eat). --EVERY recipe has a picture -- this is HUGE for me since i am not the best of cooks and the pictures help to know what I'm trying to accomplish. --The recipes that I have tried are very tasty and easy to follow. Cons: There is absolutely no nutrition information. Lisa addresses this in that she herself does not have a weight problem and just wants people to focus on the 'real' food. For someone who DOES have a weight-problem I find this to be a big draw-back of the cookbook. It is not promoted as a weight-loss book, but nutrition information is considered standard in today's world so I find this to be a disservice to the public by not including that information. Thanks to Brianne's review for putting me onto Budget Bytes website; I am now a follower. I like how that blog breaks down the cost of things and you can easily incorporate some of 100 Day's philosophy's into the recipes to come up with healthy yet budget-friendly recipes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A couple years ago I started following 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook. It was an easy way to see lunch ideas and get some great recipes for our family. I visit their blog occasionally and have pulled some of our favorite recipes from their (the creamy wheat macaroni and cheese is a favorite of my husband's!). I was thrilled when I heard about their cookbook. And even more excited when they offered me a copy in order to review it! 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake is more like a Bible for foo A couple years ago I started following 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook. It was an easy way to see lunch ideas and get some great recipes for our family. I visit their blog occasionally and have pulled some of our favorite recipes from their (the creamy wheat macaroni and cheese is a favorite of my husband's!). I was thrilled when I heard about their cookbook. And even more excited when they offered me a copy in order to review it! 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake is more like a Bible for food and healthy eating. The recipes are divine, yet family friendly and easy to make. The pictures are gorgeous (you know I love a cookbook with photos!). The lunch box ideas are fantastic, and there are several pages of ideas. Perfect for any lunch, really, not just one away from home! But it's not just recipes. The first half of the book is about the Leake's own food journey and how to get started on your own road to real food. From "What is Real Food?" to "Making Changes; Don't Overthink, Just Start!" There are menu plans based on seasons, what to watch for in food labels, how to shop, snack ideas, and so much more. As a busy mom, with limited time in the kitchen, this is the book on how to change our diet while not having anyone rebel at mealtimes! I am thrilled to add this to my bookshelf and see myself using it time and time again. Perfect for all degrees of cooks, the recipes even list the difficulty from easy to advanced.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    I am (admittedly) more than a little obsessed with food...or perhaps terrified by food would be more accurate. What I read on a weekly basis keeps me up at night, and I can't for the life of me understand how these additives and poisons are legally put into our food. There are many books about food that I'm not yet brave enough to read, though I am very well-versed in and try to abide by the whole/local/certain things organic lifestyle. This book is part cookbook, part back story and part tips, I am (admittedly) more than a little obsessed with food...or perhaps terrified by food would be more accurate. What I read on a weekly basis keeps me up at night, and I can't for the life of me understand how these additives and poisons are legally put into our food. There are many books about food that I'm not yet brave enough to read, though I am very well-versed in and try to abide by the whole/local/certain things organic lifestyle. This book is part cookbook, part back story and part tips, hints and techniques for variety and success. I love the idea of this book and found it to be an easy, enjoyable read. I'm not familiar with the blog but I applaud the author for what she has accomplished both in this MAJOR life change to real food and in her presentation of it in this book. She seems to truly want to help others move over to a lifestyle of eating whole foods and her offering is neither preachy nor judgmental. For me, the recipes were very basic but for anyone who is eating primarily processed, packaged foods, the recipes would be great. Regardless, I give this book high marks. I would love to get my family to an all "real food" existence and this book gives me hope that it could happen.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This books is OK. It offers a lot of arguments for cleaner eating, but the author didn't qualify herself as a nutritionist. . . just someone who developed a strong interest after reading Michael Pollan. She comes off as a little preachy, and there isn't really a narrative. She tells you things, then gives you recipes. The recipes themselves are solid, though pretty basic. Many of them would take too long for me to prepare during the week. One thing that bugged me - around 2008 or 2009 another boo This books is OK. It offers a lot of arguments for cleaner eating, but the author didn't qualify herself as a nutritionist. . . just someone who developed a strong interest after reading Michael Pollan. She comes off as a little preachy, and there isn't really a narrative. She tells you things, then gives you recipes. The recipes themselves are solid, though pretty basic. Many of them would take too long for me to prepare during the week. One thing that bugged me - around 2008 or 2009 another book was written on basically the same principal, only with an urban family of four (either in Brooklyn or Boston). It was before I was on Goodreads, so I don't remember the title of the book. But it was MUCH better than this; there was more narrative, and the parents told of their real-life struggles with eating like this (though pointing out the benefits). That book also included recipes, including the best fish stick recipe I've found. I wish I could remember the title because I'd recommend that book over this. I was kind of bugged too that Leake thought was she did was so unique, since it's been done elsewhere. It's a beautiful book, and maybe worth checking out if you don't know how to get more whole foods into your diet.