Behind The Butter

ELR Food Philosophy…Again

Since it’s become a recent topic of discussion, I thought I’d readdress my food philosophy today. A bunch of people have commented on how I eat “whatever I want” (baked goods at all hours of the day and wine guzzled all night), and still remain thin. How can my blog possibly be a “healthy living blog” when I bake cookies with butter?! The horror!!!!

Now, what I’m about to say is my opinion and my opinion alone. You may certainly choose to disagree with me and many people probably do. That’s okay. That’s the beauty of blogging…we can have these discussions!
So here’s what I think. I think that my blog is a healthy living blog BECAUSE I bake cookies with butter in them.
Yep, you heard me. I went to culinary school for a year and a half learning how to bake traditional French pastries using butter, oil and lots of sugar. I learned to bake like my grandma, and her grandma too. Back in the day, margarine and Splenda simply did not exist. You know what did exist? Butter. Crisco. White flour. Cream. Milk. Sugar. Were Americans back then overweight? For the most part, no. They ate small portions of the real thing, plowed their fields and called it a day. I choose to cook with simple ingredients that celebrate how food should really taste. It works for me. And guess what else? When you use real ingredients you end up eating less. Sometimes a little bit is enough to satisfy and you don’t need to eat an entire carton of fat free frozen yogurt to feel full.

Of course when I bake a batch of cookies using fourteen tablespoons of butter I don’t sit at my kitchen table and polish each one off individually. I have enough self control to eat ONE cookie and give the rest away. I love to cook for other people and nothing makes me happier than seeing someone enjoy a dish that I prepared with love.
So let’s get this straight: ONE cookie will not make you gain weight. TEN cookies might. This goes back to my mantra from the past three years of “everything in moderation”. I fully believe you can eat anything you want in moderation and never in your life have a weight problem. If I have a ham and cheese croissant for breakfast, I’ll balance it out by having a light salad for lunch. It’s not rocket science, people.

Also, you have to stay active. I exercise at least five times a week doing a mix of power yoga, hiking, running and weight training. I don’t have a typical nine to five office job and balance my writing time with breaks where I run around. I don’t spend hours at the gym. I don’t run marathons. Once, I rode my bike one hundred miles but I can pretty much promise you that will never happen again (read: never ever ever). When I exercise, I like to do things that I love like spend time outdoors or working on a challenging new yoga posture. If I start to feel heavier, or if my jeans start getting snug, I’ll just up my exercise for a few weeks and drink less vino.

So, here are some of my favorite meals…all balanced out.










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  • Jess @ The Stuffed Horse
    August 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, Jenna. Keep doing what you’re doing and making (or eating) those amazing meals! We’re a nation so obsessed with ingredients that we’re not thinking about the food as a whole anymore. High fives to you (and plenty of butter)!

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    August 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Yes! Yes yes yes! I completely 100% agree with you and love that this is a healthy living blog because you eat the real thing. You seem to have such a healthy relationship with food and I applaud you for it. Not to plug myself here, but I wrote something similar on my blog two months ago. I really really agree with you.

  • kelly
    August 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Amen! Don’t change a thing Jenna!

  • Adrienne
    August 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Yay I agree wholeheartedly with this post!!
    I am bugged by collegues and friends all the time about my thin, muscular body while maintaining decent pastry, cheese, and wine habits!
    They say things like “she must not eat for the rest of the day then” or “she works out 2 hours a day”..etc. etc..none of which is true.
    The trick to a healthy body and a sane mind is to eat whatever you want, whenever you want it…because when you realize you can have this, you don’t want the bad things as much!
    Also, be a food snob! I never eat any pre-packaged or diet crap…only the best passes these lips πŸ™‚
    And move your body every day…doesn’t have to be 2 hours in a gym…walk, jog around the block, do push-ups during commercials, clean the house, whatever..everyone has the time. Just find something you enjoy…whew that was a good rant.
    LOVE your blog, I read it every day with my am java πŸ™‚

    • theemptynutjar
      August 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      I agree with just a simple walk even. I go to no gym and I don’t run or anything. Walking and things are under-rated…just being at peace and still eating up!

  • Jaya
    August 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    It is so wild to me that we never ask people to defend their social justice views or their sense of responsibility, but somehow, people feel justified in grilling (pardon the pun) others based on moral models of food. Just eat, live and run (bike, swim, hike, etc) like you always have and keep embracing the good stuff! I’m of similar mind and you know, the funny thing is that (I really believe) the more no-holds-barred I get with my food, the better I eat and look. Le (la) paradox(xe) canadien(ne), par chance?

    • Adrienne
      August 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

      Yay Canadians rule! (i’m one too)…I was recently in Montreal for a week…walked around a TON while sampling many cheeses, bottles of wine, and chocolates…came back to Toronto a pound LIGHTER…go figure.

      • Sharon
        August 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

        Had to comment because I have found whenever my SO and I travel to France, we both return home 6-10 lbs lighter in spite of eating cheese, wine, quiche, croissant, bread….etc etc.
        I put it down to the fact that we aren’t sitting at our desks at work behind our computers all day-we are on our feet sightseeing/walking 8-10 hrs a day instead. Plus there’s no mindless snacking like we are apt to do at home…

  • Sharon
    August 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I baked those 14 tbsp of butter cookies myself last night…ate one last night and gifted the rest away today (save for one more I decided to have for breakfast….lol). I agree the best way to maintain a healthy diet is to do everything in moderation. Americans have such an all or nothing mentality when it comes to food…that’s probably the main reason for our weight problems, aside from inactivity of course. I’m sure as far as your personal weight goes, it doesn’t hurt being 25 years old too!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    August 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Tell it, girl.

    A couple weeks ago, AOL did a story about my 200-lb weight loss and there were people commenting on there how fat I still look. I lost 200 pounds and people wanted to talk about how I still wasn’t a rail.

    People will hate. Let em. They only talk because you’re interesting.

    • R @ Learning As I Chop
      August 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      I can’t believe people said that to you! I think you look amazing

      • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
        August 11, 2010 at 1:07 pm

        This is the actual “evil” comment:

        She’s still a pig. Keep starving yourself, honey, and maybe one day you’ll look like an actual human being.

        For anyone to have 200 pounds to lose is pretty disgusting in itself. And, those former fatties are usually emotional basket cases…
        Oink, Oink.

        –At first I laughed, then I almost cried, then I said, SCREW You. You think I’m a pig? Fine. Big fat deal!

        • theemptynutjar
          August 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

          People like that are not worth your time to worry about. You seem like a great person….there are so many people in the world that can try to crush us with hurtful comments…but we can’t let them!

        • R @ Learning As I Chop
          August 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

          They’re obviously the ones with the problem. Good for you for ignoring them!

        • Heather
          August 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

          Wow. The ability of people to be rude will never cease to amaze me!!!! Jasmine, I have lost over 100 pounds myself & just have to give you MUCH credit for sticking with it & not letting a complete tool like that get to you. Can we say insecurity?? lol

          I just glanced at your blog & you look fabulous! Congrats for taking control over your life!

          And Jenna, girl puhlease….keep baking, cooking & drinking REAL food! No skinny girl margaritas or splenda goodies for this girl either! I prefer real food & in fact just grabbed butter & chocolate chips at the store today to make your fabulous cookies!!!!

          I’ll toast you all with my REAL coke tonight!

        • TC
          August 12, 2010 at 8:09 am

          Wow, that’s such a horrible thing for someone to say! You look amazing and are obviously a strong woman. Keep it up!

    • Suzanne de Cornelia
      August 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      You look terrific! Congratulations on your achievement. Always a few nasties in an otherwise nice pack. Like you said, ignore them, and live your best life. Very impressive achievement!

  • Meghan
    August 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    LOVE IT.

  • colleen
    August 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Way to go Jenna! Who wants to eat rabbit food all the time? Moderation, balanced meals, and some sort of excerise is the only healthy way to live.

  • lauren (athlEAT)
    August 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    This is exactly why I continue to read your blog day in and day out. completely agree with your food philosophy.

  • chelsea
    August 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I completely agree with your food philosophy. Moderation is key with everything that we do in life! Just because you indulge one day, doesn’t mean that it is going to make you gain weight! We also don’t have to spend hours at the gym everyday. Even though it is so cliche to say, life is way too short to not enjoy food. I have a little something sweet everyday, because I moderate the other things I eat. Thank you for this post. I think woman need to change their perspective about food and eating in general, to have this kind of attitude πŸ˜€

  • Gillian
    August 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    All I have to say is AMEN sista!!

  • Nicole
    August 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I completely agree Jenna and you should never have to defend your food choices to anyone. Moderation IS key, restricted diets are not successful or ideal. I love that your blog is real; I don’t read a lot of the other ‘healthy eating’ blogs because they are too unrealistic and some seem to be bordering on an eating disorder. People need to get off their high horses. Your blog is great, keep up the good work!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    August 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I am so glad you posted this. It’s why I <3 you!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing!
    August 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing your ides about healthy eating. You are very inspiring and although I can’t eat many of the foods that you write about because of allergies, I admire you for living the “everything in moderation” lifestyle. Cheers to a healthy, well-balanced life! πŸ™‚

  • Erin
    August 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Love this – very healthy perspective on food. Really liked the recipes lately and good writing too!

  • Scargosun
    August 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Yay! Real food rocks! I don’t get why people are this way either. I get it sometimes too from people but they think it’s perfectly acceptable to eat stuff filled with questionable chemicals b/c it’s low fat or no sugar. That is healthy?

  • Liza @ Health Nutting
    August 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I love this post, Jenna. Thank you for posting it, I think I certainly needed to hear it and I’m sure others did too! πŸ™‚

  • Natasha
    August 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I totally agree with you Jenna. I’m fighting my battle of the bulge right now and for years ate everything light, low fat, fat free, artifical this and that and it got me no where. Now I’m seeing a naturopathic Dr/nutritionist and it’s all about real food in it’s natural form and small “proper” portions. And excercise of course. I believe your philosophy is the correct one and I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and think you are the perfect example of indulging in moderation, healthy eating, and excercise. You splurge a little here and there, balance it with healthy meals, and excercise. We should all be taking your cue.

  • melissa
    August 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    amazing post jenna, I have really loved your blog lately!

  • Heather
    August 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Sing it sister! Love this post and your philosophy!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    August 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    AMEN. That is all πŸ™‚

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    August 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    If only I could convince my dad to read this. Cookies are wonderful marvelous things and my life would be empty without them and real pasta! But incoporating that with lots of veggie and fruit make it a BALANCE! I want to enjoy food not be at war with it. Food is meant to be enjoyed not feared!

    Congrats Jenna on being you and enjoying it!

  • Jen @ Jen is Green
    August 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I really loved this post!! I love that you are REAL and eat real food and bake with real ingredients…its what I love about your blog! πŸ™‚

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    August 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Amen Jenna! it really is about balance and self-control. you are a rockstar πŸ™‚

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    August 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Ooh, I loved this post!! This is exactly how I eat. And I think everyone should follow our good example! lol Eating is one of the few pleasures in life so why deny yourself a real cooke in the pursuit of so-called health? Health is all about balance. And that balance includes things like cookies. I personally think that it is unhealthy when people overly avoid certain foods (unless there is a medical reason, of course).

  • Sara @
    August 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I completely agree with your food philosophy – thanks for addressing it again πŸ™‚ I think enjoying desserts every day (in reasonable portions) is much healthier (mentally and emotionally) than avoiding them.

  • Hallie
    August 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I loved this. I have not read any of your posts and thought “oh wow how can she eat like that” because I thought it was obvious you balance your cookies and wine with salads and hiking. I guess not everyone reads every post though, haha. Just last night, I had some fro yo and I was telling my fiancΓ© I could eat 5 more bowls of that stuff (I didn’t), but with more “real” desserts, I need so much less to feel happy. Now, that’s not a theory I’m quite ready to test yet, but I hope I’ll get there someday

  • Jenna (Hello, I Love You)
    August 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Your blog rocks and so do you. It is all about balance, truly. πŸ™‚

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy
    August 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Et voilΓ !

