Our Journey to Better Food
Inside Redhouse: Debbie’s perspective
My family’s autoimmune issues started our journey into paying more attention to what we eat. The more I researched, the more connections I found between food and inflammation.
The importance of what we eat and how it’s grown kept popping up, so I continued studying more about what I was feeding my family.
As I dove into the components of diet and how critical animal fats are for people with autoimmune disease, I also discovered the importance of the quality of those animal fats and protein. I then learned about how much an animal’s diet influences its fat makeup, so pasture-raised and grass-finished animals became important for us.
Some key researchers in my process included Dave Asprey and his journey with Bulletproof, Allan Nation and the Savory Institute — he’s more focused on the proper ways to raise animals and be regenerative — and Dr. Steven Gundry, a former cardiac surgeon who goes against the typical American Heart Association diet. Dr. Gundry talks a lot about the importance of red meat, the ways we’ve done ourselves a disservice by leaving it and how the type of red meats and other animal proteins matter. I was also looking at some broader research.
It takes time to begin to find good sources. That was a big journey for me. More and more people in the agriculture community are becoming aware of what’s needed and providing it, especially in California, but sourcing quality ingredients was still a challenge.
I also had to adjust my cooking style. I’m a good cook and my family enjoys my meals, but I’m definitely not from the culinary world, so I started with meals my family liked. I kind of just hacked my way through recipes. For instance, we love Mexican food, so I began to make some ingredient changes.
I started to use cauliflower rice. It’s not the same as Mexican rice, but I learned tricks like cooking it in the cast iron skillet, making sure it’s dried down a little so it’s not so soft and adding my Mexican spices with a little bit of ghee. It started to pick up the texture and flavor we wanted in rice. My family also loves mashed potatoes. Kids can tell cauliflower mashed potatoes are different, but when we started whipping them in the KitchenAid with raw cream and butter or melting raw cheese in, they were much better.
We spent six or eight months making these changes. As I got more and more comfortable and continued researching, I started eliminating more things like vegetable oils and learned how to source grass-fed ghee and how to cook with it or coconut oil. I figured out what ingredients worked best for us, and then I played with recipes and got creative.
I don’t think about it as much now because it’s become normal for us. I’ve learned that eliminating processed foods doesn’t have to be boring or bland, and I definitely think it’s made me a better cook.
Photography: Jonah + Lindsay