Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

On Conscious Thought

July 16th, 2009 · 13 Comments · KS lifestyle

This is a reprint of the original Mary and Martha Moment, something everyone who wants to understand the way Kitchen Stewardship works should read.

On the importance of Conscious Thought

In general, in my life, being conscious is of the utmost importance to me. You can read that as “conscious” = awake and functioning or “conscious” = thoughtful, and both will equally apply!

The Hero is Down

lying-on-floorI loved detective and mystery books as a kid, and it seemed like the hero was constantly getting knocked on the head and lying unconscious on the floor. I want you to keep that image in mind – of a person lying on the floor, oblivious to the world around them – as you read this post. I feel it adequately describes the unfortunate state of too many people in our culture. How many in this country allow others – the media, the government, the grocery store ads, their own mothers – to make their decisions for them, either because they don’t care to be informed or because they opt out of their own lives? We cannot lie around with our brains turned off, unconsciously moving through our days.

Take Charge of Your Food

Think about it: We wouldn’t want to be unconscious to the taste of good food…we wouldn’t want to be unconscious on our wedding day or during a date with our significant other…we wouldn’t want to be unconscious at an important event in our child’s life. Why do we feel that it’s okay to be UNconscious as we prepare the food that will nourish all these precious people? It’s time to wake up. Get off the floor, good heroes and heroines of the kitchen! Be conscious. Be cognizant. Don’t allow the government or the popular culture to tell you what is healthy for your family without doing your own research. (Don’t worry – I’ll help!)

Women Have All the Dresser Drawers Open

dresser
My husband is sometimes in awe that my brain is always turned on, that I’m always thinking and so fully and completely invested in so many areas of life. It’s annoying sometimes, like when I’m trying to sleep, but I believe cognizance is one of my most important attributes. I am cognizant of what I buy, what I throw away, what I cook and how I cook it. There are, quite literally, a million different decisions that I make every day, and it is my fervent prayer that I am conscious for all of them, and that God is leading me to the right decision every time.

Action is Everything

For most people, there are many actions in life that are just that – an unthinking, habitual, action. Brains aren’t involved. For me, life is a little different. I don’t just flip a lightswitch. I don’t just turn on the water faucet. I don’t just grab a box of my husband’s favorite cereal at the store. Every action is a thought process, a conscious decision and movement that takes into account budget, environment, nutrition, and all the possible repercussions of my action.

switchIn reality, no one JUST turns on a lightswitch. When you flip that switch, you add to your carbon footprint, you run up a certain amount on your electric bill, you use a certain amount of the lightbulb’s lifespan, and you cause electricity to be produced, consuming whatever sort of fossil fuel it takes your community to make power. Every action is part of a sequence of events affecting other people in this time and the future. Let us begin to treat life as such.

Consciousness-Altering Life Changes

My consciousness changed a great deal when I became a parent. Those of you who are blessed with children can relate – suddenly every electrical outlet, every strange chemical smell, every dog running down the sidewalk gives you pause: could this harm my child? That precious, helpless life entrusted to you truly changes the way you see the world. You look at everything through the lens of a parent. The decisions you make suddenly, very clearly, affect someone other than yourself - someone you love with all your heart.

The Great Analogy

peanuts
Let’s look at consciousness from the perspective of a peanut on the floor. No, I’m not going nuts myself – just bear with me and watch the progression:

A Peanut on the Floor

  • I am a two-year-old boy. I see a peanut on the floor. I see a snack. I eat the peanut.
  • I am an eight-year-old boy. I see a peanut on the floor. I see a reason I might get in trouble with Mom. I nudge the peanut under the couch.
  • I am a teenage boy. I do not notice the peanut on the floor. What peanut? What floor?
  • I am a newly married man. I see a peanut on the floor. I see a mess I ought to pick up and throw away the next time I walk that direction.
  • I am a father of a new crawler. I see a peanut on the floor. I see a choking hazard. I rush over and throw the peanut away.
  • I am the parent of a child with a peanut allergy. I see a peanut on the floor. I see potential death or hospitalization for my child. I rush to throw away the peanut, then conduct a thorough examination of the house for more peanut product and an inquiry of all those members of the household to determine WHO let the peanut get into the house. !!

Perspective changes consciousness. Our perspective must be that of Christian stewards, aware that every action we make has a reaction in the natural world, and every food we feed our family has a reaction in their bodies. As people who wish the best for our families and our communities, now and in the future, we must polish our lenses and begin to wake up to the reality of the peanut on the floor.

The Challenge

I challenge you as you begin your Kitchen Stewardship journey to begin tapping into your consciousness. Now don’t misinterpret me here – I’m not a New Age chickie telling you that I want you to listen to your inner such-and-such. I just want you to turn your brains on as you work in the kitchen.