    100 calories pack of stuff won’t satisfy you as much as a wholesome cookie!

    I wish I was raised with that exact mentality!

  • Jessica
    August 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Jenna – this is fabulous! You rock : )

  • Jen
    August 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Rock on, girl. Don’t let anyone try to pigeon hole you or make you feel bad because you’re realistic. Cheers!

  • Tamara
    August 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Jenna- girl. You rock. Everyone else who chooses to be negative about your lifestyle, stick a sock in it and don’t read.

  • kate.d
    August 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    HA! What’s wrong with butter? Eating fat does not make you fat. Only correlative studies with cherry-picked data have “proven” this. I eat 4-5 tbs a day and I’m a size 1 πŸ™‚

  • Marg
    August 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for expressing this, moderation is key! If I deprive myself, it’s gonna be bad!

  • Stephanie
    August 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Just one of the many reasons I love you! Now if only I could scrounge up something as deliscious looking as the above pics!!

  • Tracy
    August 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Your food philosophy is fantastic and it is what I live by as well. Self control, balance and happiness. I think people are missing out when they are depriving themselves of REAL food.

  • Beth @ Will Run for Books
    August 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    OMG food porn!!! I think those pics might be NSFW…

    but I agree with you 100%. A cookie will not kill you.

  • Chicago Cuisine Critique
    August 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    This is great! I totally agree with you! πŸ™‚ What I say is if people don’t like what you have to say, then they don’t HAVE to read it.

  • Callina
    August 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I totally agree with and admire your food philosophy…I love that you indulge in real food and have the self-control to know when enough’s enough. That’s my problem: knowing when enough is enough. Honestly, I tend to scroll through your recipes of decadent food in favor of the ones that are a little on the lighter side. My problem is that I over-indulge too frequently. So personally, I used to look at your blog for inspiration and ideas for things I can eat that are lower fat, less caloric, and more wholesome–because that’s the content I personally was looking for. Because trust me, I already have enough inspiration for indulgences like cookies and biscuits. πŸ˜€ I still read your blog because I think you’re awesome, and you serve as a good role model for me to aspire to. It’s good to have a reminder that there are people who CAN eat what they love without overdoing it. I wish I could!

    • Kaley
      August 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm

      Me too. πŸ™

  • Cat
    August 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Surely anyone reading more than a few posts on your blog would pick up on the fact that you don’t just scarf down trays of biscuits all day long. Haters gonna hate, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it except keep on living the good life you’re living.

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic
    August 11, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Amen to your eating philosophy! It is exactly why I love reading your blog.

  • Carter
    August 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I love this post. I have 2 kids, and I want to cook real food for them so that they learn to enjoy it in a healthful way. A healthy love of food is a good thing! Other food bloggers tend to make me feel bad about my choices, but you always put a smile on my face.

  • Natalie (The Sweets Life)
    August 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    …and this is why you’re one of the best bloggers out there. You don’t need to make “fake” hot dogs with ridiculous subs for the hot dog, or experiment in your baking with all this crazy stuff. Nor do you wake up early to go on a super long run only to finish the day off with more strenuous exercise. You are so right on. THANK YOU!

    • Jen
      August 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      Ditto what Natalie said! I LOVE that you are a foodie and not crazy about weird “healthy” food that 99% of your readers are never going to make. Thank you so much for this post. I think every now and then the healthy living blog world needs a heavy dose of reality!

      • emily
        August 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm

        Do you think that some sort of tv crew is preparing the meals for those bloggers? What they eat/show IS their reality. Maybe their meals are not realistic for everyone, but I’ve yet to see a blog with the tagline “this is what works for me and will also work for 100% of the population.”

    • alana
      August 11, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      just because you dont do it doesnt mean its wrong. believe it or not, that works for other people. this comments reeks of insecurity. if you’re that content with your own choice, you wouldnt feel the need to put others down. i think thats a pretty standard elementary school lesson. why the negativity?

    • shayna
      August 11, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      Yes, I get what you are saying! While so many other healthy living bloggers talk about “eating real food” and “everything in moderation”, it is nice to find a blogger like Jenna who actually follows through with these ideas. Bloggers I have removed from my blog roll have replaced a hot dog with a carrot or banana and have woken up in the morning to run 15 miles only to take an exercise class that evening! In my opinion, these lifestyles do not exemplify the real food and everything in moderation mantras.
      I understand the whole “if you don’t like it, don’t read it philosophy,” however, I find it disheartening when bloggers blindly pretend that they are living a real food, everything in moderation lifestyle.
      Kudos to you Jenna for practicing what you preach! After a year of healthy living blog reading, you are the one I continue to read.

      • emily
        August 12, 2010 at 5:00 am

        What is with the hot dog protection?! I hardly think using a hot dog bun to house something other than meat is indicative of disordered eating. I, for example, don’t eat pork/beef; but I think the general idea of hot dogs can be fun, so the carrot/banana dog posts bloggers have done were great ideas for me.

      • Jade
        August 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

        hahah i know exactly who you mean

  • Sarah
    August 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Amen. And amen.

  • A
    August 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I totally agree with this philosophy. Recently, lets just say I haven’t had the most positive outlook on life and have been worrying about stuff I just shouldn’t be worrying about.

    Then, I went to a Michael Franti concert and something clicked. Michael Franti is probably the most positive and alive person I’ve ever been around. He has such a youthful spirit and you can tell when you go to his concert, he loves life. After 2 and a half hours of dancing to his amazing music, I felt like a new person and am sooo much happier now.

    My point is, a healthy and nourishing lifestyle is really important, but so is not obsessing and worrying about everything in life. Sometimes you just have to go to concerts, dance your ass off, cook food with real butter, and seize the day πŸ™‚

    If you don’t believe me, watch this music video of Michael Franti on Ellen and dance along to it — I swear it will brighten up your day! πŸ˜€

  • Ellen @ Undercover Runner Eats
    August 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Butter and fat are not the enemy. It took me a really long time to learn that and at times it does still make me uneasy to see the word “alfredo” or grease spots on the cooling rack after I’ve made a batch of cookies, but over the past few months I’ve learned that not all fat is created equal.

    I eat chocolate and peanut butter almost every day now, and I’m at my lowest weight since I was in middle school (I was kind of a chubby child, but grew into a lanky adult) due to exercise and a shift toward eating more whole foods and eating smaller meals more often throughout the day.

    I used to be in love with “diet foods”, such as 100-calorie packs and fat-free ice-cream. Now, I can barely stand eating those chemically-dominated foods and consuming artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, in quantities larger than a tablespoon actually makes me ill. For the first time in a long time I’m allowing myself to grab for the regular “full fat” ice-creams that have a better selection of flavors the majority of the time and I don’t completely freak out when I have to eat out because I know that there are things I can do to make the meal healthier, or to at least know that eating out is a luxury, not a norm. Luxuries sometimes cost you for the next few days, but my body will return to the weight that it is happiest at in due time as long as I go back to my normal eating and exercise routine.

  • Eleonora
    August 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I follow a bunch of “healthy living blogs” and, as an Italian (born, raised and still living in Italy), I must confess I find pretty shocking the (ab)use of RF-anything, low carb food and protein powders…Here it’s pasta, cheese, butter, whole milk, salami and cured meats of all sorts, and when you go out for a pizza, the standard portion is one whole pizza each. So, as you are free to do as you like, please go on with your real food posts!

  • Jessica
    August 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm


  • Kristin
    August 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Love your blog because it is balanced, which is ultimately what healthy living is! Keep up the good life, girl!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    August 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Jenna, I loved this. It took me a long time to realize just what “everything in moderation” WAS and I am happy to practice that approach myself. Food is meant to be savored, to be enjoyed, and BALANCED. Life’s too short to eat bread without butter.


  • Mindy @ just a one girl revolution.
    August 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Great post. I definitely agree that moderation is so key. I spent several years on Weight Watchers eating 100 cal packs, fat free versions of whatever, etc. but I’m definitely transitioning my mindset that it’s far better to eat the real thing. Fat free foods may be fat free, but you can guarantee they have a lot of other highly unnatural junk!

    • Kim
      August 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm

      I had tried WW too and I stopped WW because I was tired of hearing about all the 100 cal packs and 0-1 point desserts filled with artificial sweeteners. I wanted to eat real food!

      The moment it clicked and I KNEW WW wasn’t for me was during a meeting we were talking about favorite foods and a lady mentioned how she had hot chocolate every morning, every one ooh’d and aah’d and had to know what she was drinking. She said “Swiss Miss Diet Hot Chocolate, its zero points!” then a few people asked “is it good?” the lady said “oh no not at all, but its hot chocolate and zero points” I could not and still can not comprehend this at all. I would much rather have a cup of real hot cocoa with real milk and real chocolate, heck even 1/3 a cup then a box full of that stuff (Hydrogenated coconut oil, artificial flavor, acesulfame pottasium and sucralouse) yuck!

      Jenna, I am so glad that you use butter, real whipping cream, sugar, olive oil and all the other real food ingredients that we can pronounce and know where they come from. Thank you!

      • Kim
        August 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm

        I just wanted to add, that I am not bashing WW, it does work for some people, my Mom lost 40 lbs with them. She doesn’t eat that type of food anymore and has found a healthy balance. It just wasn’t for me.

  • Krystina
    August 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I agree 100%. I used to make it a point to ONLY eat whole wheat everything because the mere thought of eating “white” food seemed so unhealthy. The truth is people have been eating “white” foods for years and years. Yes, I replace white with whole grains most of the time, but sometimes there aint nothin’ better than white pasta, white bread or a regular old potato.

  • Anne
    August 11, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Love your food philosophy. don’t ever change it. πŸ™‚

  • meghan
    August 11, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    LOVE this!!! I 100% agree with you.

  • MaryZ
    August 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Love this! So very true…my grandparents were farmers and you never found anything that wasn’t real food in there kitchen. Butter, cream, whole eggs, bacon, lard…you name it grandma cooked and baked with it. Such yummy food!

  • allison @ livingoneday
    August 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    what a wonderful food philosophy. you are exactly right – it is NOT rocket science. good for you!

  • Christie {Honoring Health}
    August 11, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Here, here Jenna.

    Though I’m not really fond of the term self control, especially with people who have disordered eating or eating disorders. But, I would venture to say that you don’t use food to cope with your emotions and that you live your life instead of stuffing it down with food. And when you eat the cookies, you actually enjoy them instead of eat them and realize the plate is gone and that you didn’t taste one of them.

    You really can eat whatever you want when you use food for it’s intended purpose – nourishment with a side of pleasure.

    Or maybe pleasure with a side of nourishment πŸ˜€

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete
    August 11, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    What the hell! What about moderation? When are people going to figure out that you don’t have to eat “clean” all the time to be happy and in shape? I completely agree with you and your eating habits!

    People always ask me and my husband what we eat b/c we are in such good shape, and they are shocked to hear that my husband eat REAL butter and bacon. Crazy concept. Or ice cream when we want. We just don’t go overboard and we are very active. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods though and you don’t seem to either. We eat bread (well, GF for me), and pasta!

    Thank you for addressing this and dispelling the rumor that you have to eat like an O.C. freak to stay thin and healthy!

    • Katy(The Balanced Foodie)
      August 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm

      Nicole said it best! I totally agree. It’s moderation! People think you have to eat little portions of lettuce to stay healthy or thin. It’s so restrictive. It’s hard to see some blogs where they eat small portions of very low calorie meals and work-out a ton as I’ve seen happen. I’ve read some of those and it’s not the healthiest influence, it also makes me question the piece of bread I have with my pasta and feel guilty about it. No guilt, moderation! πŸ™‚

  • Paige
    August 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Well said! I agree with you completely

  • Paige
    August 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Well said! I agree with you completely

  • Laine
    August 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Love this! I like your blog because you aren’t afraid of butter and aren’t all “and then I added one half teaspoon of butter to 9 pounds of brussel sprouts, but I split it with my hubby so I was still good.” Hi, how’s your closet eating disorder?

