I got an excellent question from Meghan, in an email. She shared how it could be overwhelming and discouraging to try to make all of the changes that Nourishing Traditions outlines in their cookbook.
“I don’t know about you, but I feel so overwhelmed after having read (well, still am reading) the book [Nourishing Traditions]. it takes so much time to try to cook food from scratch. i have three little ones so, I feel like I live in the kitchen…”
I hear you, Meghan.
I was introduced to some of the principles of grain soaking, cultured (or lacto-fermented) foods, healthy fats, and other principles outlined in Nourishing Traditions, a few years ago. It was a little overwhelming reading through all of the information and knowing all the changes I would need to do to follow it. So I know how you feel, Meghan!
It can be even be more overwhelming to those who don’t already cook from scratch, or eat whole grains. It would be to easy to throw up our hands and say “Forget it! There is no way I can do all of those things!”.
But there is hope.
While some have had good success making dramatic changes all at the same time, most of us need to take it step by step. Here’s what’s helped me and others I know change our eating styles.
Learn to plan ahead
What I have found is that most of the concepts, such as soaking grains or making cultured foods, aren’t really that much more time consuming than cooking typical homemade food. It just takes more forethought. For example, Nourishing Tradition style muffins aren’t any harder to make, you just have to start the night before.
Therefore, I have found that it is vital to always plan your menu at least one day head. Even more then that, things go so much more smoothly if you can plan your whole week ahead of time as well! My series on Meal planning is centered on learning to do that better. I am not perfect in this area, myself. But am learning more and more each week!
Take Baby Steps
I did not change everything at once. I added one thing in at a time, got it into a comfortable routine, and then added another thing. It’s really only overwhelming when you try to add in to many things at the same time. For example, you can try to either start soaking your grains, getting rid of cold cereal, purging your pantry of junk food, or culturing food as your first step.
Then, as you get get comfortable with that first step, keeping moving forward in making changes. Before you know it, you will have made many more changes than you ever thought possible!
Center on the Basics
To make it more doable, at first, center on the basics. For my family that has meant I learned how to make homemade chicken stock (I highly recommend this!), making a soaked sourdough bread, figured out healthy breakfasts, and added in plenty of veggies and soaked whole grains. Don’t head straight to figuring out a soaked, sugarless cake to make. Rather, center on the things you eat everyday, and making those more healthy.
Get “Smart” in Your Kitchen Time
This is where I am definitely still learning, but it is an important point to make. Learning to be smart in the kitchen by utilizing your freezer, keeping things simple when needed, making enough at dinner for lunch the next and other “smart” practices can makes all the difference in time spent in the kitchen.
I think that these practices will vary in different families and I am sure you will learn more about what works for you, as you go a long. But I will share more practices that have helped me in the future.
I hope that these four principles will help you as much as they helped me! Press on and good luck, Meghan. You won’t regret the energy you spend learning to excel in providing nourishing and delicious meals for your family! One last thing that you can consider, with three little ones, is trying in involve them in the process whenever you can. While my 18 month old daughter certainly doesn’t speed up the process in the kitchen, I have started to be able to get her involved in cooking (but that’s a topic for another post!).
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