All posts by Melissa


This Week’s Meal Plans – 1/11/16

By | Meal Planning & Organization | No Comments

One simple thing you can do to be sure your family is eating more Real Food is to plan out your meals.

Personally, that means I map out a months’ worth of dinners at a time. For some of you that might sounds overwhelming, but I do that for several reasons:

  1. I buy most of my food through my Food Buyers Club, so by mapping out meals for the next month I know what I need to order
  2. It saves me time and energy. No more frantically trying to figure out what to make at 5pm.
  3. It saves me money. When I plan ahead, there is no not as much impulse-buying at the store.

If you need some help on how to start meal planning, check out my posts on Meal Planning Step 1: Getting Ready to Plan! and Meal Planning Step 2: Make a Calendar


Here is what we are eating for dinners this week at our house:

Monday: Spaghetti with Meatballs, veggies, salad from my Tower Garden
Tuesday: Bean and Sausage soup, homemade breadsticks
Wednesday: Salmon Burgers, salad from my Tower Garden!
Thursday: Veggie Stir-Fry over rice
Friday:  Sloppy Joes, chips, cut up fresh fruits/veggies
Saturday: Homemade Pizza




This Week’s Meal Plan

By | Meal Planning & Organization | No Comments

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’m going to keep things simple and get back to the basics. I am constantly reminded at how few of us REALLY, truly understand the power that food can have on our health and wellness. I want to share that message with others and to make it as simple as possible. That is my New Year’s resolution…along with posting more than 5 blog posts in 2016 (which is apparently how many I posted last year!)

I’m starting out with something very practical – posting my weeks’ meal plan for dinners! This was our meal plan for this LAST week. I will aim to post our meal plan on Sunday or Monday for that week from now on.

Here is what we had this week (FYI – this is a lot more meat than we generally have, however Wednesday night’s request was from my son who turned 6 that day. It is his favorite!)

Monday – Irish Shepherd’s Pie (we used ground beef) *double this if you have big eaters or more than 2 kids

Tuesday – Chicken Curry Casserole

Wednesday – Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday – Tacos w/ Crockpot Refried Beans (freeze the leftover refried beans for next time or a different meal!)

Friday – Leftover Chicken, Rice & Veggie Soup from freezer

Saturday – Homemade Pizza (will share our recipe soon)

Sunday – Eating out (family trip to Chicago for the day!)


Share your favorite dinner recipes below!


A Few of my (current) Favorite Things!

By | Books & Resources | No Comments

Now that the weather is starting to change (at least here in Michigan) and the kids are back in school, I’m happy to have a little more available time for blogging and sharing with all of you!

To get things rolling, I thought I’d start with an “easy” post about 3 of my current favorite things like products, services and stores!  I think word-of-mouth advertising is the best there is. I will aim to do more of that in the upcoming months with specific products, review and maybe some giveaways!

Here are my current favorites, in no particular order:



Thrive Market

This is a great online store that “Offers the world’s best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices. The carry over 2,500 of the highest quality food, supplements, home, personal care, and beauty products from over 400 of the best brands on the market, all delivered straight to your door at 25-50% off retail prices. Our mission is to make health living easy, affordable, and accessible for every American family.”

I love it! I shop with them every 6 weeks or so to stock up on things I can get from my buyers club. I love their Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese, Canned Wild caught salmon, Ketchup, Mustard, Olives and more!

Here are a few things you need to know:

1. You get to “try it out” for 1 month – you receive 15% off off your first order. Your first order starts a FREE 30-day trial. **However, if you become a paying member right away, you get 25% off of your first order.

2. A years’ membership costs about $5 per month ($59.95 a year). With your membership fee, Thrive Market will sponsor a low-income family so they can get good food, too! I love that part!

3. There is FREE shipping on all orders over $49.95.

*To check it out, consider using my referral link – you’ll get 25% off of your order after you pay for your membership and I’ll get a $25 credit. Thanks in advance! 



Juice Plus

You’ve probably seen me post and blog about this. I am truly loving the health benefits of adding more fruits/veggies to our diet. Probably 95% of us don’t eat the recommended 7-13 servings of fruits/veggie each and every day, so this is a great solution to “Bridge the Gap”.