    I never read the comments on your blog, but I’m astounded when you have to post things like this because people are jealous and judgmental and just want to hate on you.

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day
    August 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Couldn’t have said this better myself! Your diet is very similar to mine and also, being healthy is about looking at a cookie full of butter and saying “its okay to eat this”, not “oh, I need a fat free version” or else I’ll get fat. Unhealthy thinking. Love your perspective!

  • Laura
    August 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I love your philosophy. I tend to be an “extremist” when I get passionate about something only to burn out way too quickly. I’m trying to keep it all in perspective and live more moderately.

  • Fifi
    August 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Yeah Jenna, you said it! It’s not the food but the size of the portions!

    I heart this post so much.

  • Chrissy
    August 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree, Jenna. I love your blog, and I’m glad you write the way you do!

    I lost 30 pounds since last October, and now that I eat whole, real ingredients, maintaining my weight loss isn’t hard at all. Real food keeps you full. Fake food doesn’t.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, and oh how I cannot wait to try that chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  • Melissa Cari @ Miles for Markets
    August 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Amazing post Jenna. This is exactly why you’re the first blog I read everyday. You’re a perfect example of moderation πŸ™‚

  • theemptynutjar
    August 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I don’t think you have to explain or defend any food “philosophy”. There not need be one…just live each day, we are only human and its all just life…not to be taken too seriously.
    What bothers me is when I hear/see/read people say erroneous things about themselves. I heard someone say recently that they were “chubby” when they were little…and I know that was not the case (or I guess was “chubby” too…ha…guess I was πŸ™‚

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    August 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Man, I wish I had your willpower. Cookies (especially fresh!), brownies (espeeeeccially fresh!), and any other fresh-made baked good are a major trigger for me. For example, we had a catered luncheon here at work today. I filled half my plate with salad and had a small serving of King Ranch Chicken, but then it came to the cookies. They were big cookies. I was planning on one snickerdoodle, because I’ve been in the mood for them. But then I saw the white chocolate–my favorite! I got one of each. Managed to muster up the self control not to go back for more, but later on in the afternoon when they called people back in to take some of the leftover fruit, a peanut butter cookie landed on my plate. I seem to be physically unable to eat just one cookie.

    But you are right, the “real” stuff satisfies. I used to be able to down 32 oz of Dr Pepper in an hour’s time, no problem. But now, especially with the real cane sugar Dr Pepper, one 12-oz can takes me a while since it feels so heavy on my stomach! I reserve the stuff for dessert.

  • Lina@GreenLivingNY
    August 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    So glad you wrote this post. There always will be haters, and I totally agree with you about everything in moderation and that yes, back in time there was no splenda, nu margarine, no FAT FREE and other things, and let me tell u smth, I am originally from Moldova, a very small country in Eastern Europe, I was eating healthy(I was getting my daily fruits and veggies) and also I was eating homemade pasta, all the pastries that my mom and grandma will cook, creamy tomato soup and fullfat icecream, cause well we didn’t have fat free and I didn’t think about it, I was having everything in moderation and was also active.
    In summer of 2007 I came to USA for 4 month, and gained 20pounds, eating fat free, sugar free, and these happend because when the food is not real we tend to eat more, much more, believe me!! I went back home, came back to my previous eating habits and the weight disapeared πŸ™‚ YES! And i was having my doze of chocolate, pasta and desserts! πŸ™‚
    Now in 2008 I moved for good in New York, but I keep my previous eating habits, still indulging, for example yesterday I had pizza with my fiancee at 11 pm and dessert after taht, and this is because I LOVE once in a while to indulge meals with him, but today morning I made a huge green monster, run 4 miles at 6 am, packed a lighter lunch and everything is good!!
    You dont have to go to extremes, you should have fun in life, and yes everything is good in moderation! πŸ™‚
    Great recipes Jenna, I like ur blog, and thanks for real recipes not only some kind that my fiance will look like I am crazy if I will ask him to taste them!

  • RhodeyGirl
    August 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm


    I feel the same way you do. Actually I always kind of considered your blog these days to be more like “eat like a parisian”

    My nonna always always tells me that low fat, sugar free yadda yadda did not even exist when they grew up. They also, however, did not eat cookies all the time. One fantastic cookie and they were good for a few weeks.

    I cook with olive oil. I don’t care to measure it. it comes from the earth and I trust it. I could be a lot thinner if I perhaps measured my oil or skipped that indulgent cookie, but I maintain my weight more or less now and I am happy with that.

  • Lina@GreenLivingNY
    August 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    So glad you wrote this post. There always will be haters, and I totally agree with you about everything in moderation and that yes, back in time there was no splenda, nu margarine, no FAT FREE and other things, and let me tell u smth, I am originally from Moldova, a very small country in Eastern Europe, I was eating healthy(I was getting my daily fruits and veggies) and also I was eating homemade pasta, all the pastries that my mom and grandma will cook, creamy tomato soup and fullfat icecream, cause well we didn’t have fat free and I didn’t think about it, I was having everything in moderation and was also active.
    In summer of 2007 I came to USA for 4 month, and gained 20pounds, eating fat free, sugar free, and these happend because when the food is not real we tend to eat more, much more, believe me!! I went back home, came back to my previous eating habits and the weight disapeared πŸ™‚ YES! And i was having my doze of chocolate, pasta and desserts! πŸ™‚
    Now in 2008 I moved for good in New York, but I keep my previous eating habits, still indulging, for example yesterday I had pizza with my fiancee at 11 pm and dessert after taht, and this is because I LOVE once in a while to indulge meals with him, but today morning I made a huge green monster, run 4 miles at 6 am, packed a lighter lunch and everything is good!!
    You dont have to go to extremes, you should have fun in life, and yes everything is good in moderation! πŸ™‚
    Great recipes Jenna, I like ur blog, and thanks for real recipes not only some kind that my fiance will look like I am crazy if I will ask him to taste them!

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun
    August 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Great food philosophy! I agree with you on the whole “small portions of the real stuff is more satisfying than the light version.” Great post and wonderful pictures! πŸ™‚

  • Jes
    August 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    <3 this… everyone else has said anything worth saying. =)

  • Sarah
    August 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Yay! When I was born my Mother’s doctor told her always feed her children REAL butter, WHOLE milk, WHOLE grains… none of that diet crap… especially when it was so incredibly prevalent in the 80’s.

  • Alexandra
    August 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    This makes me so happy do read. It’s not that I haven’t known it in my heart all a long, but recovery from an eating disorder leaves doubt lingering. It’s so wonderful to see a real woman practicing what everyone else is preaching (but not practicing.)

    Thank you for this.


    • steph
      August 12, 2010 at 7:33 am

      I completely agree – as someone trying to rid themselves of the last bad habits of anorexia, this post made me cry (in a good way) – I’m so terrified of eating real food, because I’m scared that I’ll need the same volume to feel satisfied, but this really helped to reassure me that by eating ‘proper’ food, I’ll be just as satisfied by a smaller amount of the good stuff and won’t be so over reliant on all the fake food I eat at the moment!

  • Jaime
    August 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Nice work, Jenna! I completely agree, but wish that I had enough self-control to stop at 1 cookie!

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    August 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Also, I think it’s more important to eat the real thing because eating artificial sweetened or reduced fat food won’t teach you how to exercise moderation out in the world where OTHER people aren’t going to serve you cookies made with Splenda, a sandwich made with light bread, or a lasagna made with fat free cheese. It just won’t happen. Eating so many artificially sweetened foods aren’t going to teach you to require food to be less sweet (or to eat smaller portions of sweet food).

  • Kathleen
    August 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I think you hit it spot on, your blog, your point of view. It took me a huge weight loss and regaining some back before realizing that crazy food rules need not apply to be healthy. I love your blog and all of the amazing recipes and dishes you share with us readers.

  • Lauren
    August 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    You are my favorite by far. I enjoy reading all of the joys in your life, whether it be food, your confessions, or your hiking adventures you seem so honest and true to who you are. I could not have put it better if I tried. Thank you for sharing!

  • Scott
    August 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I think one of the issues here is a reaction to how bad eating (and the lack of any food philosophy beyond cheap, convenient calories) in the US has gotten. Many people struggle with moderation (as a few comments have already mentioned). They simply can’t eat one real cookie, the consequence of which is an over-reaction resulting in the banishment of all ‘bad’ food from one’s diet. Certainly, ELR’s food philosophy of “all real food in moderation” is balanced with a healthy respect of self. This translates into a well-balanced life overall. Thus – no need to shun a sugary cookie or a buttery baked good. Thus, the aforementioned French (canadian) Paradox! Keep up the good work Jenna.

  • Sarah for Real
    August 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Love it! Amen for REAL FOOD!

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun)
    August 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I love, love, love your food philospophy. I don’t do well with restrictions and am a foodie free spirit, so I really appreciate your honest, realistic, laid-back (yet sensible) approach to nutrition. Food is one of life’s greatest luxuries and pleasures, one shouldn’t diet it away or live in a constant state of deprivation!

  • Lauren S.
    August 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Jenna
    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I just had to about this topic. About a year ago I would have about had a heart attack seeing 14 tablespoons of butter in one single reciepe and on a healthy food blog none the less! But gradually you have completely changed my mind about what “healthy” food is. If you had asked me a year ago what was healthy I would have said special K and sugar free jello. That was what I ate and what I honestly thought was healthy, I automatically assumed low-cal = healthy. So basically I want to say thank you for making me look at food in a different perspective:)And I love your blog so much! I have so many of your recipes bookmarked:)Keep up the GREAT work, this IS healthy, REAL food, not fake, low cal, super processed foods!

  • C
    August 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Amen. THanks for eating real food in moderation and enjoying it. One of the reasons I love your blog. You are not a “trend” eater who gives up certain foods, eats fat free or is scared of butter….My mom has always cooked and eaten like you— and she is the tiniest person I know! I think the French have rubbed off on you! (Coming from someone who also lived there….)

  • Jin
    August 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    You’ve said it all! It makes me sad how there are people still who rely on ‘diet foods’, gorging on low-cal, low-fal low-everything fake food and wondering why they are still unhappy.

    I look up to you Jenna.

  • Dana
    August 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    just when I didn’t think I could love your blog any more, i am completely smitten! I began dieting since the beginning of summer and there is so much truth is not denying yourself of what you love, as love as it’s not on overload! thanks so much for your insight.

  • Rachel
    August 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    You are my hero! My boyfriend is trying to lose a little weight right now and he saw me put real butter into the shopping cart on Monday.

    And I proudly enounced that “YES we will be eating REAL butter and losing weight in the process”.

    I’ve lived off the fake junk for too long and for some reason, never met my ultimate weight loss goal. (I did lose 40 lbs eating processed frozen dinners, fat free dairy and drank GALLONS of Diet Coke) But to maintain that for life would be impossible (and yucky). So I’m working to find a balance right now.

    My portions are so out of wack because I never really learned how to slim my portions down permanently. I just overloaded on fat free stuff and lots of low calorie snack packs. Ugh. I’m grossed out just typing this.

    Anyway, here’s to being healthy, fit, and happy thanks to BUTTER and other real ingredients. Cheers! *clinks my glass of wine with yours*

  • Elisa
    August 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Love it when you get sassy, Jenna!

  • Jen H
    August 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for this post- your food philosophy is so refreshing. I wish more people would catch on, especially those in a position where younger girls are looking up to them. You’ll make a great mom/role model one day…your future kids are lucky πŸ™‚

  • page
    August 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    amen sista! no matter how many times you say it people just don’t seem to believe it.

    funny that i am actually watching michael pollan on oprah right now too. eat food, not too much, mostly plants. love him!

  • Therese
    August 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Amen sister! Healthy eating means eating REAL food. I didn’t lose 90lbs from not eating real food. Your blog is one of my favourites BECAUSE you use things like butter, cream and eggs. We don’t have to sacrifice these in order to be healthy, we just need to moderate our consumption of it.

