Baby Steps Part Two: Make Peace with Your Kitchen

In my first "baby steps" post, I talked about the importance of finding and establishing a support system for transitioning to a traditional foods diet. This was a very important step for me. After establishing support, the next step is to make peace with the fact that you will need to be in your kitchen more than ever before. Don't worry, this baby step doesn't plunge you into the kitchen and make you change everything overnight. Today we just begin to make peace with the concept that you will be doing more cooking than ever before.

Two important maxims to ponder when making the transition to real foods:

1) "If I want to eat it, then I better figure out how to make it!"

2) "The only processed food we're going to eat is that which is processed by me in my kitchen!"

I also offer the following from Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind, who says the following in her "Top 10 Nutritional Mistakes":

[from #8 Believing that Junk food in Moderation is OK]
" ......the only genuinely safe amount of trans-fats in anyone’s diet is
ZERO. A single serving of trans-fat in French fries or chips may take up to two
years for one’s body to fully eliminate, and its biological effects on your
system in the meantime are chaotic and anyone’s guess as to how deleterious they
are likely to be. Is “occasional” Russian roulette an “OK” thing? MSG is an
excitotoxin and always does some degree of neurological damage. Is neurological
damage “in moderation” OK? Furthermore, sugar consumption in any quantity is
damaging and dysregulating to the system. Some of the effects are reversible and
some not. Ultimately, it is the cumulative effect associated with glycation and
insulin production that determine our health and life span. We live in a world
where we can ill-afford any compromise to our health or well-being. Every meal
matters. Is “a little hormonal chaos” or “just a tad” of systemic damage

Let's face it: good, real food can be expensive. It's so much cheaper to buy the Hellman's Mayo, for example, then the fancy French stuff that costs $6.00. Most people, before transitioning to traditional foods, wouldn't even consider making their own mayo, yet it's so quick and easy and infinitely more nutritious! (By the way, Cheeseslave tells you how and why you should make your own mayo here.)

Mayo is just one example of a simple food you can make at home for much cheaper than the price of an equal-quality item at the Health Food Store. Yogurt is another delicious traditional food and can be made simply and cheaply at home, and the result will be a much more nutritious yogurt for the money!

The amount of transition will ultimately depend upon your dependence upon processed foods. Remember, most processed foods either didn't exist or were made from scratch by our great-grandmothers and grandmothers.

We've allowed big business to rob us women of the joys of baking homemade breads, and other healthy baked goods! The store-bought alternatives are some of the most unhealthy foods that exist (white-flour, hydrogenated oil-laded crackers, pastries and breads: these are the nutrient-robbing foods!)

Nutrient-robbing foods are foods that actually take nutrients out of your body in order to help digest the foods. Improperly prepared grains are a great example. Since they contain high amounts of phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption, your body is actually loosing nutrients in order to balance the acid load processed grain foods leave on your system. For more info on the damaging affect of processed grains, check out this awesome post by Cheeseslave: "Do Bread and Cereal Cause Cavities?"

The kitchen is a place of healing and a place of power. When we as cooks reclaim that authority from the profit-seeking businesses that seek to rob us of our health and our children's health, we begin to feel the grace of empowerment to nourish our families.

The motivation to do all the "work" of traditional food preparation must always be rooted in love. For our families, for our Creator, for the generations to come. The love becomes most important ingredient in all of our cooking, and the true medicine of healing!

This love must begin in us as we recognize and accept our roles to be nourishers and healers for our families. So before we pantry purge, meal plan, or start shopping for all the new "stuff" we need for traditional foods, we need to stop.

We need to understand why we are making the transition and let the health of our families be the motivation to go against the (unprocessed) grain, and to think outside the (mac and cheese) box.

Homework for Baby Step #2:

1) Declutter your kitchen. Find those items which you don't use anymore and put them away in a box. If you find yourself needing the item, then it can make its way back into your kitchen. One big item you may not need anymore is your microwave. I got rid of mine for health reasons and to make more space for cooking nourishing foods! Here's how I get by without it.

