Where to Find Real Food Recipes

We don’t generally subscribe to the notion of ‘one-size-fits-all’ diets. Rather, we prefer a more holistic approach. Here, JUGS writer, Julia Blanchard, shares her journey (and some great resources) for rethinking food and wellness.

A Wide Approach

“I follow the advice and philosophy of a leader in Functional Medicine, Chris Kresser. Dr. Kresser suggests we should all embrace the “JERF” or ‘Just Eat Real Food’ approach. The idea is that this approach ensures we are maximizing the nutrients we consume to nourish our bodies without chemicals, hormones or antibiotics.

Essentially, he promotes a lifestyle that focuses on farm-to-table, local sourced ingredients that are non-GMO and organic. With that said, adopting this mentality means a lot of things we should be consuming come from plants rather than animals. The goal is to find balance in the food we consume and ensure we aren’t losing out on much needed nutrients from that are sourced from both types of food (meat + veg). 

Embracing JERF

I have embraced the “JERF” diet so that I can focus on consuming clean foods. It’s important to mention that when I say ‘diet’, I am not referring to any type of calorie restriction but rather specific types of food I seek out such as organic, non-GMO, hormone free, wild caught, etc. As a result, I thought I’d share some of my resources for learning how to incorporate more plant-based vegetarian and/or vegan meals into your daily routine. 

Regardless of whether you have adopted a vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, keto or other dietary philosophy, the options below are great resources for changing your eating plan or simply becoming more adventurous in your kitchen!

Real Food Resources

  • Brandless.com is an online marketplace that sells certified organic, non-GMO products ranging from bath & beauty to kitchen supplies to food. The great thing about brandless is that most products are $3-$9 depending on the size. The platform developed with the mission to help consumers avoid paying “brand tax”. Brand Tax is paid in the form of simply having a well-known brand’s name on the label and therefore you as a consumer pay more for it. 

    They’ve also started a life section that includes recipes leveraging their own products. I have found inspiration here many times and I like that I can choose to purpose their products or find something similar at my local grocery store as my ingredients. 

  • Minimalist Baker is a mainly vegan blog, run by John and Dana, a husband and wife team, offering simple, one-bowl recipes that can be whipped up in under 30 minutes. Vegan cooking and baking doesn’t have to require umpteen ingredients and that is really evident by some of the recipes they share so you don’t have to be intimidated! For anyone is a visual learner, the photography here is spectacular too – and they offer a food photography school, if you’re so inclined.

  • Running on Real Food is another blog written by a Canadian woman named Deryn. She started her blog in 2013 to share more about using real, whole, plant-based food to fuel a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Her recipes cover all meals, snacks, smoothies and even some sweet treats so you are sure to find something that piques your interest! The bonus here is that she also shares some of her exercise routines if you are looking to incorporate more or different fitness effort into your own life. 

  • Forager Project is a company that has recently entered into the non-dairy scene. As someone who has been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, I have been searching for alternatives that offer similar benefits in terms of nutrition without sacrificing the taste. I used to be a Greek Yogurt person for that late morning snack. You know what I am talking about…that stretch between breakfast and lunch that almost no one can survive without additional sustenance! In my hunt to find a substitute, I came across Forager’s Organic Double Cream Cashewgurt. Their blend is made of both cashews and coconut which gives it a creamier texture similar to Greek yogurt. After 1 serving, I knew there was no going back so I went to their website to what other non-dairy goodness they offer. Much to my surprise, similar to Brandless, they have an entire section dedicated to recipes using their products. I have tried things from their dairy-free ranch dressing to the cashew coconut cauliflower curry to coco matcha chia pudding. All of which were easy to make and tasted delicious. Thankfully, Forager products are available at Star Market, Whole Foods and Wegmans so you don’t have to worry about finding what you need!


  • Well + Good is another blog I visit for anything ranging from cooking to workouts to travel ideas or advice. They recently published a cookbook that is a compilation of recipes from celebrities as well as renowned chefs. A lot of these recipes are vegetarian or vegan in nature, but I have even adapted some of them to exclude dairy or animal products.

  • Forks Over Knives in another book I keep in my arsenal because they have over 300 recipes to pick from. After doing some research myself on how to move away from animal proteins in every meal, I was admittedly drawn to this book because of the wordplay in the title. After reading the reviews from other purchasers, I decided to give it a try. Some of my favorites from this author is the Cilantro Pesto, Asian Quinoa salad and the Spicy Thai Sweet Potato Stew! Del Sroufe is the chef/author of this book but he also created a documentary you can watch for more inspiration.

  • Bryant Terry is a chef who has taken some traditionally African ingredients and dishes as inspiration for his cookbook called Afro-Vegan which is a blend of African, Caribbean and southern cuisine. After traveling to the Caribbean to various islands, I was really excited to find some vegetarian dishes that I thoroughly enjoyed during my vacations. I’ll speak more to cultural influence later on, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bryant’s book here because he has recipes that all packed with incredible flavor!

What are your favorite places to look for great whole food recipes and inspiration? Share with us in the comments or on social.

Julia Blanchard is a content contributor for JUGs by night, by day she works at Amazon on some of Alexa’s feature expansion programs. You can follow her @jcblanchard6 on Instagram.