- Keeper of the Home - http://www.keeperofthehome.org -

Second Steps Towards Eating Real Foods: Switching Your Food Sources


By Diana [2], Contributing Writer

Are you working to ditch processed foods and put more real food on the table? This month we’re running a series called Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Better [3]. Our goal is to answer the questions [4] you might have and make the transition a whole lot easier!

I am so excited to be a part of the Real Food Made Simple series [3] on Keeper of the Home.  I’ve been on a real food journey for over six years now and my hope is to share with you some of the knowledge I’ve gained along the way.

By now you’ve learned a bit about what real food means [5], first steps towards eating real foods [6], and you have learned some great tips on how to cut your kitchen time in half [5]. You’ve also learned how to read food labels [7] and tackle the great grain debate [8].

Now it’s time to think about your food sources.

Two of the biggest challenges for many people trying to switch their food sources is:

The Importance of Sourcing Real Food


Many people do not understand the significance in nourishing our bodies with real foods. By eating organic or local, to some, you may seem bourgeois.

For me, the importance of sourcing real food is for the health and well being of my children.

There are studies upon studies of the detrimental effects that industrially-raised and conventional foods can create. From a weakened immune system,  behavioral problems [10], to early onset puberty [11] – my children are much too important to care what others may deem elite.

I would rather be feeding my children real foods without preservatives, chemicals, and hormones knowing well that their little bodies and immune systems will be strong and nourished.

*This is just the tip of the iceberg on the importance of sourcing real food for health.



Many people first attempting to make a change to real foods are under the assumption that buying organic and pasture raised/grass-fed foods is too expensive. They assume that they can’t afford it.

In my Real Food, Food Budget series [13] I share how I buy real food for my family with $100 – $120 a week.

The key is to:

To read the full article on menu planning and saving money on real food, click here [14].  To read the full article on saving money by buying in bulk, bartering, working, and making the right connections, click here [15].

Stephanie’s note: I absolutely agree with Diana, and employ the same types of strategies. I’ve written a full-length book on this topic- Real Food on a Real Budget: How to Eat Healthy for Less [16]. You can also read a post that I wrote on What I Would Feed my Family on a Monthly Budget of $250 [17]. It really is possible to eat real food on a tight budget!

Switching Your Food Sources – Top Foods to Buy Local, Organic, or Pasture/Grass-Fed


It would be incredibly expensive to replace your entire pantry.  Instead, start with the top foods that contain the most chemicals, preservatives, and hormones.

1. Full Fat Dairy

Toxins from hormones and pesticides are stored in animal fat.  If you’re buying conventionally-raised milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter, you can be sure that they contain these toxins.



Cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products:

2. Meat

Meat is especially important to buy from a trusted source [21] pasturing their animals [22].  This ensures that they are raised sustainably, humanely, and without hormones or unnecessary antibiotics.

It’s amazing to think that 80% of antibiotics sold in the United States is for farm animals [23].

Local, pasture-raised meat [21] can be costly. We are so used to paying CHEAP prices for meat, that we don’t understand why local has to cost more. Please remember that family farmers pour sweat and blood into raising animals as God intended for our nourishment.  The meat contains nutrients that far surpass anything you’ll find in a grocery store packed in cellophane.

*Living in Iowa, I haven’t even touched on the environmental issues and health problems from the thousands of factory farms.

Make it a resolution to buy local meat this year.  If you’re getting a tax return, invest it in your family’s health.  I personally get grass-fed meat from Ebersole Cattle Company [24] and pasture-raised heritage breed pork from Stamps Family Farm [25].  Both family farmers ship to the entire United States and also have payment plans.

To find a local source, visit localharvest.org [26].

3. Eggs

Eggs are particularly important to buy either locally or from a source that you know is pasturing their birds. Chickens eating grains as their main diet will have fat-soluble pesticides in its feed transferred to the egg yolks. Be aware that many “cage-free” varieties actually only give their chickens a small allotment of space to range–usually without any access to pasture. 

For more information on sourcing eggs, please read my post at Simple Bites called “The Beauty of Farm Fresh Eggs and How To Source Them. [28]

4. Fruits and Vegetables.

For fruits and vegetables I always stick to the dirty dozen and clean 15 list.


Are You Overwhelmed?

I know this can be a lot of information to take in. In order to help more people eat real food on a budget, I’ve started a meal plan called, Spain in Iowa’s Organic Menu Plan on a Budget. 


The menu plan list will help you prepare nourishing, nutrient-dense meals for your family.

The menu will consist of weekly real food meals with a shopping list that will keep your weekly budget at or around $120 a week. My plans will keep your family eating important nutrient-dense foods at a manageable price. For more information, please sign up for weekly updates or visit us on Facebook [31].

Other posts in the series:

Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Better [4]

First Steps to Real Food [6]

What Is Real Food? [5]

Cutting Your Kitchen Prep Time in Half — Or More! [32]

Confessions of a Formerly Picky Eater [33]

How to Read Food Labels [34]

The Grain Controversy: Should We Eat Them or Not? [35]

Sweeteners: How They Affect You, Which Ones are Best, and How to Use Them [36]

Simple Steps to Begin Cooking Homemade: Pantry Staples [37]

5 Strategies to Help Your Husband and Kids Transition to Real Food  [38]

7 Foods to Avoid [39]

Finding Real Food in the Grocery Store [40]

20 Easy Real Food Switches and Substitutions {with Free Printable Chart} [41]

First Steps to Eating for Fertility [42]

Keeping Costs Down in a Real Food Kitchen [43]

Raising Kids on Real Food [44]

5 Ways to Get More Fruits & Veggies into your Diet [45]

Food Is Not Cheap: 4 Steps to Budgeting in Real Food [46]

Simple Steps to Begin Cooking Homemade: Baked Goods [47]

Simple Roast Chicken (And Fabulous Side Dish Recipes!) [48]

17 Homemade Spice Mixes {with Recipes & Why You Should Use Them!} [49]

5 Ways Green Living and Real Food are Connected [50]

Simple Steps to Begin Cooking Homemade: Soups, Sauces, and Simple Dinners [51]

Are you making a commitment to switching your food sources this year?  Please share your favorite sources for real food.