I got a bit distracted from sharing the story of my journey to living a Kitchen Stewardship lifestyle during August, but it’s time to get back to it! (What distracted me? Analyzing Aluminum in August, camping, some giveaways and canning. The very first part of my story is quintessential to understanding what I do here: On Conscious Thought. Because of that, I’ve made a lot of changes in the past five years…
My life in three lists:
- Things I’ve Always Done (or, What I Learned from my Mother)
- Things I Learned Because of Children
- The New Revolution (after discovering Nourishing Traditions)
Welcome to my second list, which encompasses about four years of my life, from the time I started delving into nutrition to learn how to safely and heartily grow a baby, until December 2008. (Photo by Sleepy Terry)
I always thought I cooked and ate pretty “healthy” and made many things from scratch. But my first year of marriage certainly included a lot of hamburger helpers, canned fruits and veggies, packaged cracker and cheese sandwiches, and…can I even admit it?…margarine! (Eek!)
Conceiving a Child and New Ideas About Nutrition
My husband and I took Bradley Birth classes, which are pretty intense: 12 2-hour meetings, covering everything from nutrition and exercise to epidurals and breastfeeding. The focus is a natural birth (which I achieved twice – woo hoo!), and there is an eating plan that includes 2 pats of real butter and 2 eggs per day, as well as attempting to eat 80 grams of protein daily. I learned about the health benefits of real butter and eggs and tried hard to stock up on protein wherever I could. Once I even won a prize for the highest protein in the week – 140 g in one day!
Our teacher also taught us to read ingredient labels, substitute whole wheat for part of white flour in recipes, and use oils that I’d never heard of before. I started reading on my own and learning about additives, MSGs, artificial colors, etc. It was eye-opening to be sure! My most frustrating moment: reading that yellow number 6 should be avoided in pregnancy and finding it on the label of my prescription pre-natal vitamins. Arrrrrrrg! The injustice of modern medicine!
Food for Baby = Motivation to Learn Even More
When my son approached the 6-month-old mark and hence, solid food, I read a ton of info to make sure I was giving him the best food and nutrition possible. He got a lot of whole grains and legumes, including homemade baby cereal (but not exclusively homemade), and homemade baby food cubes of fruits and veggies. I bought my first organic vegetables and wondered how to afford organic meat and dairy. I just had to Trust in the Promise of my Meal Blessing for that one. It was what I could do at the time.
My husband and I were still using skim milk, but when Buddy Boy turned one, I started making my own homemade yogurt, whole milk in one jar for him and skim (with powdered milk to thicken and “add protein” – my best intentions!) in the other two for the adults.
I also learned about nitrites and trans fats and was such a nazi about what could go into Buddy Boy’s mouth, until he was about one year old when he had his first refined sugar (his own birthday cake) and I had to relax my grip a little bit. I did the same with Lovey Girl, perhaps even more strict about her eating now that I know so much more. I also worried about what he was inhaling and consuming by putting his hands in his mouth, and I slowly started eradicating toxic chemicals from my cleaning supplies. (We’ll tackle a “No Bleach” mission at the end of August here at KS!)
Mommy at Home = Learn to Save Money
The final big change that impacts this list is becoming a stay-at-home mom. We have always been frugal, even when we were “DINKs” (Double Income, No Kids) and had money to spare. When I stopped receiving a full paycheck, however, it became more important, and part of my stay-at-home work, to become even more frugal in food and supply shopping habits. I learned to take even better advantage of sales and found alternative places to shop that saved even more money, because being at home gave me the time to go the extra mile.
My first list, frugal, healthy or “green” things I’ve always done, only had about a dozen items on it. This second list, encompassing all pillars of Kitchen Stewardship as I knew it then, is about one page in a Word document. (The last list, the last 8 months, is two pages and counting!)
Katie’s middle list: Marriage and Children Change the Way You Cook
- Aware of dirty dozen – bought some organic produce
- Scrubbing produce! (My “quick fix” for having to buy conventionally produced fruits and veggies)
- Switched over to all homemade or natural cleaners (except dish soap, DW detergent and laundry soap)
- Cutting out MSGs and some processed foods
- Watching nitrates/nitrites
- More eggs
- Butter instead of margarine
- Lots more beans, learning to use dry beans
- Picked fresh produce in summer – freeze bounty
- Farmer’s market shopping
- Making own yogurt, granola
- Switching from plastic to glass or metal, especially in water bottles
- Cut down on red meat consumption
- One meatless meal per week (sometimes)
- Smart balance instead of margarine, shortening
- Natural peanut butter
- Including some whole wheat, wheat germ
- Tried other cooking oils
- Increased use of olive oil for cooking
- Don’t flush toilet every time to save water
- Less and less canned veggies every year
- Moving to rechargeable batteries, fewer plastic toys
- Some Organic gardening techniques
- Microfiber cloths for cleaning
- Increased recycling
- Tried gardening
- Less sugary cereal
- only Triscuit crackers
- Trying to avoid trans fat
- 100% whole wheat breads
- discovered Save-a-Lot, bread store
It’s funny looking back at my transition. I don’t think I even would have seen myself making homemade yogurt when I got married…I didn’t even like yogurt at all at that time! I never would have seen myself buying milk and meat from the farm on which they’re grown or canning ANYthing when I gave birth to my first. It’s been a long, interesting ride, with even more to come, I’m sure!
It’s fascinating to me what can be accomplished with a little gumption, prayer, and Baby Steps, one little change at a time. Please continue to join me to follow my journey to real food and sign on for Kitchen Stewardship’s Monday Missions, so you, too, can have an exhaustive (but hopefully not exhausting!) list of positive changes in your kitchen., and if you missed the last Monday Mission, catch up here.
Mary and Martha Moments you might enjoy:
- Soul First, Body Second
- Kitchen Stewardship = Pray Constantly
- Balancing Time, Family and Food
- On Conscious Thought