I invited all the talented, fascinating women that also contribute to Simple Organic to have a turn in the MamaViews series. I was so happy that they all accepted! Katie is our first interviewee and I think you'll love her take on mothering, eating, consciousness and becoming green one baby step at a time. It's been such a treat to get to know these wonderful women through our association at Simple Organic and I'm looking forward to introducing them all to you! When did you start being a "kitchen steward?" What was the transition like for you and for your family?
I've always been a conservative person, "green" at heart if you will, and I've always had a strong faith, so I think understanding that God calls us to be good stewards of all our resources just came naturally and was part of my person as I matured and gained more adult responsibilities. The term "Kitchen Stewardship" happened in my mind sometime after my son was born. Pregnancy and parenthood are impressive motivators to suddenly become an amateur nutritionist. However, my ideas about nutrition have evolved as the years have gone by (my son is about to turn five), and I've slowly grown more eco-conscious as well.
I really made big changes after reading Real Food by Nina Planck and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell a little over a year ago. (I got to interview them both last month!) I only read them to prepare to write a book called Kitchen Stewardship, but I had stumbled across a field of totally new information for me. At first, I was totally overwhelmed. I stood in front of the milk at the grocery store and didn't know what to buy! Then I realized that my own philosophy of baby steps was the only way to go, and I made one change at a time. Sometimes my husband still thinks I'm crazy, and my son asks, "Where is all the cereal?" every so often, but overall we're so much healthier than before "the big shift" and I feel good about what I'm putting on the table.
have all sorts of great tips about getting started (and the Monday
Missions!). What do you think are a few easy, but impactful first
"baby steps" that someone could implement?
The "baby steps" all depend on where you are starting. If you're still drinking three diet sodas every day, that's where you start. If you're already cooking with lots of whole foods but want to go farther, I would recommend homemade yogurt, chicken stock, and cleaning supplies, because they all save money AND the earth AND protect or improve your bodily health. A pretty basic three things to start with that aren't stressful at all are using real butter, eating whole eggs (no egg white omelets, please!), and eating more beans and legumes, preferably cooked from dry.
I offer my Top 10 Kitchen Stewardship Habits and actually listed out all the baby steps I took in my own household in one year - it's a crazy list!
I really like the idea of kitchen stewardship, the idea that "working in our kitchens, like everything we do, is an opportunity to love God and serve our families." How does your faith influence your choices in the kitchen and what sort of religious/scriptural/spiritual support do you find for your choices?
1 Corinthians 6:19 instructs us to treat our bodies as a temple of
the Holy Spirit - I don't think we should fill our temples with junk
food! I also believe that Christ sanctified the body by becoming flesh,
and He glorified its worth by allowing Himself to be broken for our
sins. If His mortal body could be used for the salvation of the
world, shouldn’t ours at least be respected enough to be honored and
kept healthy by our choices? In the same sense, Christ
teaches us to let go of our earthly bodies and trust in the promise of
Heaven. We must be stewards, but not fanatics.
For those wanting to learn more, what books (or other sources) do you recommend?
Just wait until I write mine! Just kidding. Real Food by Nina Planck is 100% the place to start, then maybe The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. They're very accessible and only a tiny bit overwhelming. Inspired by Planck's work and the tome, Nourishing Traditions, there is a whole network of "Real Food" bloggers who can help you find recipes and sources for eating healthier. If you want to balance frugality and eco-consciousness, too, you have to come to me. ;)
In being a more conscious and conscientious steward in the kitchen, do you find that there is a snowball or domino effect that draws those types of habits and thinking into other parts of your life as well? What other benefits have you seen in yourself and your family from being a steward of the kitchen?
Random benefits of the Kitchen Stewardship lifestyle for me include: certain budgetary reductions, especially in cleaners and convenience foods; my kids know what a farm looks like and where food comes from (for example, my toddler daughter recognizes "garlic" and "dough" but can't identify the "microwave"); and I have met new friends through real food searching.Katie, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and resources; I have so much great information to dig into now!!