Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Monday Mission: Take Charge of Your Health with One Big Change

September 15th, 2014 · Monday Missions

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to decide on One Big Change you want to tackle in your health – just ONE, folks, baby steps here! – and then One Simple Thing you can do to move toward making a big change.

It gets too overwhelming to do it all at once, I get that. I shared last week about how our baby steps were so small and spread out, and not even all that focused on the One Big Health Goal we probably should have been working hard on but didn’t even realize it, that we hardly noticed we had achieved better health until looking back over the past six years. (Read our story HERE.)

#MyNewNormal Greatest Health Challenge

What I love most about sharing our stories here on KS – beyond the fact that those posts become the most detailed medical history anyone could imagine – is how others get inspired and encouraged by real life success (and even struggling) stories. I so very much appreciate hearing about your frustrations, your fears, your own struggles, and especially your progress on the road to better health.

Ryan’s story is inspiring, too, and I wanted to share it with you today. He’s the husband over at Keeper of the Home and one half of the two husband-wife couples that created the Ultimate Bundles business.

You can go right to about the 1 minute mark in the video below for the multi-tiered health crisis Ryan encountered – and seriously, how OLD does he look?

(Answer: NOT OLD at all, and I’m pretty sure the crisis he described happened in his 20s when he was a father of at least a few of his now four young children…scary…)

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4 NEW Real Food Recipes for Fall Produce

September 13th, 2014 · Recipes

Autumn Real Food Recipes

Poor fall.

I always get so excited about summer produce coming, and every year, I forget that the sweet spot for fresh, local and yummy – at least in Michigan – is really fall.

Tomatoes and peppers are still in abundance in early fall, squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin sustain us all year round because they’re so easy to puree and freeze, and apples, of course…well, let’s just say we buy 400 pounds of apples each fall. ‘Nuf said. Smile

I’ve recently received a bit of a windfall of e-cookbooks, in case you hadn’t heard, and as I go through them, of course there are recipes that catch my eye in every one, but there were a few that stood out as "great fits" for my family. I figure if on a quick skim, I’m marking 5-8 recipes I want to try, the eBooks is a winner – and I also figure that if I’m finding family-friendly, easy-enough-looking recipes that I want to try, the KS readers who enjoy my own recipes will probably like them too! (Did you see yesterday’s protein-packed white sauce with that secret ingredient?)

I asked the authors of four of my new e-cookbooks for permission to share a seasonal autumn recipe with you all, and they generously obliged.

winter squash (1) (475x356)

A unique soup, a soufflé, a salad…and a ball. 

I’m excited to share them with you!

(Just so it’s clear, I haven’t made these myself – yet – but they jumped out to me as "I could do this; I want to try this," and I hope they speak to you, too!)

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Recipe Connection: Gluten-Free, Protein-Packed White Sauce with Chicken and Rice

September 12th, 2014 · Recipes

Chicken and Rice with White Sauce Recipe (Gluten-Free and High Protein! Check out the Secret Ingredient) :: via Kitchen Stewardship

Your guests will never guess the secret ingredient on this one!

I’m a big fan of beans for both frugality and nutrition, and in spite of some eating plans that eschew their phytates, lectins or starches, we still incorporate them into meals often.

You can nail many of the anti-nutrients with a long, warm soak and a long, slow cook, so make your own from dry beans whenever possible. If you can’t, I recommend Eden Foods brand, the only brand I know of to use a long soak, include kombu for digestibility, and package them in BPA-free cans.

But some people…some folks don’t like beans.

I used to be one of them, so I know just how it goes.

The texture is too mushy or too chalky.

The flavor just isn’t doing it for them.

Or maybe they just had a bad experience with a bum bean recipe so they never try them again.
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Baby Step Changes May have Saved my Husband’s Life Without us Even Noticing

September 11th, 2014 · My Story


It seems like a page out of someone else’s life when I think about my husband’s diagnosis.

He was just 19 years old, a college kid experiencing worse-than-average intestinal distress after every cafeteria meal.

I was just The Girlfriend who heard the retelling of the doctor’s visits, the way his family doc pressed on a certain area in his lower abdomen which hurt like the dickens, and guessed – both immediately and correctly – that the eventual diagnosis would be Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease in which the immune system basically attacks the small intestine, thinking it’s an intruder that needs to be eradicated each time the person eats.

It’s characterized by stomach pain after eating, continual diarrhea, weight loss, and inflammation in the small intestine.

I mostly remember a lot of laying down on the couch after meals, some missing class because of pain, and the process of trying different medications that lasted all the way through college. He went through the lower, gentle-side-effects class of drugs for Crohn’s, then he had an expensive infusion of something that I think was called Humera, but that might be the new name for the old one which was found to be totally dangerous – yikes!

Finally he was put on Prednisone, a steroid drug with a list of quite nasty possible side effects as long as my arm. He was very fortunate in that he didn’t really experience any of them, and it was the thing that finally worked.

Life just…moved forward.

We went to class.

We went to bars on Fridays and drank cheap beer.

We helped out at church, took walks around campus, kept counting the days until that degree would be in our hands.

Crohn’s wasn’t his life, it was just this thing that happened to him once.

Then in April of our senior year, he had a major episode – I honestly don’t even know what happened, blood in the stool, pain beyond belief? – and landed himself in a hospital bed for a weekend.

The doctors said it looked like he had a hole in his intestine or would soon and that he needed surgery. Now.

Having intestine taken out of your body three weeks before final exams is not exactly the way one wants to close their college career, and my husband and his family were somehow able to convince the doctors to let him wait until graduation.

That’s how he ended up lying on a gurney in a hospital gown just two days after he walked in cap and gown to receive his diploma, his pain at a "9," the number you give only because there’s a sliver of a chance that "number 10" pain might exist beyond the blinding feeling in your gut at the moment.

Ten inches of the end of his small intestine had become medical waste, and while everything was stitched back up, it would take five days for his bowels to be kind enough to speak to him again and a long, vertical, worm-like pink scar will forever hurt his chances of being a swimsuit beauty.

That’s Life…Isn’t It?

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When readers email me with questions and include the story of a young person’s diagnosis, I always think, "Oh, how awful, how terrible, how do you get through that at such a young age!?"

But my husband was 19-22 when all of this happened.

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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