    And I figure, go big or go home when it comes to baking. Do it right or don’t do it at all and if that means using an absurd amount of butter, DO IT!

    Love ya Jenna! Don’t ever change and keep giving us AWESOME recipes to eat and to share!

  • Andrea
    August 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Amen sister! Keep living the dream! We love reading it.

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    August 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    You are my hero. I mean it! You are so true to who you are and have such a healthy perspective on food and life. Keep on keepin on!

  • Matt
    August 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I love this! I agree 100%!

  • Pure2Raw Twins
    August 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I agree moderation is key! Real food taste amazing and you really do not need whole a lot πŸ˜‰ Well said! Eating to enjoy healthy real food (not the fake stuff that is all processed or full of chemicals and sugar) in balance with exercise is it. I agree. Wine is key too πŸ™‚

  • Liz
    August 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm


  • kylie
    August 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    YES. Best post…people need to stop fearing food. It is just FOOD! It isn’t your enemy or your friend…it’s just food!

    I had a warped sense of what it was for a long time…too long…but now I am free. And I enjoyed a delicious cookie earlier and licked the chocolate chips from my fingers. Then I went on with my life.

    Happiness and freedom to everyone who reads this post!

  • Kelly
    August 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Yep, totally agree!! πŸ™‚ I love baking and I think it is healthier when I make may own baked goods because I know exactly what is going into them.. Moderation and not depriving yourself food you love is key!

  • Carly
    August 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Well said. You rock πŸ™‚

  • Heather
    August 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Amen to that! Love this blog so very much πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie (of Stephanie Inspired)
    August 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Great post. Your blog was the first place that I saw someone eat cookies/pizza/wine and stay so thin. It got me thinking “If she can do it… maybe I can too!” So I ditched Weight Watchers where I counted points and ate lots of Splenda and fake food, yet never felt happy. I began eating what I wanted (but still keeping my mind on health) and next thing you know.. I’m down 25 pounds and very happy and healthy.

    So let the haters hate because your way works. It worked for me and I am so thankful I found this blog in December- it opened my eyes to a whole new way to eat.

  • Sarah
    August 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    i completely 100% agree! life would be sad with no french fries:)

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion
    August 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    This is a great post! I have a very similar philosophy. Everything in moderation and KEEP MOVING!

  • Missy
    August 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I don’t know you. I’ve been a follower of your blog for over a year now, I think, so I feel like I know you. But I don’t. None of us really knows you (except your true friend readers, of course), so it always confuses me when people make harsh comments or judge. You’re out there living your life. And you happen to write about it. I CHOOSE to read it, so if I don’t agree with a post one day, I mark it as read and move on with my day. If your body handles cookies and wine better than mine does, go for it. You’re a lucky girl. I promise not to judge or question your healthy lifestyle.

    Here’s to writing, and being you, and not worrying about the haters. Have a blessed day! M.

  • Angharad
    August 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Ok, could not agree more. I think people get caught up in thinking that a “healthy living blog” has to involve new techniques and gadgets all the time. What, you’re not into green monsters, chia seeds, fat-free yoghurt, flax, and running marathons?! Pah! You can’t be a healthy living blogger.

    I eat in a pretty similar way to you and have always remained about the same weight (give or take). People ask me the same question about baked goods and rich foods, etc and it’s the same answer: I eat everything in moderation and I move my body a lot!

  • Tina
    August 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I could not agree more! I love how you relate it to the past and how the majority of people then weren’t overweight. They simply knew how to enjoy food and not feel guilty over it. Being balanced is the best way to be healthy.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    August 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    This is exactly why I love your blog. Sometimes I’ll read about a blogger who brings her own food on vacation. It’s so sad. What’s the point of restricting your eating if you can’t just live once in a while. And that’s exactly what you do, which I love.

    • Jean
      August 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

      Tracey, I have food allergies so I ALWAYS take food with me on vacation, just to make sure that I always have something that I can eat. That’s not the case w/everyone, I’m sure (food allergies), but you probably shouldn’t generalize your statements.

  • Elizabeth Jarrard
    August 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    very well put Jenna. I think you have a very healthy eating philosophy, and you need to keep on keepin on-it works wonders for you!

  • emilyr
    August 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I totally agree! did your grandparents eat it? that works… don’t eat FAKE food, eat REAL food in moderation πŸ™‚

    August 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Oh Jenna you definitely know how to make me a happy girl πŸ™‚ Butter, sugar, eggs, theyre all a vital component of my baking. actually, since ive gone back to what i feel is natural ie. butter, i feel better and my skin feels better! im happy i dont shun those foods anymore, and mentally, my brain works remarkably better for it too lol


  • Maria
    August 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Amen Jenna!! So many have a warped view of what is healthy, what is not or perhaps it’s just a differing opinion. But I believe, like you, to live life. Real food, real experiences, real work and real fun. Part of that balance is real sweat as well πŸ™‚

    Keep up the great stuff!

  • McKella
    August 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Great philosophy Jenna, I want to print this post, go to walmart, and plaster it all over the fat-free pudding cups, Cool Whip, and Weight Watcher’s muffins. Out with the Frankenfood, in with the real food!

  • sassy molassy
    August 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    AMEN to this, Jenna! I kind of figured you might get some emails about this topic after last night’s yummy looking bbq. I think it often happens when others are trying to limit what they eat and they feel like “wait, how can SHE eat that when I can’t?!” Moderation is truly the answer balanced by healthy living (moving one’s tush, stretching, drinking water, etc). Thanks for reminding us it’s not all about calorie counting and low carb. πŸ™‚

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef
    August 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    thanks, jenna! you are so right- moderation is everything. i admit, i still do like artificial things such as splenda or diet coke on occasion, but those too- in moderation. it works. listen to your body in regard to food, exercise, etc. it will tell you what it needs.

  • Jess
    August 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    You are considered to have a healthy eating blog because you have the most HEALTHY and normal mindset about eating. Sometimes its not about what you put in your mouth but your attitude towards it. People don’t know how I’m a foodie and stay so thin. It’s called moderation and exercise. Nothing more and nothing less. I eat anything I please, just not all of it πŸ™‚

  • Dynamics
    August 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Isn’t Butter real food made with cream and milk? I agree 100%. Better to use the real deal and eat in moderation than use some of the other so called healthy alternatives. I would rather eat one cookie made by you than one cookie mass produced. Keep doing what you are doing. You are young and smart and seem to be healthy. Obviously, you lifestyle is healthy and working!!!!!!!!!

  • Sarah (Oc2Seattle)
    August 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    When did healthy eating start meaning dieting and being thin? Artificial sweeteners are not “healthy”, margarine is not “healthy”, diet soda is definitely not “healthy.” I just returned from Paris and though ladies are eating food made with fresh ingredients and butter and cream and they are thinner than Americans and healthier – they just eat in moderation. Thanks, Jenna for telling it like it is.

  • Lauren @ Health on the Run
    August 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I love this post, and I love your philosophy!! Unfortunately, the problem we have in America is that we seem to have lost sight of what “in moderation” means. Instead, we need 100-calorie packs and diet foods to keep us in check. And if that’s what you need to do to get yourself to a healthy weight, then that’s fine. But I think it’s important to remember that way of eating is a diet…not a lifestyle. What you have described here is a way of eating for LIFE…where food is not the enemy, but rather, something that adds joy! I love that you’ve embraced this, and it’s one of the many reasons why I love your blog.

    I used to rely on a lot of processed stuff, and struggled with my weight — despite the fact that I DID work out a lot. I ran competitively and spent long hours in the gym. However, once I read Michael Pollan and started focusing on eating real food, things turned around for the better. I love my veggies, but I also love my real butter and sugar. And I no longer worry about the scale going up and down!

    • Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth)
      August 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      What a great comment – wise insights and a positive outlook. And you’re absolutely right: food SHOULD be viewed joyously (as opposed to something that incites fear, guilt/shame, etc.) — and this is one of few blogs where it clearly is! Readers clearly dig this positive perspective. Kudos to you on your own growth. πŸ™‚

  • Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth)
    August 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    ROCK. ON. This was healthy, straightforward, and brilliant.

  • Elise
    August 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    oh man, thank you so much. i really, really needed this. I have been on this weight loss journey for 2 years now just yo-yoing. at one point I was at a healthy 135 for my height and now i am at 162 (today was another tipper…. a client at work asked when i was due. I am 20 years old… and not prego) and i just try all these wacky diets and end up gaining more or being unhappy. it truly is balance and i need to find a way to know it and DO IT now. but thank you.

  • Megan (Running Foodie)
    August 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Amen, Jenna! I really appreciate that your recipes include REAL ingredients. While I like to get all technical and weird with food/ingredients at times, it’s also just nice to bake a real, buttery, chocolate chip cookie. I really appreciate your blog and your perspective on food and life. Thanks so much for writing!

  • Alyson @ Nourished Fitenss
    August 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I think if someone glanced at my blog they would think I would be one of the ones on the other side of the fence on this one.. but that SO isn’t true! I absolutely couldn’t agree more. My biggest struggle is the moderation part. I tend to be an extremist with whatever I do and have trouble finding the off-button with sweets (alcohol, fried food, etc have never been a problem there, just sweets.. who knows why). But perhaps it’s because I do attempt to restrict myself too much. I think life is far far to short not to have a cookie when you really want one!

  • Bliss
    August 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    That was really refreshing, thanks for being frank! Also : It’s just food! Let’s be thankful that we not only have enough food but that we have options and can have food “philosophies” when so many people struggle to get enough to eat everyday.

  • Lindsay
    August 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I hate that you feel like you have to defend YOUR lifestylte as it is presented on YOUR blog, but honestly– thank you!! I so, so envy your eating approach. You obviously love food, as do I, and you relish in a delicious meal, great glass or wine, and real cookies, while still being an active, healthy, HAPPY person. I have spent so much of my life obsessing over my eating and restricting myself to point where food isn’t fun anymore. I hate that!

    I truly long to embrace your ideals on eating because honestly, that is the healthiest way you could possibly live your life. I am working on it for myself and will keep reading ELR for inspiration, laughs, and delicious recipes. I made your zucchini pizza last night– me, a girl who has always proclaimed to HATE zucchini and I loved it! That is why I come here– to learn, be inspired, and drool over your recipes. πŸ™‚

    It is refreshing to read your blog because you are a REAL person. So many other bloggers out there seem like aliens, because it isn’t realistic to be the world’s healthiest eater at all times. And frankly, even if it is easy for them, it sure doesn’t look fun. Keep doing what you’re doing– unapologetically!

  • Lindsay
    August 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you for this post. Blogs that ONLY portray people who won’t let themselves eat real food when they want too (and no I don’t believe they WANT to eat fruit for dessert) are boring and unrealistic. Thank you for your blog….butter and all πŸ™‚

  • lauren at KeepItSweet
    August 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I think you set a great example through your food philosphy. I am constantly trying to find balance like that!

  • Erinn
    August 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Jenna, can we be friends? Keep the great recipes coming. The past week has basically been one giant ELR food fest. Thanks for the great ideas πŸ™‚

  • Sarah
    August 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Great post. πŸ™‚

  • KellyB
    August 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Great post! I could not agree more!

  • Kim
    August 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Amen, sister. Real food is good food. So much of this “diet” food is so bad for you. I will often choose a whole, organic egg over something super-processed and vegan any day of the week, because I know it’s real.

    I don’t eat much dairy because I am intolerant, but when I do, I don’t apologize for it. I don’t eat meat because I don’t want to, but if I did want to, I would.

    I think your food and your life seem beautiful and happy, and you write my favorite blog. Keep it up. Can’t wait to read your book!

  • Clare
    August 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    THANK YOU for this post. I completely agree with your food philosophy and I get really tired of reading the health blogs of people who hem and haw over every single bite of dessert or can only have one glass of wine or beer and still think they’re being out of control.

