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Cookbook Review: 100 Days of Real Food

In 2010, Lisa Leake decided her family’s eating habits had to change. After reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, the North Carolina mom-of-two was horrified. She started reading labels, overhauled her pantry and shopped at her local farmers’ market. Out went the Go-gurt and Goldfish crackers, in came sustainably raised meat and organic veggies.

Hoping to raise awareness and inspire others, Lisa convinced her husband and their two young daughters to make a pledge. They agreed to swear off all highly processed and refined foods for 100 days. Then, she started a blog and encouraged readers to join them. Her 100 Days of Real Food blog gained a massive following, drawing millions of monthly page views and Facebook fans.

Published last fall, Lisa’s book, 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love, features many of the same deliciously simple recipes and helpful tips that catapulted her to blogger celebrity status. It became a #1 New York Times Best Seller and continues to top the charts. No matter where you are on your food journey, 100 Days of Real Food cookbook offers fresh ideas that are bound to appeal.

If your family currently eats a lot of processed packaged foods and are ready for a change, Lisa’s blueprint for transitioning to a real-food lifestyle is invaluable. From “Shopping for Real Food” to “Making Changes: Don’t Overthink It, Just Start,” Lisa covers everything from decoding nutrition labels to ordering out in restaurants. She also explains how to start a backyard veggie garden and encourage reluctant family members. While well-versed foodies may find some information too basic, the book contains nuggets of wisdom for almost every palate.   

Perhaps the best part of 100 Days of Real Food, however, is the RECIPES. From breakfasts like Eggs Benedict with Kale to dinners including Grilled Teriyaki Salmon, each one is filled with fresh, familiar, easy-to-find ingredients. They not only look and sound delicious, but are relatively simple to prepare. This is one cookbook that we seriously want eat our way through. If you’re strictly vegetarian or gluten free, many recipes can be adapted, though you may be better off with a dedicated cookbook.

As a mother, Lisa understands how challenging it can be to feed a family. Her daughters were just 5 and 3 when they ditched all processed food. While it wasn’t (and still isn’t) always easy, she proves that you can survive without boxed mac ‘n cheese and frozen waffles. From Homemade Chicken Nuggets to Cinnamon Apple Chips, most recipes are very kid friendly. She also provides ideas for school lunch boxes and snacks, along with 12 Tips for Converting Picky Eaters.

100 Days of Real Food is a helpful resource for any family interested in eating a cleaner diet. It isn’t about eliminating entire food groups but simply preparing your own meals and snacks using higher quality, organic, fresh, whole and humanely raised ingredients. It’s a great starting place for those new to real food but equally inspiring for those already striving to eat healthy. 

100 Days of Real Food retails for $29.99. You can purchase a copy at the Zenergy Café, Chapter One Bookstore, and Iconoclast.