Having a franchise with the company also means that when it comes up in conversation, I share it with others. Never salesy, pushy or anything like that – just good info so they can make a decision whether it makes sense for their family. That was the case with my friend. She began taking this great “powered produce in a capsule” a while back. With her permission, I’m sharing what she wrote me last week:

So I need to share something that I’m kind of excited about. I had my cholesterol checked at a physical a couple years ago and it wasn’t great. It was over 200 and my doc wanted me to try to get it lower. Both my parents and two of my three brothers are on meds for more than likely I’m headed in that direction myself…EXCEPT I AM NOT…you see I had blood work done yesterday to check it again and you know what? My numbers were GREAT! Total cholesterol was 125. Last time my triglycerides were a over 250..VERY HIGH! This time…104! I seriously am a little shocked because I’m not gonna lie, I DON’T eat that great. In fact,the only change I have honestly made is to start taking Juice Plus!”

Isn’t it amazing what adding more Real Food (especially Fruits and Veggies) can do?

If you’d like to learn more about it, I suggest watching the “Bridge the Gap” video on my franchise page. – just scroll down a bit. Please feel free to contact me with any specific questions or to have me mail samples of the gummies for your kids (the best part is that kids get theirs free for 4 yrs with any purchasing adult amount!)

**I am also looking to work with a few people who might like to share this with others. No minimums/quotas/parties <—love that part. Again, if you are interested in seeing if it might be a good fit for you (never any pressure!), please contact me at melissa @



My Food Buyers Club

I officially “LLC’d” my RealFoodEater Buyers Club! I’m excited to slowly expand this to fill the need for convenient, affordable Real Food for local families! If you live in West Michigan and would like more info, please email me at melissa @ . 

Do you have a Food Buyers Club (or Co-op) near you? It’s such a convenient way to “shop” online, placing your order and picking it all up in one place. We get better prices from the sources as we are ordering together as a big group.


What about you? What are some of your current “Favorite Things” (stores, products, etc)??? Please feel free to share in the comments below!





New Fermented Cod Liver Oil Warnings

By | Health & Wellness | One Comment

I’m back from my blog-free summer a little early to be sure you all have heard about the recent Fermented Cod Liver Oil mess.

In the past, I have recommended the Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil based on info from respected “real food” sources and related non-profits. However, I can no longer feel good about recommending it due to SEVERAL reputable persons and websites exposing some concerning and troubling information.

First and foremost, Dr. Kaayla Daniel (aka “The Naughty Nutritionist”)  has a pretty scathing report on some recent findings following her outside analysis of the Green Pastures products. You can read more here: where she also provides a link to download her 100-page report.

Secondly, my friend Kelly over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop wrote a blog post about it today. You can find that here:

Finally, I first came upon the info when I went to to get ready to put our food buyers club order together (we order from them several times a year.) There I found his announcement that they would no longer carry the Green Pastures cod liver oil. He has a summary of Dr Kaayla Daniel’s report, but to sum it up there are concerns that:

  1. The oil was rancid.
  2. The fat-soluble vitamins are not accurately reported.
  3. Vit K and Coenzyme Q10 were low, not anywhere near what was reported.
  4. The EPA/DHA ratio was very “off” of what is reported.
  5.  Evidence that a heated oil has been added to the product.

You can also read his summary here:

Cod liver Oil (non-fermented) has long been a dietary staple of healthy people groups. I can recommend that you take that, where there should be no worry of rancidity. Most are recommending the Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil. Unless you are in my local food buyers club where we get a group/wholesale price, shopping at Perfect Supplements will give you good prices!


I’d love to hear from some of you, my readers. Have you been using Fermented Cod Liver Oil? Have you noticed any benefits? Have you had an problems with it?

I will aim to keep you all posted as more info comes forward!

I should add that this has made me VERY thankful for products that have regular, outside (third party) testing. Knowing what is IN your product is so important. It is also essential that what is ON the label is actually IN the product. That’s one of the reasons I love my “powdered produce in a capsule” (Juice Plus+) and their NSF certification. Learn more about Juice Plus+ and how kids can get theirs free here.


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Tips to Help You Eat More Real, Whole Foods!

By | Gardening & Sustainable Living, Health & Wellness, Kitchen & Real Food How-to's | No Comments

Okay, so this month we are focusing on eating more Real, Whole Food. For some of us, this isn’t TOO difficult on most days. But for others this is uncharted territory and feels really overwhelming.

If you fall into the latter category, even those of us who having been doing this real food thing for a while have been where you are.

