On September 22, 2016 by Kelly

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

This week our blog partner Jo-Lynne Shane shares with us her journey from store-bought to homemade bread and cereal, along with her favorite recipes and resources.

I’m so excited to be participating in the Get Real Challenge! A few years ago, I started transitioning our family to more of a whole foods lifestyle, and I want to tell you how we ditched the store-bought bread and cereal in favor of more nourishing options like homemade bread and cereal.

My history with food

I grew up with a mother who was health-conscious. She was a crunchy mama before it was cool. She sprouted alfalfa and made yogurt and granola and homemade bread. I learned to love wholesome food at a young age. But as we got older and my mom went to work, we got away from our super healthy eating habits, and when I went away to college I developed some really BAD eating habits — like living on cafeteria pizza and coke. I KNOW.

For years, I was addicted to sugar and carbs, and I practiced the binge-and-starve approach to weight management. I was not healthy. It all came to a head after my third pregnancy. My body pretty much fell apart.

Making the switch to real food

After several years of doctor visits and no real diagnosis, I discovered Michael Pollan and Nina Planck and eventually Joel Salatin. And blogs like Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Cheeseslave. I read everything I could get my hands on, and it didn’t take much to convince me that we needed to get the junk out of my house and switch to a more natural, wholesome way of eating.

My husband read some of the same information, and he was on board too. It made sense to get back to simple, whole foods. Never one to do things halfway, I immediately began purging our kitchen and replacing the processed foods and industrial meats and dairy with fresh, whole foods. I got online and found local sources for produce, meat, and dairy.

Homemade Bread and Cereal

Finding my go-to bread recipe

One of the more significant changes we made straight away was to ditch the store-bought bread. Our family eats a lot of bread. I was shocked to see how many ingredients were in a loaf of store-bought bread, and many brands contain high fructose corn syrup. I pack sandwiches for lunch every day for my husband and three children, and I wanted to give them something more nourishing.

As I mentioned above, my mom used to make homemade bread, and I know how delicious it is. I started experimenting with recipes to find the perfect sandwich bread that my family could use for their daily sandwiches. It was a fun experiment! My family was in heaven feasting on fresh loaves of homemade bread almost every day.

I finally settled on my Homemade Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (freezer version – Login required). If you’re looking to make changes in your household and you eat a lot of bread, I highly recommend learning to make your own. It’s an easy change to make because who doesn’t like homemade bread?

Thoughts and tips on Homemade Bread

While my family was lamenting the loss of their favorite processed food snacks, they were delighted with their new bread. It helped ease the transition. Making bread is really not scary at all! I like to use my Kitchen Aid mixer, but you can do it by hand, or if you have a bread maker, it’s even easier. If you’ve never made bread, it may take some trial and error, but like I said, it’s a fun process!

If you’re really scared to try it, find a friend who makes bread and ask her to come over and show you how to make it. You can also watch my Honey Whole Wheat Bread video on YouTube, but just note it hasn’t been updated for quite some time. I don’t use that recipe anymore. Still, the basic process is the same.

The other issue with making bread (and cereal, for that matter) is whether or not to soak the grains. If you can grind your own grains and soak them, they will be kinder to your digestive system. I wrote a post about that, actually!

I have to fess up and tell you that I skip this step. I’m not much of a planner, and I tend to procrastinate until we are desperate for fresh bread or cereal, so I don’t want to wait overnight for the grains to soak. But I do recommend it, especially if grains bother you. Personally, I eat gluten-free. The bread is for my husband and kids, and they don’t seem to have a problem with it so, for now, I’m giving myself a free pass on the soaking.

Homemade Cereal

The other big change we made right away was to ditch the store-bought cereal. This was not hard for me (I’ve never liked boxed breakfast cereal since they all taste the same – like chemicals. YUCK.)

Read My Beef With Breakfast Cereals to find out why breakfast cereal is not good for you. Plus the way they are marketed absolutely makes me see red. They are purported to be so healthy when in fact you’re probably better off eating the cardboard box they’re packaged in. They are completely denatured and so highly processed, even the supposed vitamins and minerals they contain are synthetic and worthless. Blech.

Jo-Lynne’s go-to breakfast recipes

Closing thoughts on making time for homemade grains

I think the biggest challenge in terms of making the switch to healthier grains is finding the time to make them. Most people prefer the taste and texture of homemade bread to store-bought, and homemade granola and pancakes can be delicious. But making your own on a regular basis is a time commitment. I won’t lie to you. I fully admit that two-and-a-half years into our real food conversion, I am struggling to keep on keeping on.

It can get old, making the same things week after week. But like everything else that’s important to you – you simply have to make it a priority. Schedule it into your week. I often make our bread and granola on Sunday afternoons because it’s a lazy day in our house, and we are usually at home all day (after church).

I don’t work on the computer on Sundays, so it’s a good day to do some baking. And with bread, there is a lot of downtime, so I can relax and read while it’s rising. (Or, you know, make some granola.) I can definitely say that my kids have adjusted and now get grumpy if I don’t have any homemade bread in the house. They’ve grown to appreciate and even expect healthier grains.

Get Real Blog Partner Bread Recipes:

This is NOT a conclusive list from our blog partners but a sampling of what they do and what works for them. We hope that you find one that you feel will work for you!

February Week 2 Action Item:

Each week we will try to give you some simple action steps to put this journey into practice. It is important that you start this journey by understanding yourself, your goals and perhaps your obstacles.
  1. Yeast Bread – Challenge yourself to make at least 1 loaf of bread. Even if you use store bought all white flour, MAKE THE BREAD! 🙂 I know it can be scary, but we KNOW you can do it. Those of you that have been making bread, perhaps try a new bread recipe.
  2. Breakfast – Try at least one healthier breakfast option out this week.

February Get Real:

Please take a moment to thank our guest authors and sponsors by clicking over to their sites and/or liking them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Sponsor: Bread BeckersOne pledged Get Real participant will be winning a grain mill OR a mixer, winners choice! ***This giveaway is now closed.***
Guest Author: Jo-Lynne Shane