Andrea, of the blog For the Love of and Instagram account, Gwyneth Made Me Do It that has mouths watering for healthy home cooked meals is supermom to 3 and has become super savvy shopper/chef sourcing all her groceries from locally delivered produce and farmer’s markets! Talk about a role model! And just as Gwyneth (as in Paltrow – the cookbook that started it all here) inspired her to cook and eat this way, Andrea is forcing us (in a very good way!) to make the switch too!
Your Instagram account @gwynethmademedoit is one of our all time faves! What’s behind the name?
On a whim I borrowed Gwyneth’s cookbook It’s All Good from the library a year ago. I didn’t expect to like it, and in fact I didn’t want to like it, but a few pages in and I was hooked. The photos were lovely and the recipes looked and sounded amazing; my favorite kind of food I love to order at restaurants, but that I didn’t know how to cook for myself. So I started going through the book, cooking one new recipe at a time, and I was having so much fun I decided to start an account to document my journey. At first, it was very tongue in cheek, as I was skeptical of Gwyneth’s ways, but eventually I became hooked and am now fully immersed in and dedicated to eating and cooking this way.
What we love about your posts on Gwyneth Made Me Do It and For the Love is that you have tips and recipes for healthy eating but not necessarily cutting everything out of your diet. What made you stray from the gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, etc type of lifestyles?
I am a skeptic by nature, and so I have a hard time buying into certain eating and diet fads. I know that eliminating certain food groups for some people improve their health dramatically, which is wonderful. But for me, who doesn’t have any food allergies or sensitivities per se, I didn’t want to toy with following a strict way of eating, because I didn’t have the faith I would be able to follow through with it. Changing slowly and by bits and pieces over the past year has been the best thing I could do personally, as it never felt like a chore or a “diet”. By experimenting and trial and error, I have found that my body feels best when I limit dairy, especially cheese, and to save money so that I could buy better meat products, we intentionally eat a lot more vegetarian meals each week. I’ve now grown to love this way of eating; just focusing on eating real, whole foods over following diets or labels.
You’re a big proponent for supporting local farmers. What exactly does that mean?
Preferably it means sourcing your food from local farms, where you have the opportunity to ask questions about their farming and handling practices, maybe even visit the farm. You can “know your farmer” and support those whose farming practices align with the values you want to support. This doesn’t necessarily mean the farm has to be “organic” or marked with some “green” seal of approval, but just being able to ask questions, ascertain some level of transparency, make that connection between the farmer and us, the consumer. It’s pretty empowering to know where your food is coming from. Sourcing local has a remarkably positive impact on the local economy as well, since the money goes straight to the grower and you can cut out the middle man, the grocer. And of course eating and buying local is good for the earth too, since it reduces our carbon footprint. The average distance our food travels is 1500 miles, mostly by air and truck, which burns a lot of fuel. By buying locally, you conserve the energy that’s used for transport.
The idea of shopping locally can feel a little overwhelming to a lot of people. What are some easy ways to implement this change?
The easiest thing to do is visit a farmer’s market. There are over 8000 registered farmer’s markets across the country, with even more, smaller markets not registered. Search your local city for information, or visit the USDA’s directory (http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/). Many large chain grocery stores are starting to stock a section of locally grown produce as well. If you feel like you’re able to bite off a little more, search for local CSA programs in your area, which stand for Community Supported Agriculture, and focuses on delivering local produce and other food items to the participating community. Never underestimate the impact even the smallest of changes can make.
Is it possible to shop locally if you live in a city like Los Angeles? How?
It’s actually much easier to shop locally in larger metropolitan areas because the demand is higher, and the supply is in greater abundance. It’s actually much harder to shop locally in urban areas and some far off rural areas because of food deserts, where residents don’t have easily attainable access to fresh foods.
What do you look for when grocery shopping? What do you stay away from?
I mainly try to focus on buying real, whole foods which require no label. Starting with produce, then adding in grains, and organic, antibiotic-free humanely raised animal products. When I buy packaged, processed foods of any kind, I always read the labels and try to stick with foods that have 5 or less ingredients. If they contain more ingredients, I check to see if they are recognizable, overly processed or artificial? Big things I stay away from are MSG, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup and added artificial sugars. I don’t ever buy foods claiming to be “health” or “diet” foods because that usually just adds up to a lot of artificial ingredients. Basically, I go by the Michael Pollan principle of “eat food, not a lot, mostly plants.”
What keeps you motivated to stay on track and live a healthier, cleaner lifestyle?
I feel good, I have a decent amount of energy considering I’m in my late thirties and chasing around 3 young kids, and above all else, I know I’m feeding myself and my family the best I possibly can. Honestly, once I started really learning and understanding how and what they make so much of the processed and fast food from, I sort of lost my appetite for it. My only true craving I still have, which I indulge in every now and then, is In N Out!
Best advice I’ve ever received: Sleep solves everything. It really does. I’m an emotional, unproductive wreck on too little sleep.
Favorite vice: Drinking good wine and my daily cup of coffee.
I can’t live without: Of course my family, but if we’re talking a material object, probably my iPhone, although I desperately want to cure myself of that addiction. Maybe that will be the next project I tackle!
My favorite meal to cook: Lasagna. Not the healthiest of options, but when made with fresh pasta sheets, homemade sauce and really great mozzarella cheese, there’s nothing better!
My Hero is: I look up to a lot of people, including my mom and dad and of course God, but I’ve never really felt like I have a hero. Is that a sad answer ha?!
Photography by Inspired by This + Claire Paice