It’s so important to have support and to take things slowly. That’s why this challenge of only ONE simple change per month is so important.

That being said, I want to share a few tips that might be helpful as you aim to eat more real foods this month.

1. Read Labels

Do you recognize ALL of the ingredients? Can you pronounce them? If you answer no to either of these questions, it’s probably NOT Real food. Don’t buy it.

Whole foods like fruits/veggies, lean meats, nuts, whole grains, seeds, etc., don’t need ingredient labels (or their labels only have 1 or 2 things listed….)

Related post: How to Eat Real Food: Read Those Labels


2. Clean Out Your Pantry

Throw out (or give away) all the stuff with nasty ingredients or names you can’t pronounce. If you get rid of it and replace with more real food options, there will be no available temptation. You can do this slowly or all at once, depending on your personality. I’m an all-or-nothing sort of person, but do what works for you!


3. Eat more Fruits/Veggies

Shop the produce section. Fill up your cart! Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Incorporate more veggies into your main dishes. You will feel better, your body will be getting great nutrition and antioxidants and it’s a proven fact that eating more fruits/veggies will cause your body to actually crave more of them. (it’s a phenomenon called “metabolic reprogramming”).

Our family does this a few ways – fruits and veggies in a capsule or gummie form (Kids Eat Free, too!) AND through an organic produce delivery in non-summer months. AND by doing the next thing……


4. Grow Your Own

If you have some space, grow a garden! You can plant a LOT or even just a little! Container gardening is handy if you don’t have a lot of space.

Another great option is a Tower Garden. It’s a way to grow your produce right on your back porch/deck or even inside, aeroponically. You can learn more here, including ideas, tips and a great video about how it works. No gardening experience needed!

Disclaimer: The company I work with offers both the fruit/veggie capsules and the Tower Garden.  I make a commission if you purchase one through me. I just like to keep things real. :-)

Remember, any new change takes time! You are creating a new habit and taking “baby steps” will help these changes last. This is why we are only focusing on ONE change per month.

Also remember that no one can eat perfectly all of the time. We follow the 80/20 Rule at our house. Don’t stress but do the best you can and make choices that you know will help you feel better!



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one simple change pic

One Simple Change: More Whole, Real Foods!

By | Health & Wellness, Kitchen & Real Food How-to's | No Comments

Happy May Everyone!

I am hoping you will all join me as we embark on a new focus here around Real Food Eater…

We’re going to do One Simple Change per month. Healthy Living can be so overwhelming, especially if you are new to making changes in your lifestyle. Making slow and steady changes will help ensure more lasting results AND habits!

Each month we will focus on a different area where we can make a simple change (sleep, water, exercise, etc).

For the month of May, we’re going to focus on Eating More Real, Whole Foods.

This means we will all be attempting to eat more food:

– without labels

– fewer ingredients

– not from a box

– not processed

Obviously, doing this 100% of the time may not be possible for everyone. But that’s okay. Even making some basic changes can go far! Focus on grocery shopping for things that are whole foods – fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, whole milk dairy/yogurt/cheese.

Take a look in your pantry. Stop purchasing things that have lots of ingredients, especially if you don’t know what some of the ingredients even ARE! Replace them with healthier versions or something new.

We’re going to be supporting each other on this venture, so if you’d like to join us, you can come and request to be added to our Facebook Page HERE.We will offer encouragement to each other, share ideas and tips. If you come across an article, post or recipe that you would like to share, feel free to do that here or on our Facebook page, too! It will be very interactive!!!

I’ll be posting on topics that fit into our focus each month. The goal is for each of us to take steps towards our mutual goal each month. Some may be starting further along in their goal (maybe you’ve already removed a lot of processed foods, etc), and some may be brand new. Either way, my hope is we can do this TOGETHER!

Invite your friends, your family and those that you care about to join us here on the blog or the Facebook page!

A company whom I partner with has a great video (with one of my favorites, Dr. Sears), sharing about One Simple Change and some ideas for Eating More Real, Whole Foods:

While I’m not going to get “salesy” on here, our family really loves using Juice Plus+ for a lot of the reasons they mention in the video. If you’d like to learn more, visit my Virtual Franchise here. You can contact me through that page if you have questions or need more info.


Please join us! The more the merrier and each month we will focus on a different One Simple Change we can make towards better health!