Getting Started – The Granny Plan

by Kathy | Disclosure

Getting Started - 12 Steps to Real Food Mastery

I want to invite you to join me in a learning experience. It’s called “The Granny Plan”. It’s an experience designed to lead to shining good health, joyful healthy kids, delicious healthy abundant food, and gentle days at home with family. We all want a life like this, but it’s hard to know where to start sometimes.

When we decide that we want more real food in our families lives there are so very many things we could do, so many options to start with. So we read lots of blogs hoping a plan on how to proceed will become clear. We end up diving in somewhere, adding things to do regularly and we make a little headway. Then comes the tricky part … enthused by our success we add a bunch of routines and then life happens. The baby is sick, or we have to work overtime, or our budget is tight. At this point our progress stalls and we slip back into old habits. I’m describing myself here. Maybe you too.

What we need is a plan …

A step by step way to mastering the basics of real food cooking. A way to ensure the new habits stick and we’re able to stay with it. That’s what “The Granny Plan” is all about!

A plan that can take us from day one through to becoming competent basic real food cooks. A plan modeled on something that really works. In this series we’ll go step by step from beginning baby steps through to managing more and more complex tasks. Each week’s post will have a new step to introduce and an assignment for the week. You can work along with us or read the whole thing and get started when you’re ready … it’s really up to you.

The Granny Plan is for you if you want to:

  • Develop habits that making real food cooking second nature for you. No thought, you just do it!
  • Save money on your food bill by buying food ahead of when you need it.
  • Get a good rhythm going for the pre-preparation of ingredients needed for real food dishes. Things like mayonnaise or lacto-fermented salsa … stuff like that. So you don’t run out at the worst times.
  • Reduce food waste in your household.
  • Find the time to learn all those exciting new recipes you’re stashing away on Pinterest for the long awaited day when you have spare time :-).
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend shopping for food. Real food shopping can be fun, but it can take up a lot of time.
  • Would like to contribute your expertise in designing a systematic plan to help real food novices get up and running quickly.

With Structure Overwhelm Turns into Confidence

With a structure for practicing habits the sense of overwhelm becomes a feeling of building confidence. The Granny Plan works by building one small habit upon another. It’s not that this plan is the only way, but that it is one way that you can work on in the company with other wannabe Grannys here at Granny’s Vital Vittles. This plan owes a debt of gratitude to FlyLady and The Sidetracked Home Executives writings, Don Aslett’s and many other time management books I’ve read over the years. I’m kinda an aficionado of time management books. I love them and trying new systems. Mostly because I have so much trouble keeping things straight without a good system in place :-).

Planning and establishing good routines is something we all struggle with to one degree or another. Real food cookery is particulary hard I think, due to there being so little support from friends and family. It’s really hard to figure these things out alone! And I think I’ve had a unusually difficult time learning this stuff myself. FlyLady tells the story about how she worked out her FlyLady method … it was really self-help since she was finding it extremely difficult to keep her own house clean. My story is a lot like that. Incorporating new habits has always been really hard for me so I’ve made a study of it. This method helped me figure out how to have real food more consistently in my own home and I hope it’ll help you too. In fact stepping through it all will be a refresher for me … recent events here have unraveled some of my more recently acquired habits and a little practice along with everyone else will do me good too :-) … you can send me a question if you’re having any difficulties. I’ll include a little troubleshooting section with each step with any questions. It’ll be completely anonymous. Sharing your questions will help everyone.

How The Granny Plan Can Help You

Join us in working through each step in the plan, no matter how silly or small you think it is. Just practice each new habit each week for one week before adding another. Make a commitment to not jump ahead. That’s super important! We need time to learn new habits and to move them into auto-pilot mode. If it seems we’re moving ahead before you’ve got the habit well established just stick with that habit till you’ve got it down. Then move ahead to the next weeks habit. There is no ahead and there is no behind in this plan. You are where you are and that is that :-). Feel free to comment below each step if you like, but if you’d rather not that’s okay too.

