It is with great honor that I introduce to you today my blogging friend, and hopefully real life friend someday, Kelly of The Nourishing Home. Kelly focuses on cooking real food that is often free of gluten and is very easily adaptable to other food allergies. I haven’t found a recipe of hers yet that doesn’t look divine and is deliciously healthy. (Kelly gave me the inspiration for my Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits.)
Kelly amazes me with how she built her online support in such a short time. I caught up with Kelly recently to ask her how she manages it all so well. As all things in her life, God is the focus of her strength and her success. So, not only do you get inspiring real food recipes from Kelly, you get a genuine faith upon which her entire life resides.
So, without further ado … I introduce Kelly Smith of The Nourishing Home.
Willing Cook: Welcome, Kelly! I’m so happy that you are joining The Willing Cook today. I’ve introduced you briefly here as the wonder behind The Nourishing Home. Tell us more about your blog. First, what led you to start The Nourishing Home; and second, what are your goals and/or mission for it?
Kelly: Thanks so much for having me over for a visit, Michelle! I can’t say enough about what an inspiration you and so many other real food bloggers are to me as well! It was definitely a special blessing from God that He crossed our paths!
In answer to your question, the mission/goal of my blog is to help individuals and families by sharing helpful meal planning strategies and nourishing real food recipes that are healthy, easy and delicious! And most important, my heart’s desire in doing all of this is to bring glory to God and inspire each of us to live more fully for Him! So on my site, and in my own personal life, I am definitely not promoting healthy living for the sake of good health alone, but for a greater, eternal purpose – so that individuals and families can be as healthy as they can be in order to better serve our great God!
I started my blog after it became evident that my Facebook page just wasn’t providing the format I needed to adequately serve my growing audience of friends who wanted to access my recipes without having to search through countless pages of FB Notes. Eek! I still can’t believe I went an entire year posting recipes as notes on my FB page, but I did. I was very concerned about launching a blog, because I worried that the time involved with managing one might detract me from focusing on my relationship with God and serving Him, my family and church.
So it was only after much time discussing and praying over it with my hubby, seeking counsel from other Christian bloggers, and meditation in His Word (as well as countless little doors the Lord was continually opening) that I finally became confident that this was a ministry I was being called to – an opportunity to help inspire others to live healthier so they can better serve the Lord.
Willing Cook: Your blog is based on a real food lifestyle. What led you to adopt real food as your lifestyle? And just so that we’re clear, how do you define real food in your home?
Kelly: About five years ago, I was literally stopped in my tracks by a couple of painful chronic medical conditions that started me on a journey to find an answer that didn’t require mega-doses of RX meds. Praise be to God for literally placing a very special couple into my life who took the time to share with me their vast knowledge of the real food lifestyle. To say that God used this to completely change my life is an understatement.
Real food in simplest terms is about eating what God has created for us, as close to the way He created it as possible. It’s the return to healthy whole foods and the rejection of man-made processed and refined non-foods that have sadly become the foundation of the average American family’s diet. Real food is a way of life that embraces good stewardship of the natural resources that the Lord has provided for our health and well-being.
Willing Cook: How did you make the change to a real food diet? Did you make slow, gradual changes or did you jump right in?
Kelly: Funny , but true … I tried to make a complete jump – both feet in – no looking back! However, my family completely freaked out when they came home and saw me literally throwing out nearly everything in the pantry. LOL! It was then that I realized that it was going to be really important to take small steps forward! It’s much more effective in getting everyone on board (and not overwhelming yourself) to make slow, steady progress. This is the advice I give to everyone who wants to eat healthier – set goals, take it slow. Of course there are extreme cases, such as severe health issues like food allergies that require an immediate “both feet in” approach, but even then, it’s important to start with the major change that needs to be made, get comfortable with that adjustment, and then move on to the next health goal.
Willing Cook: You recently went gluten-free. What prompted this decision? Further, do you stick to gluten-free as strictly as say someone who suffers from Celiac Disease or a severe gluten allergy?