I want you to practice the fine art of questioning, like, “How much energy did that use?” and “Why is X my habit?”

I want you to think about wants and needs, such as, “Do I really need a second helping, or do I just want one?” and “Does my body need juice for hydration, or could I just have a glass of water?”

I want you to examine your decisions and their impact on the earth, like when you’re turning on that lightswitch. I challenge you to imagine the drain on the world’s nonrenewable fossil fuels and the rising digits on your own bill.

And I want you to refine your skills of observation: How many items do you use that are disposable, for example? Are you creating unnecessary waste by cooking your favorite meal?

I don’t even want you to challenge any habits (yet) or change your actions (yet). You don’t have to do research or learn about the issues (yet). That will come. First we must practice being conscious, being aware of our decisions and their possible ramifications. We must begin to think of the world as a great spider web, where every move I make quivers the line and affects a multitude of other people and systems, more than I can see with my eight little spider eyes. Or maybe I’m the fly…we’ll decide that later!

Do it NOW!

Here’s what I do want you to try:

When you are in your kitchen this week or shopping for food, give your best attempt to dig deeply into each action and decision. When you find yourself doing something out of habit or losing your consciousness, picture yourself lying unconscious on the floor. Then bust out the smelling salts, take a sniff, and get up, dear hero! Increase your awareness of the peanut on the floor. Maintain consciousness in the kitchen.

Other Mary and Martha Moments:

Now you can move on to the thoughtful part of our week, the mental mission. If you’re hooked, please consider signing up for an email subscription or grab my reader feed.

Next week I’ll begin a series on “My Journey”, to invite you into our home and history a little and answer the question: “How did you become so into food?”
1. I’m a Born Conservationist

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Frances

    This is an AWESOME reflection/encouragement! I greatly identify with your quest for consciousness…it’s why I abhor drunkenness. If I drink alcohol, it’s only because I like the taste of the beverage. I do not want to diminish or alter my consciousness with alcohol or any other drug.

    On the flip side, I really should pray more, especially that the Holy Spirit would help increase and sharpen my consciousness. Thanks for being a messenger and aide!

    Frances’s last blog post..Seeking input: Washer & Dryer

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  • Lily

    Thank you so much for your blog; I’ve been looking for information and perspective like this for quite some time! Looking forward to reading more. :)

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    Katie Reply:

    Lily,
    Welcome aboard! Glad you found this post; it’s my absolute favorite. :) Katie

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  • Brandis @ Stir Crazy

    This may sound a little over the top, but I now think you are my soul mate:) I’ve been following your blog for several months and I love your focus and approach to everything- namely, that you take nothing for granted and search for answers yourself. But this is the first time I’ve read THIS post, and I could have written this (not as well, but you know what I mean…). I approach everything in my life exactly this way… or at least I try to. Yes, in some ways I’ve questioned things that many others take for granted my entire life, but it was having kids that took it to the next level. So at this juncture in my life you play a very valuable role by 1) helping me “cheat” by doing some of the research for me, and 2) expressing it in a way that I sometimes can’t, so I can tell my friends “hey, check out this post from Kitchen Stewardship!” instead of trying to explain it myself. You’re awesome!

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    Katie Reply:

    Glad to be the shoulder you can send your friends to! This is one of my all-time favorite posts… ;) Katie

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  • paws

    This blog is exactly where the Lord has been directing my thoughts lately – right down to the Martha and Mary story in the Bible! In fact, I just prayed this morning that He would lead me to like-minded people. God is good!

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    Katie Reply:

    hello and welcome! It’s great to have you here!!! :) Katie

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  • Nichole Sawatzky

    This is a very well written and most amazing article. The thoughts on the peanut on the floor is a fantastic illustration. Thank you for letting God speak through you!

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  • Laurie R.

    What a neat way to look at life. I am a Christian SAHM with a child recently diagnosed with several food and environmental allergies. (thankfully none life threatening.) I’ve been overwhelmed with how to help him and keep the sanity in the home. I get excited to try new things and then get tired of always being “on.” I’ve been following your blog and that of some of your partners. What a wonderful resource you all are. If I had to do this all myself, I’m not sure I’d be able to. This post is such a great reminder to “not grow weary in doing good.” I may need to reread it next time I start to fall back into some of my old habits. Thanks for what you do.

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  • Sarah [mamalotsoftots]

    I am enjoying your posts immensely. :) It’s nice to find so many like-minded ladies out there! Very encouraging!

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    Katie Reply:

    Welcome Sarah!

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  • Roberta

    WOW! I just loved your m&m series. So much food for thought! (Sorry I couldn’t resist)

    [Reply to this comment]

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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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