© 2017 Every Day Good Eating, Boulder CO
Just before Christmas 25 years ago, I was putting my tiny, sickly, 6-month son to bed. He was struggling so hard to exist happily in this world, but kept getting ear infections, even while on antibiotics. And now, on this particular night, I had to decide:
administer the next dose of antibiotics or not. Go with the conventional, western medicine that I had been raised to trust implicitly, or cast my lot with this new-fangled thing called natural medicine?
As it turned out, I didn't administer his antibiotics that night, nor any time after that. You see, his little body couldn't handle any more antibiotics. He had been given so many in his short life after a staph infection landed him in the hospital for 10 days followed by several ear infections. Antibiotics were now toxic to his little body. So I withheld the medicine and could only hope and pray that he would be alive in the morning.
Speaking of transformation, if our mission had to be captured in one word, “transformation” would be it.
Granted, we don't usually think of the kitchen as a place for transformation. But my organization is a little different. It is The New Kitchen, after all. And the "new" I bring to the kitchen is it's transformative power.
A really neat thing about the KitchenSmart® system is that it's "diet neutral." Whatever the diet that works for your body, the KitchenSmart® tools, habits and skills make it entirely manageable to put it into action. So whether you a person with diabetes or heart disease or have some other condition requiring diet changes, the KitchenSmart® system will help you put those changes into place, right away. The same goes if there is an eating approach you want to follow. Whether it's Paleo, vegetarian, heart healthy, low-carb , plant-based or something in between--the KitchenSmart® system is the key for successfully transforming your meals and realizing your diet hopes and dreams.
With all of these services and products, my focus has always been a little different than others in the healthy eating field. Most experts focus on sharing the vital information about what we should be eating. But few show how to make those ideal, healthy meals show up on the table, day in and day out, especially with our crazy busy lives.
Indeed, this "implementation gap" is where I found myself a couple months into our healthy eating journey. By dint of sheer determination (and no small amount of panic) I got wheat- and dairy-free meals on the table and got us all healthy. But then I faced the mind-boggling fact that I needed to those good meals on the table not just for a few months but for the rest of our lives! How in my harried life was I supposed to keep making those health-giving meals day in and day out, month after month, year after year?
I suspect that this "sustainability" issue is a big one for a lot of people on the healthy eating journey.
Happily, I had at least a few cooking skills under my belt. As or more importantly, I possessed good organizational skills. As I struggled to pull together our daily meals, my cooking and organizational skills magically combined and together, formed the KitchenSmart system that was the key to my meal making success.
You may find organization to be an odd component of kitchen success, but it's really all about thinking ahead, being prepared and setting yourself up for success--exactly the pieces missing from most kitchens today. So it's little wonder that with our hectic lives we can't pull together decent meals on a daily basis. Conversely, with a KitchenSmart® framework in place, healthy meal making success can easily be yours.
As my and my children's health stabilized, I got right to work developing a meal management software program to help streamline healthy meal making for busy people. From there, I went on to develop an array of offerings for home cooks trying to make better meals, including one-on-one coaching; blogging and speaking; writing Take Control of Your Kitchen, the definitive guide to organizing your kitchen for health; the Vegetable-a-Month online membership club and KitchenSmart® healthy meal making classes both live and online.
Most if not all of us working in the healthy living field have had epiphanies like mine. We've faced down a health crisis by simply adopting a healthy lifestyle: good food, adequate sleep, daily exercise and relaxation. And once we've experienced the simple but extraordinary power of a healthy lifestyle, we of course want everyone else to have it, too--and we go on to develop services and products to be of help.
In my case I was also motivated by what I saw as I looked around me in the early 90s after my health crisis. The handwriting was on the wall: Obesity rates were rising while diabetes, cancer and heart disease were becoming more common. People were sitting too much and becoming unfit. More and more of us suffered maladies from digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, autoimmune diseases and sleep trouble to headaches, rashes and depression. We were becoming a sickly nation, not the strong one needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Since then, our health situation has not improved--and has actually worsened. What really galvanized me, however, were reports that our younger generation will actually be less healthy and have a shorter life span than their parents. Even military leaders warn that it is becoming increasingly difficult to field a capable military due to the deteriorating health of the younger generation. (1)
For all these reasons, my E3 mission became and continues to be: Educating, Exciting and Empowering ordinary home cooks to make the wholesome meals that are the foundation of good health. My hope is that we not only experience the enjoyment and productivity that come from our personal well-being, but that we can also build stronger families and communities and a more peaceful and just world.