Kelly: I was having some health issues that seemed to point to gluten intolerance, so I decided to give it a trial run. It was amazing to see all of my symptoms disappear after just a couple of weeks without gluten. Just to be sure it wasn’t a coincidence, I began eating gluten again and within a few days, my symptoms began to return. So it was pretty evident that being gluten-free was the best option for me. I’m not as strict as a person with Celiac Disease is regarding cross-contamination. For example, at this point, I haven’t noticed any issues with me cooking gluten-based foods for my family.
Willing Cook: What health benefits have you experienced as a result of your dietary changes?
Kelly: I’ve been blessed to no longer be on any prescription medications for my chronic medical conditions, which I know has been a combination of God leading me to a real food lifestyle and His kind mercy in bringing me into overall remission. However, there are periods in time when I have a bad bout of pain and discomfort. Often times, it’s unexplainable as to why? But I’m actually thankful for these times, because they remind me that it’s God that I need to depend upon and trust. Yes, we need to use the wisdom that God gives us to make good choices about how best to manage our health, but we should never be so foolish as to put our trust in the creation, rather than in the Creator.
Willing Cook: I’m assuming the rest of your family follows the same real food life as you. If not entirely, how does their diet differ from yours? Have you noticed any health benefits or other notable changes in them?
Kelly: Yes, for the most part, we’re all on the same game plan. I say for the most part, because my family is not 100% gluten-free, although the majority of what they eat is GF. And there are still certain areas that we don’t all agree upon – like my desire to have everyone eating boat-loads of cultured/fermented foods for example! LOL! But we have a lot of fun in our house enjoying healthy meals together and after five years of winning them over via delicious wholesome meals and lots of conversations about the importance of eating healthy, my husband and boys truly do see the benefits of eating a whole food diet. Each are very aware of the difference in how they feel when they stray from whole foods into the realm of processed foods. So it’s great to see them making wise choices on their own, because they truly do see what a difference it makes to eat healthy.
Willing Cook: How do you keep a balance between striving to eat healthy, sharing that lifestyle with the public, and not allowing it to become an idol in your life?
Kelly: That’s such an important point! I’m the first to admit that I’ve struggled with this issue and so it’s my passion to always encourage people to not make healthy eating an idol. I have a post that I refer people to who ask me how to get started eating healthy. It addresses eating whole foods on a budget, but also focuses on the importance of setting goals for healthy eating by first taking your desires to God and seeking His guidance.
It’s so easy, especially when you’re dealing with a chronic health issue, to start to grasp for any way possible to feel better. And when food actually starts to make a positive difference (or anything else for that matter), it can be tempting to start trusting in it, rather than trusting in the Lord fully.
So I remind myself constantly that God’s plans are so far above ours! And in the case of health issues, we want immediate relief and freedom from pain, whereas God can use that pain to grow our dependence and intimacy with Him. I know that eating the food He created (rather than processed foods) helps me feel better, but I also know that it is He who determines my every step and each pathway I walk in this life. This knowledge is a blessing that helps me to maintain the right focus and balance.
Willing Cook: Okay, one last question. What is the one piece of advice or encouragement that you would give to individuals and families who are striving to eat healthier?
Kelly: Start by talking it over with your spouse and together asking God for His direction, guidance and blessings. Take a good look at what it is that you want to change about the way you eat and why. Then, make a plan with goals and start slowly by making one healthy change at a time. It’s slow, steady progress that leads to healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Willing Cook: Again, Kelly, thank you so very much for sharing this part of your life with us. We congratulate you on your many successes! We trust your life will continue to be a God-honoring blessing to your family, the real food community, and me
I certainly could not let Kelly get away without sharing one of her delightful recipes with us. This recipe is exclusively for The Willing Cook (so sweet, Kelly!) and goes along with her month long celebration of Peaches.
Take it away Kelly….
Oh wait…I can’t give it to you yet! You have to come back tomorrow to get Kelly’s recipe for Peach-Raspberry Crisp. You won’t want to miss it! In the meantime, go peruse all that is wonderful at The Nourishing Home, including her bi-weekly meal plans (with recipes), delicious recipes, beautiful photography, and grace-filled bounty!
Update: The Berry-Peachy Crisp has been posted. Click on the recipe title to enjoy!
Thanks again, Kelly, for joining The Willing Cook!
~A Warm Welcome to all the friends of The Nourishing Home!~