Kicking off a Healthy New Year with Lisa Leake
January 26, 2021 over Zoom
Cooking at home, as many of us have done a lot this year, is an opportunity to make healthier choices. And it doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive.
Lisa Leake is a Charlotte wife, mother, foodie, blogger and the New York Times bestselling author of the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook series. She joined us for a conversation about her family’s food journey and her latest book, the 100 Days of Real Food Meal Planner.
Moderator Cristina Wilson, a Library Foundation board member, former partner and president at Charlotte Agenda (now Axios Charlotte) and the founder of Mood House, a massage and meditation house in Dilworth, brought her perspective as a busy working mother committed to wellness.
Leake’s journey started with a book. In 2010 she read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, about the highly processed content of much of what we eat. A lifelong consumer of the “food-like substances” Pollan warns against, the book left her compelled to try a change.
Leake and her family – including children then 3 and 5 – pledged to eat “real food” for one hundred days, just to prove they could. The rules were simple: no refined grains, no refined sweeteners, packaged foods with 5 (real) ingredients or less, locally and humanely raised meat, no deep fried food, no fast foods, and yes – beer and wine were allowed!
The entire family saw almost immediate health benefits, which convinced her to share the experience with others – first through a popular blog, and later her books. “Pollan’s book was a wake-up call for me, but there were no instructions for implementation – or for how to pack my kids’ lunch,” she shared. The 100 Days series provides that. Each book contains an overview of why and how to switch to real food, as well as recipes and an eye toward real life – including meal prep in under 30 minutes and shopping lists under $15.
Eleven years later, the Leake’s are still eating real food “95% of the time,” and Lisa has made a career out of helping others do the same. The most important thing to keep in mind, is that any incremental change you can make helps. “Don’t overthink it,” she advises, “just start.”
To learn more about 100 Days of Real Food, check it out at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library!