It may seem a big leap from the dinner table to world peace, but I ask you to join me in just experimenting to see whether a well-nourished population doesn't do a better job of being kinder, more caring and better capable of solving problems.
As the dust settled and our health returned, I realized that I had undergone a profound paradigm shift:
Food matters, really.
Until then, I had never paid that much attention to the food I ate. I wasn't a junk-aholic and ate reasonably well, but food was just something to stop hunger. I saw no connection between what I ate and whether I got sick, my face broke out, my airborne allergies went berserk, or I had indigestion. Illnesses were something taken care of by doctors and pills, not food.
But now I had just experienced, first hand, how the food I put in my and my children's bodies actually had very profound consequences. For us, wheat and dairy products equalled illness and a diet free of them equalled wellness.
Even more profound, however, was that for the first time in a long time, I re-experienced what good health feels like. Over the years my health had deteriorated--but so gradually that I didn't notice.
Eventually, my sense of "normal" was completely skewed. I no longer knew what good health felt like. So I was stunned by how wonderful and freeing it was to have good energy again, never need anti-acids again, have clear skin and a healthy weight again, and few if any colds and flus.
Once that paradigm shift happened I was eager to discover and make and eat more and more health-giving meals. While I certainly detoured from time to time, there was no going back. I never even considered it since the benefits were so amazing.
And thank goodness I didn't retreat to my old eating ways. While they certainly weren't disastrous, I now see that I was likely on the road to more serious health conditions, maybe even diabetes given that I had gestational diabetes and the way my diet needs have evolved since that time
I won't keep you in suspense. My little guy was not only alive in the morning, but began healing, truly and deeply, through a combination of body wraps, herbal treatments--and good nutrition. Slowly but surely, the rashes and black circles under his eyes disappeared, he gained weight, the ear infections disappeared for good--and he grew into the happy, caring, wonderful man that he is today.
What's more, I and my daughter became happy and healthy, too. My daughter had been getting the croup on such a regular basis that her doctor had decided she must be asthmatic. My situation was less dramatic--just one virus after another while attending graduate school and caring for my poor kids.
Adventurous home cook and kitchen tinker-er for 40 years
Lover of Vegetables
Inspired mentor for aspiring healthy eaters
Passionate advocate for health-ifying our food system
Veteran meal making instructor
Dedicated food and health writer
Educate, Excite and Empower busy people to create and sustain a lifestyle of healthy eating both to prevent chronic disease, and to have rich, powerful and energetic lives.
I joined this class because I wanted to add variety to my regular dinner ideas. I also hoped it would help me eat more vegetables. The results were fast. I started eating kale, which I had never cooked before. I also made polenta which was delicious and easy and I would not have tried it if I had not taken the class.
This was a great learning experience. I've gotten inspiration for making lunch meals so I don't have to eat out all the time, I've made two of the recipes already and have learned about new spices to liven up meals, and I really like the handouts and take aways. 10 out of 10 for effectiveness.
Mary is very energetic and shows her passion for cooking and organization in her talks. What a great source of information!
About Mary Collette
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Although we are partly a cooking program, first and foremost we are a self-help program designed to help you transform your food life. At the core of everything we do lies our desire to share a new way of seeing the kitchen.
I hope you’ll come to see it not as just a treadmill. You jump on, stressed and overwhelmed, just long enough to throw together some filler material that will stave off hunger until the next meal, when you have to jump on yet again. I encourage you to explore whether, instead, the kitchen can become a vital pathway to good health, a place where we can regain control of our food lives, eat in a way that serves our best health and supports the passions and contributions we have to offer.
Can it also be a place where we make wonderfully satisfying meals that nurture and nourish, where we can even have a little fun, exercise a little creativity and gain a sense of deep connection to the very foundation of our entire lives. By way of the humble kitchen and a friendly frying pan.
So join our community and discover new perspectives, tips, recipes, strategies and systems to help you shift to a new kitchen, where you can achieve your deepest hopes and dreams around healthy eating and meal making.
To your Healthy Eating Journey!
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