  • Amanda
    August 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I could not agree more with you! I refuse to buy fat-free anything, bake with anything but butter (sometimes applesauce) and ban splenda from any baked goods. I think splenda ruins it! I can tell it’s in there and thats good enough for me! You’re absolutely right: there are more overweight americans NOW than ever before. People don’t exercise, eat processed ‘food’ and call it nutrition.

  • Jessie
    August 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    So, I saw Edamama (sp?) in your pics of favorites. I planted some in the garden & now need to know what to do with it. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  • laurie
    August 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    well said. REAL FOOD, PEOPLE!!! πŸ™‚

  • amethyst
    August 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Well said, Jenna – tu as raison! (Even though, I admit, I am wary of butter…)

  • Danielle
    August 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Can I hear a hallelujah? And a good ol’ ditto too, because I’m right there with ya on healthy living.

  • Katie
    August 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I love this post, because it so eloquently sums up my own food philosophy! The unhealthy stuff is this new stuff that’s being designed under the guise of making us healthy: artificial sweeteners, margarine, etc. Eat a reasonable amount of the real stuff, take time to fully enjoy it and savor every bite, then go on with your day! This is why you are my favorite healthy food blogger!

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    August 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    AMEN Jenna! I went to French cooking school also and never gained weight. Honestly, 3 bites of buttery, creamy mashed potatoes made the real French way is faaaar more satisfying than a whole pound of potatoes made with skim milk and margarine. Real food is food our bodies know what to do with and know when to stop eating :).

  • D
    August 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Bravo! Well said!
    Everything in moderation!
    Well said!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    August 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Congrats girl! Great post πŸ™‚

  • Kelly
    August 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I think what’s great about blogging is that you can see so many different approaches to living a healthy lifestyle. I think it’s funny because I have almost the same approach so it still seems healthy to me even if it might not to someone else.

    I think there is also no right and wrong way about it. Some people wouldn’t be able to or want to live by this philosophy and that doesn’t make you wrong or them right and vice versa.

    I wouldn’t necessarily discourage people who use artificial products if it works for them. I think it’s all about being open to different approaches and recognizing what works for one person may not work for another.

  • Sammi
    August 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I actually browned butter today while reading your post.. I guess that makes me unhealthy? What a ridiculous comment! I love your blog and that you are not afraid of butter and sugar.. and pizza! Thanks for providing such great recipes πŸ™‚ Love all your posts

  • Courtney @ Ice Cream & Wine
    August 11, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this. Seriously.

  • Andrea
    August 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hallelujah! I totally agree with your philosophy and I love your blog!

  • MMiller
    August 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I agree as well Jenna! You can eat what you want and not gain weight if you get up and move! You always eat in moderation and you exercise a ton! You are definitely a “Healthy Blogger”! And you show us what you eat and how you balance it all out every day!

  • polly
    August 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I love you. πŸ™‚

  • Paige
    August 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Jenna … I rarely comment. I just wanted to echo Polly. I LOVE YOU! Absolutely awesome. Thank you.

  • Ashley
    August 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    THANK YOU Jenna! This is why you are the best and your blog is the best. Your true and real. This is the way to live! This is EXACTLY what a healthy lifestyle is!

  • Megan
    August 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I agree completely with your food philosophy! I used to buy those 100 calorie packs all the time and I’d devour an ENTIRE box in one sitting. They never filled me up or satisfied my craving! Real food is so much better. Keep up the awesome blogging! πŸ™‚

  • Kylie
    August 11, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I 100% agree with you. It is so wonderful to see people leading their lives like this and with success. That is where I am trying to get to. I love to bake and am trying to lose weight at the same time. It is hard, but once I get to goal I plan on eating the way you do. Everything in moderation. Lots of exercise. And most importantly – balance. Thank you for putting this out there.

  • Courtney
    August 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Ug, Americans have to take everything to an extreme and that’s what has happened with healthy eating now. It’s not enough to eat real foods in moderation, exercise in moderation and be a healthy weight, now we are supposed to eat x number of super foods per day, only healthy fats and not only be a healthy weight, we have to be toned and defined as well to be “healthy?” Puh-lease! Jenna, you keep doing what you are doing; you’ve got one of the healthiest attitudes of anyone I know of.

    • meagan
      August 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      Taking it to extremes really resonates with me. It’s either extreme unhealthiness or extreme “healthiness” neither of which do anything but make us crazy.

  • Christie
    August 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Love the blog. Don’t change anything.
    If we can’t live our lives in a way that we enjoy, what is the point? In other words, use butter. Drink wine. Excercise your body in ways that you enjoy and are fun. At the end of my life, I would rather have wonderful memories of a fantastic meal, than remember how skinny I was at age ___. Booorrrinng!!
    Health isn’t just about food or excercise, its about soo many parts of us.

  • eatmovelove
    August 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I just wanted to say that I really, really ADMIRE YOUR ABILITY TO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF. Instead of crying and freaking out that you are an “un”healthy person or blogger – you remained true to who you are and trusted your feelings and mind.

    That is powerful.

    And 2nd – I think your blog IS SUPER healthy!! God – you are always active, whether jogging or hiking or just being out with friends! You have other passions in life – a boyfriend, a family who loves you, baking, reading, wining and dining (!) – YES!!

    And for every baked good there is , there’s an equally delicious salad and pasta dish.
    Honestly, you can’t please everyone.
    If you were posting only oatmeal and salads – then people would say your sick and need help and don’t eat anything…

    Plus, this is just one aspect of your life – if I posted a granola bar on my site – that doesn’t mean I eat granola bars all day long!!

    And, personally, I DO eat more than ONE cookie….so haters be damned.

  • Lauren
    August 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I haven’t commented before, but I wanted to just say that I think you’re awesome and your “food philosophy” is perfect! Everything in moderation. Michael Pollan was on Oprah today (don’t judge) and he was talking about his new book, “Food Rules,” and one of his rules in the book is “Don’t eat anything your great grandma didn’t eat.” What he was talking about was that we need to stop eating all of these crazy, over-processed, low-fat, no-fat, mystery foods! He made the same point you did, that we’re not all going to get fat and die if we eat REAL foods that our body knows how to digest. Ok, that’s all. Keep on doing what you’re doing!


  • Cara
    August 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Please don’t EVER change your blog or what you eat. Other people are putting their issues/eating disorders on you and they should suck it. Maybe they should stop taking blogs as the bible of how to live their lives, and actually GO live thier lives.

    Love you Jenna! Please have some fabulous California wine for me (I so miss Tri-tip, grilled artichokes and CA Vino!!!) !!!

  • Kris
    August 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I’m sorry you have to defend/explain your eating habits to the haters. If people w/ balance out their eating with moderation and exercise they wouldn’t have such health/weight issues. More power to you!

  • Laura
    August 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Love it!! Couldn’t agree with you more!

  • sarah (this is it)
    August 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    You are making me seriously re-think the contents of my cupboards and refrigerator right now.
    Please keep doing what you are doing.
    The biggest thing that the post brings to mind is self-respect and self-love. We can all use more of that.

  • meagan
    August 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Excellent. More than about balance, it’s about life. And what is life without the amazingness of brown butter chocolate chip cookies and wine?

    Not a life I want to live!

    • Carrie
      August 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      I totally agree with you about real food! Moderation is, was and always will be the key to a healthy lifestyle.

      If I may play devil’s advocate just for the sake of discussion, I think a lot of the comments folks make about this being not a “healthy living” blog is based on the sheer amount of meals you spend dining out. Most people (probably) don’t eat out this often and, as you know, restaurant meals are, on the whole, not the “healthiest eating” choices around.

      But I do agree about real food fo sho.

      • Karen
        August 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm

        Yeah..sometimes people consider eating out as much as you do as probably not healthy. Especially if they are new to the blog and see choc.cookies, wine, pulled pork, biscuits, etc.

        • Christie {Honoring Health}
          August 12, 2010 at 9:27 am

          But that just buys into the whole diet mentality that this country has acquired. Jenna listens to her body, honors her hunger signals and that is what being healthy is. What is being touted as health food in the country is typically garbage. Real food is the food everyone should be eating.

  • amanda
    August 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I agree with you 100%!!! I am currently reading Intuitive Eating: A revolututionary Program that works! This book is basically common sense. If you are on any diet it will trigger binges and or overeating. Dieting also messes up your body. You need to be intune with your body and feed it what it wants when it is hungry within moderation. Simple!! I am currently working on doing this…hard journey so far…but it is a work in progress none the less. Thank you for this post!

  • Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman
    August 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Moderation is KEY! Real ingredients are also. Love butter…..but of course, I’m a bit biased πŸ™‚ Plus….isn’t butter the reason we work out?

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale
    August 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Here, here, sister! I love it.

    Honestly, I will never get why people feel like you or anyone should have to justify themselves through a food philosophy. I think labeling oneself or others is a dangerous thing. As soon as you put restrictions on something like eating, that’s when it becomes UNhealthy, in my opinion.

    Just keep on keepin on. Butter, broccoli, sugar, spinach… these are all good things – it’s all about balance.

  • Camille
    August 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for this!
    There is nothing I hate more than when people come in to my work (I work in a frozen yogurt shop) and say something along the lines of, “I bet you eat all the yogurt you want and still stay thin!” NO! I eat it in moderation but I am also a marathon runner and I work out between 5-6 days a week by running 10 miles at a time or putting in an hour and a half at the gym. Just because we are young doesn’t mean we ban binge eat and not gain a pound!

  • Meg
    August 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    AMEN to that!

  • Honey
    August 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Well said, Jenna. I completely agree with you. Eating real food is healthy!!

  • Donna Porter
    August 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Amen! But I have to say, next time you have a biscuit..can you have a bit for me! That stuff goes straight to my hips. lol You are beautiful inside and out!! Even if you cook with *gasp* buttah!!!

  • Kelly
    August 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm


  • Penny (VEGGIEtarian)
    August 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Preach it sister!!!!! πŸ™‚ You, dear girl, are completely awesome.

  • Cole
    August 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Your philosophy = wonderful.

  • Sarah
    August 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Well put, Jenna. I love that you show your readers how to make delicious, real food. I can’t wait to make my bf those cookies, and he loved your shrimp pasta with cream. After years of disordered eating, I strive to share your food philosophy because I really do think it’s healthy.

  • Kaley
    August 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I really wish this worked for me. It doesn’t. I have been hating my body for years now, and the only time I am happy with it is if I am losing weight and eating very little. It’s just how it is.

  • Jessica
    August 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Love it. You rock Jenna!

  • alana
    August 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    i totally dont get this. im all for real food and moderation and whatnot, but come on. a very specific group of people read food blogs, and to act like they have no interest in healthy food (not just REAL food, but food with actual nutrients, not butter) is ridiculous! if a blogger said “im cutting down on sugar”, everyone would say “ugh me too!”. there is NOTHING WRONG with choosing stereotypical “healthy” food, and youre not a better person if you eat butter. and it’s okay to go to the gym for a hard workout for the sake of your ass, and not just take “a long walk” like some commenters suggest.

  • Stacey
    August 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Ya you go girl. I agree. :0

  • Becky @ Gimme That Becky!
    August 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm


    seriously. you are. it is so inspiring to see someone who actually eats real food and tell people that IT’S POSSIBLE AND IT’S OKAY AND YOU WILL NOT BE A HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS. The other thing is that some people (probably you) are just LUCKY and get to eat things like cookies and things and not gain weight. Others are not lucky, and that’s unfortunate for them (I’m included in that group). Either way, I’m glad SOMEBODY out there has a blog that isn’t promoting people running 12 miles a day and eating uncooked tofu and lettuce for lunch implying that’s how we all should be living. I’m definitely not where you are in terms of how comfortable you are around food, but your blog inspires me to get there.

  • Holly
    August 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    this may sound creepy, but i feel as though if we met in real life, we would most likely be friends. i mean, maybe best friends, but i have an irrational fear of cats (for reasons we can discuss later, if i ever make it out to CA or you return to WI), so that would take some time getting used to.

    real food. real eating. real life.

    that’s what i appreciate, and that’s what you live.

    amen sister, amen.

  • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul
    August 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I’m new to your blog and this seems to have been a great first post for me to have stumbled upon. I love your philosophy and am on board 110%. We need to learn to stop fearing food and learn to live with it in harmony… Food is not the enemy. The way that some of us at times use it is.

  • Pure2raw twins
    August 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I agree! Things in moderation and the real thing is best!!!

    Love your philosophy!!!

  • Mindy
    August 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    i love your blog!! and i think it is a healthy living blog because you have such a healthy view of food. how horrible is it to be racked with feelings of guilt from eating a single cookie??! i think that only leads to more problems in the future. keep doing what you’re doing, jenna. and don’t let those “evil comments” get to you!

  • Stephanie
    August 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    what a wonderful post – i definitely share your perspective on food & eating and think that it’s truly the way a balanced healthy diet should be. moderation is key!

  • Mindy
    August 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    And for the record, in response to some of the other comments.. I think Jenna knows that this won’t work for everyone. But someone posted a really inappropriate comment and jenna probably felt the need to defend herself. Give the girl a break..

  • Grace
    August 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Very well said Jenna!! πŸ™‚

  • kayli @ Running on Sunshine
    August 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Back to the basics. Amen, sister!!

  • Gina G
    August 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Amen to that! YOU rock Jenna! πŸ˜€

  • Nikita
    August 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    2 words- You rock! πŸ™‚ Btw, those cookies with real butter look delicious! πŸ™‚

  • Lindsay
    August 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Love it! Totally agree with your philosophy and it works for me, as well, which is why I love your blog!

    Anyway – has anyone told you that you look like Lauren, one of the finalists on So You Think You Can Dance? I keep thinking there is a resemblance…anyone agree??

  • Monique@She's Going The Distance
    August 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    You are awesome πŸ™‚

  • Robyn
    August 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I completely, 100% agree — all things in moderation, and accept no substitutes! No fake sugar, no fake butter, no fake food!

    My personal philosophy: activity makes food taste better. When I’m more active, I eat deliciously simple food. When I’m more sedentary, I seem to be intuitively aware of it and rely on low-fat/low-sugar type “food” (notice the quotes). But real food always (ALWAYS!!!) tastes better, so . . . activity makes food taste better. πŸ˜€

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    August 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I love your use of butter! Stay real, Jenna!

  • Whitney
    August 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I don’t understand why people who read your blog are so judgmental. I agree with your food philosophy 100%. I don’t understand how people can’t understand this concept. There have been numerous studies on how things like HFCS can make you fatter. Eat REAL sugar. Eat REAL butter. It’s simple. Pick up In Defense of Food and educate yourselves.

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches
    August 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Jenna, I absolutely LOVE your food philosophy. Of all the food blogs I read, yours is the one I most identify with. Here’s to living life to its fullest, buttery cookies and all!

  • Larbs
    August 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm


  • Katie (Life Discombobulated)
    August 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I completely and totally agree!!! I have issues with being HUNGRY when I eat smaller amounts of the really good stuff, so I have to fill up with lots of veggies, THEN eat the good stuff! πŸ™‚

  • danielle
    August 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    As a girl who has been fighting with eating disorder recovery tooth and nail for far too long, you are a fine example of healthy living for me. It is extremely hard to find that fine line between health and unbalance and you seem to have put yourself on the right side of the seesaw. It is pretty entertaining that people are so concerned with cutting you down when they really should be working on their own self-improvement….

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    August 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Amen girl! I couldn’t agree more with this statement: “I think that my blog is a healthy living blog BECAUSE I bake cookies with butter in them.”

  • Brooke
    August 11, 2010 at 7:15 pm


    Your blog is absolutely one of my favorites. Please do not change a thing. It is obvious to me that your healthful lifestyle extends beyond the physical. You are healthy physically, emotionally and mentally. Truly, Jenna, you are an inspiration.

  • Danie D.
    August 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Jenna-you shouldn’t even feel the need to reply to those comments, people will always be jealous and say that kind of stuff to put you down. I love your blog and if they want pictures of broccoli and plain tofu over and over again they can look somewhere else!!!

  • Linda
    August 11, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Right on sista friend! In our grandparents day, they had nitrite-free bacon, whole grains, and margarine didn’t exist! And they didn’t have fast food. And you are so right about moderation. That’s really what it’s all about. Everthing in moderation.

  • Delfina
    August 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Jenna! Your food philosophy is awesome. It teaches people to really enjoy every bite and that eating delicious food is part of being a healthy, happy person. Thanks for such an awesome blog!

  • Sahar
    August 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I hope you don’t feel like you need to explain yourself! I love your food philosophy and I think your view is so refreshing and balanced. I feel like I have learned so much from you and you have helped me in more ways than you will ever know. Don’t ever change!

  • Pam (IIN Health Coach)
    August 11, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Well written, you rock!!
    That’s why I keep on reading while you keep on keepin’ on πŸ™‚

  • Mom
    August 11, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Making your cookies in the morning!

  • Christina
    August 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    i love this post. I get this all of the time with my blog— people say they loved the Peanut butter caramel swirled brownies we made— but how is THAT healthy!? what you just wrote describes what i think perfectlyyy!

  • Katherine
    August 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I think your relationship with food is so healthy and as a person who is recovering from seriously disordered eating, I really appreciate that you have this site. It gives me hope πŸ™‚

  • lindsay ann
    August 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    You are so right. I’d rather eat something with butter and sugar in it rather than margarine and splenda. Only God knows what is in those things (I refuse to refer to those lab creations as food) and they are so much worse for your health.

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    August 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    WOW! I went to get an MRI today, alllllllll day, and so late getting into the action. Going to go pour myself an adult beverage and read through! Love your pix on this post. Speaking of French cooking, butter, etc, I met Julia Child twice. Once online in Montecito where we both lived at the time. I’d met her earlier at a KQFD benefit. We spoke and I said was going to cook for 50 that weekend, she asked what, I ran down my kind of elaborate/healthy menu. She said, ‘Oh, throw some meat on the bar-b-que.’ LOL. So, you post reflected that common sense approach. Cheers to all!

  • AshleyH
    August 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I totally agree Jenna. It took me an eating disorder to finally understand that. I feel so lucky to be able to come out the other side and understand that having one amazing cookie is so much more satisfying then one hundred fake cookies. You’re amazing! PS Your posts have been amazing lately!!

  • Mallory@Little Miss Locavore
    August 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I found your blog recently and love it. I would agree that the real thing is much better than any manufactured substitute – butter comes from ingredients I can actually pronounce and could make on my own, margarine is a bunch of chemical sounding words and yellow food dye to make us think of butter when we see it. Which sounds better now?! Thanks for sharing.

  • Katherine
    August 11, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    AMEN! You are terrific and LOOK terrific. I love that you cook cookies with browned butter (like I do). Your blog is unique because you eat the food you love. Keep it up!

  • DeDe
    August 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    New to your blog but love it! Is there a cookbook in the works?

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit
    August 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Amazing post, Jenna! I love that you don’t deprive yourself of amazing food and are a real person showing us all how to eat in moderation. Keep at it!

  • Alex
    August 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    In your zucchini pizza post, you say you “go big or go home” with cheese, yet your mozza is part-skim…??
    Also, when I started reading your blog a year ago, you were all about “healthy food” (maybe to remain a certain weight?), and I definitely remember “sandwich thins,” salad fixings, and other diet stuff in your fridge.
    Awesome that you’ve expanded your horizons, but it wasn’t so long ago that you felt differently.

    • Becky
      August 12, 2010 at 1:23 am

      Yes. For those of us who have been reading along since before you moved to California, there has been an apparent change in what you eats. This is wonderful, and a totally normal response to living in culinary heaven in Northern California. And as you can see, most of your readers agree are clearly tickled with the way you’re eating now. But some acknowledgement of this very tangible shift would be welcomed.

      The only thing I wanted to mention was you discuss portion size control above and I 100% agree with that statement. But it’s probably worth noting that many people DO struggle with controlling their portion sizes and not eating all of the cookies they just baked. Some of those people are probably your blog readers. So it’s probably wise to be sensitive to the fact that many people struggle with making healthy choices and “going big or going home” isn’t going to be a very effective healthy eating plan for people who haven’t yet cultivated a balanced approach to eating the “good stuff” and eating lighter on other days to balance it out. It’s true that it’s not “rocket science” (as you said above), but for many people, it’s still a really difficult challenge of their everyday life. Since you seem to have stopped blogging every meal (which is absolutely fine, by the way), if people struggling with these choices are using your blog as a model for healthy eating, it may be difficult for them to realize or remember that while you eat fried chicken and biscuits one night, and blog all about it, you probably have a lighter breakfast and lunch the next day that you might not have blogged about. Just something to think about.

      • Mel
        August 12, 2010 at 2:48 am

        I don’t think it is fair to hold Jenna responsible for the fact that people may be using her blog as a ‘model for healthy eating’ and these people may be struggling with their own food choices. That is a big burden to place on her shoulders, when she is simply writing about her life and some of the tasty things she eats.

      • alana
        August 12, 2010 at 4:36 am

        agreed. you still have plenty of the same readers who supported you and agreed with you when you declared vegetarianism (or a brief stint with veganism) as the right choice, etc. people love this blog (including myself) but i think it seems silly to pretend that this is your die-hard food philosophy. just because it suits the time and place you are currently in doesnt mean it is the right thing to do. im so sick of commenters acting like people who watch their weight (actively) are stupid, rigid, extreme, etc. if you feel that way about other bloggers, then that’s reflection of yourself, not that blogger. you may find yourself changing your philosophy again in the future, so you may want to be more open minded now to avoid eating your words

      • Carly (Swim, Run, Om)
        August 12, 2010 at 5:28 am

        Becky – while I do agree with your first point, I have to respectfully yet vehemently disagree with the second. Why is it Jenna’s responsibility to blog about portion control so people who read her blog will be able to make better choices? If people are looking to Jenna as the be all and end all in a healthy lifestyle, then that’s their problem, not Jenna’s. Blogs aren’t meant to be your babysitter and make sure that they slap you upside the head with what a balanced, healthy lifestyle REALLY is – this is Jenna’s life and her lifestyle. If someone doesn’t get that and eats an entire pan of cookies because Jenna baked some and posted some pictures, then that’s all on them.

        • Rose-Anne
          August 12, 2010 at 6:22 am

          I’m wondering if some of the long-time readers of ELR perhaps feel some sadness that Jenna and her blog have changed over time. I think a lot of people read healthy living blogs because they inspire us to make the best choices possible–in other words, the blogs are written and presented in such a way that one doesn’t FEEL tempted to overeat or drink too much wine or whatever. Guilt can work both ways: one can feel guilty for doing something “unhealthy” or one can feel guilty for not enjoying pleasures like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. My guess is that healthy living blogs are more likely to tip people in the direction of feeling guilty for having done something unhealthy, but here, Jenna is declaring that this blog is not about that kind of guilt.

          Great discussion! I’m glad to see people trading perspectives so openly here. xo

        • Becky
          August 12, 2010 at 6:29 am

          I wasn’t trying to suggest that Jenna should be responsible for other people’s eating habits or be their “babysitter”! That would be so ridiculous! I’m sorry if it sounded that way. I was just trying to offer a bit of a reminder that while it is wonderful that Jenna has a healthy outlook on balance and moderation, a lot of people struggle with that. It seems potentially hurtful (although I’m sure Jenna did not in any way intend for this) to declare that healthy eating isn’t “rocket science” when so many people do clearly struggle with it. If it was so easy, there would be less people with eating disorders (both over- and under-eating). That’s all I wanted to say.

    • Ericka
      August 12, 2010 at 6:58 am

      Becky, I’m with you. While I love ELR and agree with Jenna’s philosophy on real food and everything in moderation, I felt a little stupid and ashamed when I read this post. Logically, I know it’s not “rocket science” – you balance out an indulgent meal with a lighter one and some exercise – yet I’m not always able to achieve that balance. It’s a constant struggle for me, and the tone of this post did make me feel like an idiot for not yet being able to achieve that balance with ease. I am sure Jenna did not intend for the post to have this tone, though. And it’s certainly not going to stop me from continuing to read about her wonderful culinary creations!