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I love the concept of this book. I really try to prepare whole foods for my kids, but this lady takes it to a level that I don't feel like committing myself to at this time in my life. For example, if it comes from the store, it has to be 5 ingredients or less, and the word whole and organic must be present. Now, I'm a label reader big time. I look for sugar content, artificial ingredients, fat, sodium, etc...Part of my degree is in nutrition, but I feel like there is a misconception of ingredie I love the concept of this book. I really try to prepare whole foods for my kids, but this lady takes it to a level that I don't feel like committing myself to at this time in my life. For example, if it comes from the store, it has to be 5 ingredients or less, and the word whole and organic must be present. Now, I'm a label reader big time. I look for sugar content, artificial ingredients, fat, sodium, etc...Part of my degree is in nutrition, but I feel like there is a misconception of ingredients labeled as "bad" that really aren't that bad...maybe I haven't been truly converted yet. What I did love were the recipes, they are delicious, and I love the lunch section for kids lunch...I was all inspired to change my lunch prep ways, then realized that the food she puts in her small kids lunch won't work for high school and middle school. Translation...my kids won't eat it. Great book for recipes though. I'll still use real sugar though...too bad it's got such a bad rep.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Really beautiful book with photos for every recipe. I have enjoyed the recipes that I've tried and I am looking forward to making more. My complaint is that the author talks about the importance of portion control when you're eating real food -- the recipes do not have calorie or nutrient counts -- but there is no discussion of what kind of portions are appropriate. I feel like it would be really easy to make these delicious recipes and end up eating a lot more calories than intended. I would ha Really beautiful book with photos for every recipe. I have enjoyed the recipes that I've tried and I am looking forward to making more. My complaint is that the author talks about the importance of portion control when you're eating real food -- the recipes do not have calorie or nutrient counts -- but there is no discussion of what kind of portions are appropriate. I feel like it would be really easy to make these delicious recipes and end up eating a lot more calories than intended. I would have appreciated a more in depth discussion of how she decides what portions are appropriate for her family,

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Four stars for the recipes. Many of them are basic staples, but I will use this a lot as a reference for making basic recipes with whole foods. Two stars for the text. It's a lot of Michael Pollan regurgitation, applied to this family's lifestyle, which has broad areas that don't overlap with our lifestyle. I skipped big sections because they were either things I have already read about hundreds of times, or weren't applicable to people without kids (or who work full time). Other sections were go Four stars for the recipes. Many of them are basic staples, but I will use this a lot as a reference for making basic recipes with whole foods. Two stars for the text. It's a lot of Michael Pollan regurgitation, applied to this family's lifestyle, which has broad areas that don't overlap with our lifestyle. I skipped big sections because they were either things I have already read about hundreds of times, or weren't applicable to people without kids (or who work full time). Other sections were good reminders or easy sound bite facts (like there's a teaspoon of sugar in every tablespoon of ketchup you eat).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I would say I identify with the "real food" philosophy of eating more than any other diet trend these days. I read In Defense of Food (like Leake did) and it completely changed my views just like it did hers (although I didn't change my life as drastically as she did). So I agree with a lot of the things she says in the book. I personally liked the ratio of content/recipes in the book, although some might be disappointed if they were looking for more of a cookbook, or more of a nonfiction read. I would say I identify with the "real food" philosophy of eating more than any other diet trend these days. I read In Defense of Food (like Leake did) and it completely changed my views just like it did hers (although I didn't change my life as drastically as she did). So I agree with a lot of the things she says in the book. I personally liked the ratio of content/recipes in the book, although some might be disappointed if they were looking for more of a cookbook, or more of a nonfiction read. I think it's about half and half (I read the ebook so I don't know for sure). Yes, there are 100 recipes, but keep in mind that many of them are not entree recipes; you couldn't go your whole life eating only recipes from this book. Also, she's not a journalist, scientist, or researcher, so she doesn't have her own research to back up her claims. If you want the research, read Pollan himself. I also recommend Just Food, which proves some of the common real-food points (such as those about GMOs) wrong, or at least much more complicated than real-food-ists believe they are. However, Leake's book is much more readable and a great introduction to the real-food way of life. A little ways through this book, I decided to check out Leake's blog and her original blog posts about her 100 Days of Real Food challenge. Whoa...I don't recommend this. If you think Leake is pretentious in this book, you really won't like her blog! She complains about how other people are so unwilling to make changes in their lives. Yeah, well, not everyone has the time, energy, and passion to devote to a major life change. She thinks that just because she is passionate about this issue, everyone else should be--and if they aren't, they either