I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to switch up my diet in an attempt to clean up my lifestyle. Every new year’s resolution and last-minute quest for a summer bikini body starts with a complete overhaul of my pantry and a stock-up of veggies in my fridge. My motivation is usually short-lived, as I can’t seem to part with some of my favorite carb-riddled processed snacks. When I came across Amber Butcher, aka @primalmom, I was amazed to see that she had done what I had never had the strength to do. In the pursuit of living a clean, unprocessed life, the mother of three woke up one morning and emptied her pantry of anything boxed, canned, and processed. In that moment, Primal Mom was born.
Almost seven years after the ransack of her pantry, Butcher, who lives in Southlake with her family, has created a following on her Instagram and blog by sharing unique recipes and tips for living what she calls an “unprocessed life.” After discovering her, I poured over her blog posts and her two online cookbooks (she’s currently writing her third), as well as some light Instagram stalking. Clearly, I was excited to hear about her journey. I sat down with her last week and got to know the real Primal Mom.
Amber Butcher: Everything started after I had my second son (he’s now seven). I had significant post-partum issues, so I started researching natural ways to balance out your hormones and deal with the baby blues. I came across tons of information about how food plays a huge role in just that. I literally woke up the next morning, cleaned out our pantry, and threw away everything boxed, canned, and processed and started from scratch.
My husband jumped on board with me. Both of us, together, lost about 70 pounds in a few months, solely due to the way we were eating. My husband also had psoriasis. He stopped taking medication and it went away completely. It’s never been back. It was a no brainer for us—this was we wanted to raise our children.
AB: I did not know how to cook at all! I knew how to boil and egg and that was about it. So, not only did I have to teach myself how to cook, I had to teach myself how to cook with unprocessed, clean ingredients. I had probably never used a spice in my life at that point, so it was a huge learning experience for me. But I will say, within a couple of weeks I can’t even describe the difference in my mood and the way I felt as a new mom.
In a typical day.
AB: I do a lot of meal prep on Mondays. I typically get breakfast made for the week. It’s always some egg dish that I can heat up for my kids in the morning along with some fruit, as opposed to doing cereal or instant oatmeal. I also have a fabulous grain-free chicken nugget recipe that my kids absolutely love. And of course, my husband takes soup with him every day for work. So, I meal prep soup for him as well.
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On grocery shopping.
AB: Central Market is really great. They offer the clean and organic food I need, and they also have great spices in bulk. They have like 200 spices you can put in little baggies that are so inexpensive. It is my go-to place.
About the blog.
AB:When I initially started offering my meal plans online, I was emailing out janky-word documents, which is so embarrassing looking back now. I had been a stay at home mom so I had to re-learn technology a bit. I purchased the website to streamline everything, and initially called it “primal mom and the birds” which was shortened to “Primal mom.” I didn’t start Instagram until like two years ago, and I absolutely did not expect to gain such a following. It’s still crazy to me how this little hobby turned into a full-fledged business.
There are a lot of moms out there looking for healthy ways to feed their kids. “Primal Mom” has stuff they are actually going to eat.
On her new cookbook.
AB: I have two other cookbooks that are e-cookbooks, but this will be the first in print. Right now, I’m still recipe developing and getting them all approved by my kids. I’ve started adapting a lot of the recipes I ate as a child into “primal” recipes. The idea is to get those comfort foods, but with clean ingredients.
If you want to live like Primal Mom…
AB: The best thing you can do is just start. Not everything has to be super clean, just small changes, like transitioning from frozen and canned vegetables to fresh produce, are easy and impactful. I went full force throwing everything away, but I don’t think everyone needs to do all that to live healthier.