This is part of our series called “Kitchen Stories” where we share stories from our team and our customers about how they use Gatheredtable (and tips for the kitchen in general). Have a story to share? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m Katin. I’m part of the team here at Gatheredtable. This is my kitchen story…
I’m a working mom of two young boys, always on the go, busy, harried, and in LOVE with food. Seriously, I love food – talking about it, reading about it, planning for it, shopping for it, cooking it, and eating it! But after two pregnancies, the added chaos of two new little people depending on me, along with the day-to-day stress of working and running a household, I found that my “baby weight” was just not going away. Even with an active lifestyle, running about 20 miles a week, and the addition of weekly power yoga, I still found my body not looking or feeling how I wanted it to.
So about a year ago, I made a big change to the way I cook and eat. The change consisted of three basic components:
1. Make everything from scratch
Bread, cookies, granola bars, tomato sauce, french fries, chicken stock, ice cream, salad dressing, pizza, almond milk, all of it! I switched from store-bought meals, snacks, and staples to making everything myself. I had a few hiccups along the way with recipe fails and rejection from my kids, but last summer I found my groove. It helps that I pre-pay for a 20-week local, organic CSA that gives me a box of produce that needs to be consumed pretty quickly, keeping me motivated to keep cooking and eating at home, rather than eat out and let all that cabbage & kale go to waste. Each week, I just search Gatheredtable for recipes that use the produce I get, then finalize a grocery list and pick up any remaining things I need at the local farmer’s market or grocery store.
2. Cut out all dairy
I’m not really one for “cutting back” in any area of my life – it’s all 1’s and 0’s. So, by following the simple rule of no dairy (no milk, cream, butter, cheese or yogurt), I started making different food choices. Pretty much no baked goods unless I made them myself, only pizza without cheese (which, seriously, is no fun), no more calorie-laden mocha lattes, and lots of healthy fats and veggies. I noticed immediate changes in my energy level, digestion, and even my complexion. It was pretty amazing! And it turns out I’m not alone in cutting out dairy. In fact, dairy is the #1 avoided ingredient among Gatheredtable customers.
3. Intermittent fasting
Ok, I might lose you on this one… There are lots of studies on the health benefits of fasting, allowing your body time when it doesn’t have to be processing food and instead can focus on cell regeneration and fighting disease. I read one study that said that women don’t need to skip full days of eating, but can see the same health benefits by limiting the number of hours of the day when we eat. So, I started to only eat from 10am-6pm (that’s 8 hours, people). I don’t limit how much or what I eat during those hours (and yes, sometimes I cheat), but I really love this way of eating. I no longer have midnight snacks (um, Nutella, I’m looking at you), late dinners of Chinese takeout, or a plateful of pancakes before my morning runs. I don’t wake up with a “food hangover,” instead I feel light in the morning, and ready to conquer the day. I do allow myself lemon water & coffee before 10am, because… kids.
You can pretty easily see how these three changes fit well together to make a complete change to my eating. There have been some nice side-effects, like less sugar, less money spent on food overall, and of course modeling healthier food choices for my kids.
As a note, here are three things I DIDN’T change:
1. I didn’t stop eating carbs! I love bread, and once I started making it myself, I just couldn’t stop.
2. I didn’t cut out desserts, I just made different choices.
3. I didn’t starve myself. I kept eating lots of yummy food, just in a different way.
So, this is where I should insert the before and after photos… I’ll save myself the torture and instead tell you that I dropped multiple clothing sizes, and look and feel so much better. I have tons more energy, I sleep better, my body is far more efficient at processing food, and I can immediately tell if I’ve eaten something that doesn’t make me feel great, so I can avoid it next time (but somehow, I still haven’t learned my lesson with french fries…). My decade-long sugar cravings are basically gone, and my kitchen is packed with healthy, wholesome foods.
I have found that the key to improved eating has been planning. I need to make it to the market once a week so my fridge stays stocked with yummy, fresh food and so I have the ingredients I need to make meals I will enjoy. Even though I’ve given up a lot, I’ve never felt deprived in any way, mostly because I’ve added so many new foods to my diet to stay satisfied and happy (remember, I started by saying that I LOVE food). And, I do let myself cheat every once in a while 🙂
p.s. Have you recently changed the way you cook & eat? Maybe you have some tips to share with our community? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
Some of my favorite foods & recipes:
(most of them are also in my public recipe library)
No, I don’t have a bread maker. Yes, fresh homemade bread is amazing. Yes, it makes me feel like a superhero.
- Artisan No-Knead Bread – The easiest, fanciest bread ever. I have a loaf in the oven right now!
- Homemade Tortillas – Try these once, you won’t be sorry. My kids gobble them up.
- Basic White Sandwich Bread – I make 2 loaves of this every week, it’s great for sandwiches, toast, or with runny eggs!
Basics & Main Dishes:
I tend to make the same few recipes on rotation, focused around roasted veggies, a few grains and meat only once a week.
- Slow Cooker Herbed “Roast” Chicken – Sometimes I completely skip the herbs & just add onion, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper (no liquid!). I make this about twice a month, then cook the carcass for another 24-36 hours to make broth.
- Supereasy “Homemade” Pizza – I make a couple balls of homemade dough at the beginning of the week and pull them out for Pizza Night.
- Quinoa Tabbouleh – A summer staple.
- Homemade Sweet Potato Oven Fries – Great fresh from the oven or on a salad later in the week.
- Avocado Kale Salad – I’ve always got a container of massaged kale in my fridge.
- Roasted Broccoli – All the hype about roasted broccoli is true. Yum!
- Seared Red Cabbage Wedges – Sounds weird, tastes amazing. I even save leftovers, slice up like pasta and eat with tomato sauce.
Snacks & Sweets:
Because, we all love snacks & sweets.
- Sliced Avocado – Avocado + salt is an acceptable snack in my book!
- Dark Chocolate, so much dark chocolate. I have about 1/2 a bar every night at 5:59pm.
- Trail mix – I like the Cape Codder mix (available at most grocery stores) and always have a jelly jar of it in my purse for when I get HANGRY!
- Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream (Dairy Free) – Ok, this is amazing.