don't have the facts or they're lazy. The truth is, sometimes we know what the best way is to do things, but we simply don't have the passion to completely devote our lives to it the way Leake did. She spent hours upon hours preparing food for her family and researching restaurants to see what they would serve that her family could eat. She and her husband would send food back at restaurants multiple times and ask their servers 500 questions every time they went out. She put so much stress into her life over this challenge; she lost sleep over whether her daughter would eat candy backstage at her dance recital. Here's a story she shared on her blog that truly shocked me: She went to visit her parents (whose reluctance to go real-food she complains about frequently) with her kids. Her parents very kindly went out of their way to cook an entire real-food meal for her family, including locally raised meat. Leake took one bite of the pasta and questioned whether it was whole-wheat or not. Her parents assured her that it was. Leake proceeded to dig through their trash to find the pasta box, and sure enough--the box said "whole wheat blend," which meant it wasn't 100% whole wheat. Gasp! So, Leake and her children would not eat another bite of the meal her parents had made for them, and Leake went into the kitchen to prepare a whole different meal for them. The level of insanity in this behavior is just unbelievable to me. It's great to be committed to something, but at what expense? I think Michael Pollan himself would find this story appalling. Okay, sorry, this is supposed to be a review of the BOOK, not the blog. I would still recommend the book because Leake has calmed down considerably since that first challenge, it appears. She says that she and her family make a lot more exceptions to the real-food rules now that their 100 Days challenge is over, and she also encourages readers to make just the changes that are reasonable for them. She still comes across a little pretentious, but I can certainly handle it better in the book than I could on her blog. (Also, I'm guessing her more recent blog posts are more similar to the book, and she probably has some great recipes on there. Just don't read her original 100 Days challenge posts.) I think I have to give the book 4 stars rather than 3 because it really did get me excited about eating real food more than I do. I checked the labels on some of the foods I buy and was really surprised. I want to start making more food from scratch and eating less refined sugar and flour, for sure. For someone like me who was already converted to the idea of eating real food, the book was great inspiration. There's one thing I think Lisa Leake really misses the boat on when it comes to real food (something that, if I remember correctly, is actually discussed quite a bit in In Defense of Food and French Kids Eat Everything, two books that Leake loves): food is not just about food. The cultures that have the best relationships with food are the ones that use food to bring people together, not force them apart. Making judgments about other people based on what they eat and acting superior to others because you eat more real food than you do are not helpful. Even simply adhering so strictly to a real-food diet that you convince other people that they could NEVER eat real food the way you do is actually taking our society a step backward rather than forward. Part of eating real food is learning to truly love food and having many more positive experiences with it than negative ones. I think it's important to be relaxed about food "rules" not just because it's hard to be strict, but also because you would otherwise lose out on wonderful opportunities to share and enjoy food with others who may not share your philosophy. I wish that Leake would have brought that point of view into her book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Misti

    I have enjoyed Lisa Leake's blog for many years now and have implemented her meal plans and recipes which both went over well with my family. Part one of the book reviews how Lisa came to be so passionate about real foods and gives very applicable steps towards getting your family on board with better eating choices. Part two gives us the recipes broken down into meal times and concludeds with homemade staple recipes like bbq sauce and tomato sauce. Simple recipes, plenty of food choices, and be I have enjoyed Lisa Leake's blog for many years now and have implemented her meal plans and recipes which both went over well with my family. Part one of the book reviews how Lisa came to be so passionate about real foods and gives very applicable steps towards getting your family on board with better eating choices. Part two gives us the recipes broken down into meal times and concludeds with homemade staple recipes like bbq sauce and tomato sauce. Simple recipes, plenty of food choices, and beautiful illustrations makes the book a win in all aspects.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This book felt like fan-fiction. Yes, it's non-fiction, but it reads like fan-fiction, because it's basically just a repackaging of Michael Pollan's ideas, with nothing added to it, and no criticism.. just unabashed love for Michael Pollan. I guess if you want all that in a tiny little package, then you could try this book, but for me, it was missing the meat of Michael Pollan's works that make them more palatable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I am a already a firm believer in eating fresh food and avoiding processed things whenever possible. The recipes in this book are rated by ease of preparation and I was able to get some great ideas. Being a Weight Watchers point counter made me cringe that some of the ingredients could be high in points, but I could see that processed sugar was eliminated in the recipes so that I won't need to worry about unhealthy choices.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I enjoyed reading about this family's journey away from processed food products and towards real whole foods. There are good suggestions for migrating your family toward this way of eating. The recipes are okay. I don't eat meat, so not many of them are for me. I definitely appreciate the author's message, though.

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