      • Whitney
        August 12, 2010 at 7:04 am

        Major LOLs to all of the responses above.

      • Alaina
        August 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

        I agree with you as well, Becky! While I have never judged Jenna or thought her less of a “health food blogger” for baking cookies with real butter or for enjoying a night out at a restaurant, I did take slight offense to some of the phrases in this particular post. Saying that portion control and eating right are not “rocket science” and that you have “enough self control to only eat one cookie” was personally offensive to me, as someone who suffers from binge eating disorder. While I fully agree with your food philosophy, there are some of us who struggle daily to eat what we know mentally to be correct portions and healthy foods. I totally admire you for being able to acheive this balance, but a little sensitivity to your readers would be nice. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who, while I agree with the topic and the poitns stated, felt a little put out by the tone of this post.

        • amelie
          August 15, 2010 at 4:48 am

          somehow, I agreed with this. It really seems that she is trying to tell and show everyone that I can eat ALL i want and stay thin, to let people be envious of her. We have enough of celebs telling the media how they are so blessed and so blessed with good genes and stuff. I dont think we need anymore of that.

          The fact that Jenna posted all the food pics to attract readers to her blog and the fact that she only eat one cookie or take a spoonful.mouthful of what she posted is very misleading. Baking a whole tray of cookies to fatten everyone else and taking one is not really considerate too. Even though I believe that she has good intentions and spend time and effort to bake the cookies for her loved ones, but not everyone is like her.

    • Cara
      August 12, 2010 at 10:43 am

      Yes this blog has taken a turn. Month ago I am reading about salads with feta, “green monstesr” remember those? and now it’s pulled pork, cookies, biscuits and endless wine.

      • Heather
        August 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

        I think the real hiccup here is that the post was slightly offensive and it’s been done before… where readers are “called out” because they said something that wasn’t quite nice. I just think one could be more diplomatic!

      • Heather
        August 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm

        By that I mean accept the comments that bother you and let those readers feel like their opinion are appreciated, too… even if it’s not what you want to hear. Some people can be really rude though and you just have to ignore them I guess.

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    August 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    LOVED the comments!! Agree w/ those ‘real’ food ‘French’ concept. I eat 90% organic from Farmer’s Market, (yesterday for example bought an enormous bunch of organic basil for $1.50!) avoid all processed, pesticide, chemical laden foods, no fake sweetners ever=rat poison!) love to cook, and do so with ‘real’ foods….and then eat in moderation, and get lots of fresh air exercise.

    Applause!!! Terrific post!! LOVE it!! Think your beautiful foodie pix go along way in encouraging healthy lifestyle–which benefits all aspects of life.

    PS: Interesting topic: The French are all about taking care of the LIVER. January 6th after the Epiphany, everyone has a ‘liver crisis’ and SWEAR by Aigo Boulido soup (garlic soup) for weight loss, cleanse, restoration of health, etc. I love it–(but not everyone loves garlic)–and find it really works for me. Here’s one of my recipes for it, but there are many variations on this theme:

  • Jen @ Twenty Something and Starving
    August 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I’m new to you’re blog and this post right here made you my new favorite person in the world. πŸ™‚ I couldn’t agree with you more! Sure, I like to find healthy swaps for recipes from time to time, but If I want chocolate chip cookies I’m making the real thing. Everything in moderation is key. You’re one smart cookie. πŸ™‚

  • Anne
    August 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I worked in the wine industry for a few years and it was the best “diet” ever. I learned about hunger, appetite, pleasure, and how to enjoy — not overeat. It’s a great skill, and a great way to live.

  • Amber K
    August 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I think you have a really healthy perspective and I’m so glad to see someone who uses REAL ingredients in their food!!

  • Marie
    August 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I’m sure you’ve been asked this before, but… can I move in with you? Joking, joking… but you’re seriously like, the sister I’ve always wanted. I just love your outlook on life, health, food, etc.!

  • Maissa
    August 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I agree with you 100%. I lost 55lbs by watching my portion sizes, eating real food, and ordering dessert to share when I felt like it.

    I plan to lose the last 20 lbs I have to go by following the same mindset. I made your cookies yesterday (they are amazing btw, seriously mind-blowing), had one for an afternoon snack and one for dessert. Today i gave my boyfriend the rest to take to work, saving one to have after yoga as my indulgence of the day.

    I find I lose weight most successfully when I eat the things i crave. I eat one or two and make a point if really enjoying it. It’s certainly better than eating ten and feeling guilty.

    Food is to be loved, enjoyed, and appreciated, not feared. I love your blog vecausenit expresses an absolute love of food in a healthy, fun, vibrant manner.

    Keep doing what you are doing!

  • jen
    August 11, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    This post really resonates with me, i completely agree with your philosophy. I used to be scared of butter and lard and bacon, now i embrace it and i get so much more satisfaction eating the real thing than substituting it for a lower fat version. And yes, MODERATION and keeping active is key to a healthy lifestyle πŸ™‚ something i advocate on my blog too. btw, love your recipes!

  • Brianne DeCesare
    August 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Your blog is the main reason I really took a step back and reevaluated the way I was eating and living. Counting every calorie and gram of fat that enters your body on a daily basis is NOT normal…everything in moderation is truly the key! Eat well, stay fit, be happy. I love your philosophy…thanks so much for blogging! You changed my life πŸ™‚

  • Megan @ Healthy Hoggin
    August 11, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Amen, sister! One of the reasons I love your blog is that you eat REAL food– I wouldn’t want a recipe for low-fat, sugar-free cookies, because I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t taste nearly as good as the ones you posted yesterday! And sometimes a girl just needs a REAL cookie. (and like you said, ONE cookie isn’t going to make you fat!)

    I think you’ve got a very HEALTHY outlook on life, and appreciate seeing that in your blog! πŸ˜€

  • Laura (Starloz)
    August 12, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I’m pretty sure this post needs to be spread EVERYWHERE!

    I’m completely with you on this one.

    Its all about balance, self control & understanding

  • Catherine @ jumbleberry orchard
    August 12, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I’ve read far too many ‘health blogs’ that have made me feel as if I need to limit everything I eat, run a 10km race every week and be in the gym at 6am every day. Basically, they’ve made me feel unfit, unhealthy and on the verge of obesity (which I am most definitely not). So I stopped reading them.

    Your blog makes me feel good; I see a gorgeous, glowing woman who enjoys cooking, eating, the outdoors, wine – all the things I love. I don’t want to be like you, that’d be wierd for you at best, but I admire you, and I love reading your blog. I believe that all ‘real’ foods are healthy (I woulnd’t go near splenda for all the calorie-free cookie magic in the world, but that’s another story), it’s our attitude to food which makes it unhealthy. Your attitude is so healthy, making this a blog about healthy eating.

    Thanks, for everything you do on here – I love it! πŸ™‚

  • Julia @ Brit Bride
    August 12, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Great post, great philosophy – any you are right! It does work!


  • Michelle@Eatingjourney
    August 12, 2010 at 3:15 am

    I am beginning to learn that self-control is really about self-respect of your emotions….at least for me. I think it’s easy to say ‘because I have self-control’….but I think that even for you, I would gander, that it comes out of a balanced approach to how you live your life and the inherent respect you have for yourself. Perhaps you could discuss that more. Have you struggled with self-control and what is able to bring you back to it?

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    August 12, 2010 at 4:02 am

    I could not agree more. For real.

    I eat mostly healthy breakfasts, dinners, lunches, etc. But let dessert taste like dessert. I use butter and can’t imagine using anything else.

    Moderation, moderation, moderation. SO true! πŸ˜€

  • Logan
    August 12, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Way to go! You are maturing in your thinking and in your reactions to other people’s words. Please don’t take offense to that! It is a compliment. I’ve been following you for a little over a year and there is a real change to you. Your way of thinking makes great sense to me and by the way, your photography is getting pretty darned good too!
    Keep up the good work.

  • Alina
    August 12, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I love this post! (except I am pretty sure Crisco hasn’t been around forever …) Your approach makes so much more sense than downing tubs of fat-free junk that’s marketed as healthy, and you are doing a great job putting it out there!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie
    August 12, 2010 at 4:41 am

    I completely agree with you on this. There’s a reason there’s a fad called the Mediterranean Diet……they ate real, whole foods in small portions and worked really hard! It’s sort of difficult not to be healthy living that way,

  • Kim
    August 12, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Could not agree more! I am 35 years old and literally just figured this out. Restriction is not healthy- everything in moderation. Good for you!!!

  • Emma
    August 12, 2010 at 5:22 am

    You’re awesome.

  • wendy
    August 12, 2010 at 5:26 am

    I completely agree Jenna. Thats why I like your blog so much because you eat like a real person and not two greenbeans and an apple for lunch. And its true everything in moderation and the fact that things that are made with real sugar and butter and crisco for that fact fill you up and keep you full longer. All I can say is THANK YOU for staying true to yourself and what you believe in. It makes it that much easier for people like me who learn to eat things in moderation and excersize just so you can enjoy that cookie or buiscut or whatever it may be. I will continue reading your blog as long as its on here. Its my favorite πŸ™‚

  • Kerry
    August 12, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Rock on Jenna.

  • Rosey Rebecca
    August 12, 2010 at 5:53 am

    We live by the same mantra: Everything in moderation. I work at a cafe and have to organize a dessert case of brownies and cookies every time I work. I’ll admit, sometimes I’ll grab a cookie right off of the pan, fresh from the oven, but I don’t over do it. I tell myself that I don’t need to eat just because they’re there, and if I do, that’s ok. I also drink wine by the gallon.

    I have an ankle injury right now that is preventing me from working out as much. I am trying to eat as clean as possible but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    I try not to feel bad about it bc I know that in 3 weeks, I’ll get back into my exercise schedule and feel fine!

  • Amanda
    August 12, 2010 at 5:59 am

    This is a great post! It shows everyone you don’t have to sacrifice eating real and good tasting food just because a fear of gaining weight. Moderation is best for eating and anything in life!

  • Christina
    August 12, 2010 at 6:03 am

    YES yes yes! I absolutely agree. I LOVE your blog and food philosophy.

  • Rose-Anne
    August 12, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Yes. I just have to chime in and say YES. On the subject of cookies, which is near and dear to my heart, I’ve noticed that sometimes when it’s a batch of “healthy” cookies, it’s easy to justify eating, like, five of them. But if you’ve got the old-fashioned kind of cookie sitting in front of you, it’s really hard to convinced yourself that it’s okay to eat five. One or two is enough. Okay, maybe three πŸ˜‰

    I love your zest and enthusiasm for food of all kinds.

  • leslie
    August 12, 2010 at 6:18 am

    i think you are one of the few bloggers that really has the healthy balance thing down (or at least appears to!). food is a joyous part of life, and i truly believe in taking pleasure in it in the way you do. sticking with real ingredients (including butter, cream, etc), engaging in some activity, and staying mindful most of the time: that is health. agreed 100%!

  • Maria
    August 12, 2010 at 6:26 am

    You Go Girl!!!

  • saramariesue
    August 12, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Amen!!! Someone that knows what they are talking about πŸ™‚ I myself do not believe in “diet foods”. I highly believe and preach moderation. And who in the world wants to eat fake, laboratory made “butter” or any other such foods. Seriously can’t be good for you. Real thing in real portions please.

  • Deanna
    August 12, 2010 at 6:45 am

    LOVE this post. Love your philosophy. Love, love, love! It ain’t called EAT LIVE RUN for nothin’! πŸ˜‰

  • Danielle
    August 12, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I love your food philosophy. I agree whole heartedly.Thank you for sharing. Now, if I could only eat one cookie……..

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow
    August 12, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Brilliant words Jenna! I just returned from my honeymoon = three weeks in Italy and France. People keep asking how we didn’t gain 10 pounds while we were gone. Actually, I might have lost a pound or two (wouldn’t know, don’t like the scale).

