When we were writing our last book, Stacy polled our Facebook page for the one single word that they would use be associated with us, and by far and away the word used was “real.” It’s why we used that word in the title of our monumental book, Real Life Paleo! And it took us down the path of beginning to think about what we really were to our community.
It was almost 7 years ago that Stacy moved from her personal blogging over at LiveJournal (yes, we’re THAT old) to writing down thoughts on a Tumbr. The original thought was that given our situation of being a working mom and stay at home dad, we had a unique perspective to share about our family’s success and struggles. But as we starting living a Paleo lifestyle, the blog quickly turned into a place to share the recipes friends would beg for after bringing grain-free and refined-sugar-free cookies to potlucks.
At the time there were less than half a dozen paleo blogs and most were fitness-oriented. We wanted to share the story of how adapting the lifestyle changed ALL of our lives for the better – from Stacy & Matt’s 200lb weight loss to the boys going off medications like daily inhalers and improved behavior of their attention disorders. So we bought a domain and began blogging about being parents who were paleo, trying to prove that this was something anyone could do to improve their health – not just single people addicted to CrossFit (as seemed the preponderance of Paleo bloggers at the time).
Before we knew it we were fortunate enough to be providing inspiration to thousands of families online who also had children with food allergies or intolerances and wanting to live a healthier life by eating real foods. We became known as the Paleo Parents, instead of just parents who were paleo – among our many other interests and passions. While we’ve become known in the community for always being REAL among everything else, we also lost sight of all those other “real” parts about ourselves – the passions that originally started our personal blog.
Then as time went on, we experienced great loss – Matt’s brother lost his life-long battle with mental health. We became foster parents. Our passions changed, we realized the elitist bubble we’d put ourselves in and how harmful that was. Especially through a multi-year global pandemic, we saw how toxic the wellness industry can be – how very detrimental to public health for all. We’re now on a mission to continue our education and share about the negative effects of diet culture, and beyond.
The cost was high.
Quite honestly, while we know being “popular” bloggers seems glamorous – we were using up our savings to run the blog. We’d had some technical issues when our blog became more heavily trafficked, so we started using a dedicated hosting service provider. It costs not an insignificant amount of money to make sure free recipes never hiccuped for our audience. Then because we were busy raising our kids, writing books, and working a full-time job, we hired a team of people who helped us run vendor relations, active engagement with our audience, and graphics since we knew nothing about that. We hired baby sitters to watch our kids while we worked every weekend and missed out on doing the fun and playful things we were telling other people to do – which was ironically the reason Stacy had found Paleo to begin with: so she could be more active with her kids.
While we were endlessly motivated by the audience we’d fallen so in love with and connected to, we grew resentful of the time and money we were spending administering the blog, instead of being able to focus on having fun and just sharing and enjoying the things that simply compelled us. While we grew exhausted of having to defend parts of the blog that weren’t necessarily perfectly paleo or about parenting, we began thinking about what our true passions were. What we wanted to blog about. Which is when we decided we wanted to pull back and just run a personal blog again. One that was just about us, about anything we wanted to share – we wanted to be able to be real about everything.
What an awesome realization it was! Immediately the spark of creativity hit us – we knew we wanted to do less recipes (since Stacy works during school hours food photography always means taking time away from the family) and were hit with ideas for many other things we did want to do – like talk about other healthy lifestyle aspects (such as safer skincare and body love).
We no longer associate with “paleo.”
Of course, we still mindful of what our bodies respond well to – Stacy avoids gluten and nightshades, Matt stays gluten-free, and the teens are all navigating what works for them in the real world. We’re not abandoning everything we believe – after all, this is about being REAL. But our diet and lifestyle isn’t “perfect” (it never has been). We do what works for us, and that might not work for you – that’s OK, that’s why there are hundreds (thousands) of free recipes on our blog so you can find ones that DO work for you!
While we still absolutely plan to share recipes on the blog – they won’t be the majority of posts anymore and they won’t all be “clean paleo.” You’ll begin seeing recipes with foods the way our family REALLY eats – with high quality dairy, white rice, and whatever else is on our table. We’ll also be talking more about other things that are important to us and our personal beliefs. That might not mirror how you feel or believe. Again, that’s OK – what makes this world fantastic is the diversity among us!
We may not be for you, that’s OK.
Like the thought provoking posts we had always written about the Paleo community, we will begin expanding our library to other topics that matter to us. You’ll likely learn our religious and political beliefs – since those are things that matter to us personally and we aim to have a REAL, honest, and open personal blog. And while our soap-box-rants may stir your emotions, we hope to be able to engage in a mutually respectful dialog in order for each of us to expand our minds.
Lastly, if the blog is just not your cup of tea anymore – that’s OK. We don’t want to force you to be here! You’re welcome to just come and search through our recipes or leave altogether. It’s why we’ve sorted the blog into categories and sections for you. We hope that our approach to following what truly moves us, what makes us happy, and what helps us be our best selves can in some way serve as inspiration for you to do the same.
Whatever situation you may find yourself in today, remember that you are your own destiny. If you let fear drive you away from change, you will never be able to succeed because you stopped yourself before you could start. Reckless abandon isn’t needed – it took us a year to respectfully make this transition, and it’s still not complete. Whether it’s a blog, a diet, a lifestyle, or a career – we each deserve to be happy and healthy. We created that vision of happiness for ourselves and we followed it. There’s nothing more we could possibly hope to inspire you to do! ♥