2) Consider purchasing some child-sized cooking utensils, aprons, and stools so that you can involve your children in cooking. The time you invest in teaching these habits to your children will pay off in the long run!

3) Make a list of the processed foods you have at home. Don't be judgemental about it; just notice what you have. We'll use this list in a future baby step!


Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie,
I've been enjoying your blog for a few months and I've been meaning to ask this question. What advice do you give to a person/family transitioning to a real food diet regarding eating at other peoples homes? If junk food is not ok in moderation, then would you suggest asking the host where their ingredients are coming from, and potentially turn down the invitation? I'm a huge proponent of real food and I try to help demystify the cooking experience as much as possible, but I don't know what to say if I'm invited into someone's home who might be heating up a Stouffer's lasagna.
Any thoughts? Thanks,

Vin - NaturalBias said...

Great point about eating bad food in moderation! Unfortunately, some people will be turned off from a traditional whole food diet the minute you tell them that they should never eat processed foods with bad ingredients. Instead, I like to tell people that while they can still enjoy good health despite eating such foods on rare occasion, it still comes at a cost, and the more they do it, the more it will impact their health.

I think this is important since simply getting someone to make the switch is more than half the battle. Once they appreciate the value of real food, they'll be less likely to want bad foods anyway.

It's certainly a step in the right direction to eat less food containing things like trans-fat and MSG than to simply not bother making an effort at all!

Zenseer said...

Great post! Especially after watching the movie "Supersize Me".

I agree with Vin, ounce you taste Real Food, you don't want to go back to Nasty Food. The body knows what's right and I believe that children especially understand this.

My husband who was a junk food & pizza addict is now enjoying my almond flour pizza much better than what's sold out there.

Meg said...

I'm not such a fan of the quote "#8". I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and slowly transitioning my family to a better diet. I agree with Vin that the cold turkey from the quote is a big turn off for someone just starting. It just makes me feel SOOOO discouraged...like this isn't something I can actually do. Why even try--if even one mistake will cost me for years?? And my husgand isn't completely 100% on board, so he occasionally feeds our daughter things I'm not thrilled about. I definitely understand the point that it should be a motivating idea, but it just makes me feel more guilty and overwhelmed than anything! It is inevitable someone just starting will make mistakes, how do you avoid the guilt?

Carrie @ OrganicThrifty said...

Great points, everyone!

I think the reason I included #8 was to prevent the inevitable "slippery slope" notion and to help us not be tempted to compromise.

That being said, I do think that we should bar any guilt during the transition, because that's exactly what it is, a transition!

I didn't mean for the comment to be discouraging or guilt-inducing, but I can see how it could be taken that way. It just goes to show how judicious we need to be about what we eat (when we have control).

I think the human body is an amazing thing, and when nourished with real food, it can certainly handle the occasional "non-real" meal.

That being said, some people (like my daughter) can't just eat a little bit of gluten and be okay later. Most people who invite us over know that and adjust for us, or else I simply bring a dish that we can eat.

When someone invites you over, you can always offer to bring a side dish or a dessert (I love to bring dessert because then everyone can enjoy it!) This works well for us.

I don't think we should strain at gnats when we are guests; we need to thankfully receive the hospitality of others and not worry too much about it later.


Keep doing what you're doing!! It's a process, and we all take our own journey to get there. I think the degree to which we choose "cold turkey" depends on the seriousness of our health issues.

Great discussion!

Carrie @ OrganicThrifty said...

One more thought, as I realize my response above may have seemed jumbled:

1) Junk food in moderation is obviously better than junk food all the time.

2) That said, we need to remember what the real affects of processed foods, GMOs, transfats, and sugar foods are in our diets and each of us must personally weigh those affects to determine (based on our health) how quickly to make that transition.

I have met folks on the GAPS diet (including our daughter) who simply cannot compromise. There are lots of kids with autism spectrum disorders, depression, celiac, etc. for whom this is also true.

I guess that when I include strong quotes like "#8", I'm coming from the perspective of our serious situation.

I guess the bottom line is: junk food is never good for you, but if you're going to have it, have as little as possible and strive to phase it out as much as possible.

Stick with me; I promise I'm not here to discourage!!!

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