    In other regions of the world, food is respected. Food is loved. And enjoyed, without thinking about the ingredients or the calorie count.

    A taste of this and that goes a long way when it isn’t about deprivation, what you should or SHOULD NOT have. Food is meant to nourish our bodies, our minds and our soul. I love your philosophy! But it works for me and for many it might not!

  • Claire
    August 12, 2010 at 6:58 am

    OMG, WHAT is that dish with the buscuit!? It looks delish!!!

  • Kris
    August 12, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I agree! I live by the same philosophy.
    You have to be disciplined. But if you are,

  • Kris
    August 12, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I agree! And live by the same principle.
    It gets a little harder as you get older.
    But by then you’re used to being disciplined. You ju

  • Jessica
    August 12, 2010 at 7:03 am


  • Jenny
    August 12, 2010 at 7:13 am

    While I agree it isn’t “rocket science”, some of us do still struggle with food addiction and maintaining a healthy balance. Even when you understand that it’s important to balance your food choices, emotions and struggles with food can still get in the way. Just thought you should know that it seemed a bit condescending.

    • Jackie
      August 12, 2010 at 9:59 am

      I agree, Jenny. While I agree with Jenna’s food philosophy 100% in THEORY, it’s not always as easy in practice. Guess what? To some, it really is as complicated as rocket science… if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

  • Bunji
    August 12, 2010 at 7:38 am

    The pictures of the food are amazing!!

  • Carly
    August 12, 2010 at 7:50 am


  • Krista
    August 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I couldn’t agree more!! Eating real food is the way to go!

  • Emily
    August 12, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Love your food philosophy! I couldn’t agree more. You won’t find fat-free anything in my house. I use natural, wholesome ingredients in my cooking and baking, eat in moderation, and exercise regularly. P.S. I baked your cookies this week, and my coworkers LOVED them!

  • Leslie
    August 12, 2010 at 8:10 am

    BRAVO for common sense and living well!!

  • Carrie
    August 12, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I wish philosophies like this were readily available to me as a teenager & in my college years – it’s so important for young woman to grasp these types of lessons! I hope you have a lot of young readers.

  • Carrie
    August 12, 2010 at 8:48 am

    One more thing regarding REAL FOOD – for the past 2 years I’ve suffered from regular headaches, after trying every pill to combat this, I removed Splenda from my diet. No headaches since! I now use real sugar for everything, and guess what? – no change in my weight (though it wouldn’t even bother me, being headache-free it too great.)

  • Paj
    August 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Thank you, thank you , thank you for these words.

  • crunchy granola gal
    August 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

    ditto ditto ditto. i know it’s already been stated in a billion other posts, but i agree. and thank you. i’ll take a real bagel over a bagel thin any day of the week. and regarding ice cream – one scoop (or two?) of the real stuff every once in awhile ain’t gonna kill you!

    i’m loving your awesome and REAL food recipes as of late. keep ’em comin’!

  • Marina
    August 12, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I love your food philosophy. I really would like to have the same, and I hope I’ll be able to achieve it πŸ™‚

  • Alex
    August 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

    right on girl! you nailed it!

  • Blair
    August 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

    You took the words right out of my mouth! My weight tends to fluctuate (whose doesn’t!) but I am a firm believer that you can eat whatever you want and enjoy yourself (eating is one of the many joys in life!) without suffering…all you need is a little moderation πŸ™‚ Btw-I’ll be at HLS Saturday morning bright and early at 6:45 am…can’t wait to see you there!!!

  • CKrupin
    August 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

    I totally agree with your food philosophy, Jenna!! I’m a new reader of your blog – a friend of mine turned me on to it – and I just can’t get enough!! I agree that great food needs to be experienced in life, and you can maintain a healthy lifestyle if you balance great food in moderation with other healthy items in your diet, and staying active! I live in NYC, so I eat out A LOT – and also cook a lot – so maintaining a balance to stay fit while being a “foodie” is a challenge, but well worth it. I’ve been documenting my adventures in food in a blog too – You’re definitely a source of inspiration – I too love to write, cook, dine out, and enjoy LIFE! Keep up the awesome blogging πŸ™‚ I know I’ll continue to eat it up!

  • Jenna
    August 12, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I love this, it is so true! I agree with previous posters that this blog has changed in a way, but I think that it has gotten even better! It went from being strictly about healthy eating, showing us your three meals a day, to more of a healthy LIVING blog. Where it’s not all about what you are eating for every. single. meal., but more about how you are eating things you enjoy, whether it be an indulgance, or a healthy salad, doing things you enjoy, trying new things, and living. your. life. Good for you! I love reading this blog, and living vicariously through you as I sit at my desk from 9 to 5 πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work!!

  • The Healthy Apple
    August 12, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Fabulous, fabulous post, Jenna!

  • Calantha
    August 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Well said!

  • Cara
    August 12, 2010 at 10:52 am

    You make everything sound so easy. “I bake a batch and only eat one” Not too many people can do that !!!
    And of course you have to exercise 5 day s a week , with all that eating out and rich food you would be not so lean.
    Your comment about “rocket science” is rude.

    • Sarah
      August 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      I have to agree with Cara in that not too many people have the willpower to sit down to freshly baked cookies and eat only one. Also, Jenna, you are fortunate in that you don’t work a 9-5 job, as you admitted. You have the freedom to exercise as much (or as little) as you choose. I imagine you also have the liberty to exercise during non-peak hours, whether it be outdoors or inside a gym, where it’s not packed with people and exercise can actually be enjoyable. For the general population, exercise is not something fun because 1) they are so busy with a 9-5 job, and 2) they either have to exercise at 6am or 6pm when sidewalks/biking paths/gyms are crowded with other people. Hence, why exercise is generally not enjoyed by the masses (aside from perhaps disliking it in general). My point is that for many people it’s just not possible for them to work out 5 days a week, I don’t care what the surgeon general or any health freaks try to say.

      I agree with your food philosophy that portion is key and that real ingredients are best. But there are many reasons why people can’t control their portion sizes – because of either habit or emotional issues – and, quite frankly, sitting down in front of a pizza, plate of cookies, or tray of tacos is not easy when you think of having “only a little”. Hell, I am fortunate enough to be 5’1″ and 100 lbs, and even I have absolutely no portion control when around my favorite foods. I am lucky enough to have a fast metabolism, but if I didn’t, I would be 200 lbs for sure.

      • Becky
        August 12, 2010 at 3:48 pm

        She’s saying it’s not rocket science because, um, it isn’t. Yes, it’s hard for some people to control their cravings, but the message she’s trying to convey is that it’s a tried and true method of eating that people tell you over and over, and she’s able to follow it. Yes, it’s hard to exercise when you can only get to the gym during peak hours (i know as well as the next person), but I also do know that sidewalks are never so crowded they’re totally un-runnable, and my living room where I do Jillian Michaels workout videos is usually pretty dead, too.

        It’s a simple mantra that serves her well — that’s all she’s trying to say.

  • LadyLara
    August 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I agree with your approach to eating good food in moderation, however I don’t think most people have that kind of willpower. Myself included!

    Eating what you want in small doses and exercising does not insure you will be skinny. I think a large part of that is genetics. Many of us have to work very, very hard just to keep in the “normal” range. As we age, this becomes even more true.

    • Kristin
      August 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      If you honestly have to work that hard, please talk to your doctor about it. While it is true that metabolism slows down with age, a general rule as to how we look is 70% nutrition, 20% exercise, and 10% genetics.

      • LadyLara
        August 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

        My situation is not unusual, in fact I think it’s the norm. Perhaps not in the world of healthy food blogs, but in the pop at large.

  • Beth
    August 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Agreed – good work!

  • Kristin
    August 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Jenna, you rule. I make almost every recipe you post. I get excited when I see new ones. I try new food because of it. My family loves me because I cook for them more often. I think this is one of the best, and my personal favorite, food blogs out there because it has obviously evolved over the years to fit your lifestyle changes and I’m kind of digging the sharing of lovely food that is happening currently. I can’t wait for your book!

  • Kelli
    August 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Jenna, you rock πŸ™‚ I could not agree more! And you write it SO well!!

  • julie
    August 12, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    You eat real food, made with real ingredients, that most real people make and eat. I don’t know one person “in real life” who bakes with spelt four and agave and whatever else is the “in” thing in blog world. You are the real deal.

  • Rhea (Greek Feaster)
    August 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    “They ate small portions of the real thing, plowed their fields and called it a day. I choose to cook with simple ingredients that celebrate how food should really taste.”
    Love this and all the rest, Jenna. Thanks for posting. Going to share this one with my mama.

  • Danielle
    August 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I love this post! Rock on lady!

  • dotsie
    August 13, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Well-said, fabulous post. Funny that readers commented on your physique in regards to your baking…I just never thought about it! LOL

    I agree with you 110% and think we have all the cancers and diseases we have because of the fake foods we now consume…I swear babies in Louisiana are born with HUGE heads-and I blame all the garbage food we have down here and where the food comes from!

  • amber@SAHM's musings
    August 13, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Coming out of lurker mode to say…Love your blog, this post, and butter! Rock it! You’re an inspiration and I like that you’re keepin’ it real. I’ll be back even after your 2.0 launch πŸ™‚

  • Dee
    August 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    All I can say is: Thank. God. ! I love your food philosophy, it’s my own as well, I pay attention to the stories about Italians and the French who eat food “fit” Americans are afraid of, but who have far fewer health issues than Americans do. Portions, people: portions.

    A friend of mine had a French friend visiting here (Bay Area), her first US visit. When we all went to a restaurant and our plates were served, the French visitor burst out laughing. She thought the huge plate of food served was some sort of joke! Meanwhile, her daily breakfast was a slice of baguette with *real* butter. And she was thin as a rail.

    I look forward to continued reading of your real-food-celebration blog!

  • Jolene (
    August 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Cudos to you for this post – I have the same philosophy, and a lot of people don’t get it.

  • Alison (Fueling for Fitness)
    August 17, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I think I just fell in love with your blog even more than I already did. πŸ™‚

  • Kari
    October 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    This has always been my food philosophy, and you have articulated it beautifully!! I, too, work out a lot (probably 8-9 times a week) – a mix of yoga, rock-climbing, and running mostly – and I really do “eat whatever I want” IN MODERATION! It’s a lovely life. Glad to see others are enjoying it, too πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie Midkiff
    November 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I JUST discovered your blog today when I found your white chicken chili recipe. When I saw this post I decided I will be a faithful follower of your blog. I totally agree with everything you wrote, I started thinking this way after reading the book, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. No doubt, you’ve already read it. Thank you for so eloquently expressing how I feel and try to live my life!!

    • jenna
      November 18, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      aww thank you! Glad to have you!

  • Emma
    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Jenna I really enjoy your blog and I think you have just the right approach to healthy living and eating. I think that too often people view food with fear and can’t enjoy it. I am in recovery for an eating disorder that thrived on an unhealthy and fearful relationship with food, I can assure you that butter was not included in my diet for quite some time. Now I have to reteach myself how to look at food as a positive thing and your writing and attitude is an inspiration for where I would like to be. Thank you so much and keep living well.

  • Ariel
    July 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Amen, sister! I LOVE your food philosophy, as mine is so similar. And, it’s awesome that you’re also a Christian. My mom raised me to keep in mind lessons from the Bible regarding moderation and a healthy approach to living a balanced, compassionate life. Keep it up!

  • Anna @ Food Fitness and Frolicking
    August 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    What an AWESOME post. I love your blog and congratulate your great approach to food..what an inspiration!

  • Cami
    August 16, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Hear! Hear! Thank you thank you for this post.

  • Jessica @
    September 12, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Love this post! So true! πŸ™‚

  • Katie
    November 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I agree with what you wrote, with one small addition. And although I have just discovered this blog yesterday, it seems you do already, maybe unknowingly. Variety. I believe it’s very important to get a variety of foods in your diet, in order to get many different nutrients. Between that, portion control and exercise I think that’s the recipe for good health!