I am making three assumptions about our Wanna-Be Granny working the plan. Those assumptions are:

  • That she has read many of the articles on this site and other real food sites and has made a clear decision to incorporate as much real food into her families diet as her time and budget will allow.
  • I assume she completely unaccustomed to cooking regularly. If that doesn’t apply to you, you may want to jump in to the steps at the spot that feels right for you. This is the one exception to the rule on not jumping ahead.
  • That she has a kitchen available with basic tools and a food budget :-).

If this series is well received I hope to release The Granny Plan as a book in the early summer months. Think of this series as a mini version of the book, and as a group experiment. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities and hope to release this material in multiple formats to reach the most real food beginners we can.

The Granny Plan Isn’t Fully Cooked

I know it works for me and we’ll find out together if the steps work for ya’ll or not. Right now I have a test case of one, me :-). We can make adjustments as we go so that the most folks can benefit. Feel free to chime in by email or in the comments if you feel something isn’t working for you.

Next week we start!

The Granny Plan is Fully Cooked Now and available on Kindle!

Update 9/26/14: The Granny Plan was originally developed as part of a series here on my blog. It’s changed and evolved a bit since then. You can find all the steps listed at TheGrannyPlan.com along with a link to buy the book on Amazon.com.

This post is shared at Fat Tuesday, Show Me What Ya Got, Party Wave Wednesday, Works for me Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Traditional Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Link Love, Sunday School, Old Fashioned Friday and Weekend Gourmet.

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Kathy lives just outside of Austin with her husband of 20 years Barry. She has two sons one in college and the other grown and married :-). While not a Grandma yet, with two grown kids she remains hopeful. Kathy wants a world where everyone has fresh wholesome food and feels that cookin' like a granny woman is the surest way to get there.


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Granny LOVES a great discussion! A thoughtful, in-depth look from all angles benefits us all. If you disagree let us know! But please remember you're in Granny's house and be respectful of that. If you wouldn't say it in your Grandma's hearing please don't say it here! No name-calling or foul language. Those comments that don't respect Granny's home will be deleted.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Sage February 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I’m looking forward to these posts. I’ve struggled with years wondering what to feed my children and consequently not doing much cooking cuz I didn’t know what to give them. I’m looking forward to changing that! And feeling confident that finally I’ve found the answer to what is healthy for them!

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Kathy February 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Glad you’ll be joining us for the learning journey Sage :-)

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Gudrun B February 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm

will be happy to assist if you need help now that i am a full fledged granny LOL we have 2 little ones since January! hard at work to get any processed stuff out of my grand kid’s reach even though my daughter is not the typical house wife – have to bite my tongue some times :) I am the make it all from scratch granny!!!!! :)
looking forward to what you have

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Kathy February 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

That’s wonderful Gudrun :-) Any feedback you have that might help us along would be most welcome!

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Christi February 20, 2013 at 10:47 am

Looking forward to this! :)

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Colleen February 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hi Kathy! I am a granny to 10 beautiful souls. I have been cooking whole, real foods for about 2 years now.
This is wonderful! It feels like we’re part of your research and development team! I can hardly wait to get started! Many blessings on your project going forward. ~Colleen~

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Amy February 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hi, I’m so excited about this plan. I’m also a huge FlyLady fan. I flutter pretty regularly but you’re right that life happens. My hubby is on board for any whole, good food I introduce and understands how important it is too. We just found out we’re expecting #2, our son is 3, so I really feel the push to get our routines in firm place. I showed your website to my Granny and she loved it. At 82 years young, she’s a firm believer in cooking at home and cooking the “granny way”. Thank you for all you do.

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Maryanne February 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Kathy — this is a wonderful idea — I have been cooking from scratch for almost 4 years — my biggest challenge was — staying motivated to cook for one! I learned to make enough to freeze so I have a variety of foods to choose from and make sure that I always have fresh veggies and fruits on hand. I am faithful about baking my gluten free bread once a week. I am looking forward to following your series! Thanks for the thought and time you have put into this adventure! It will be great to share with others on their journey.

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Kathy February 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

Ladies, your kind comments have meant a lot to me this morning :-). It’s been kind of a rough week with the day job and it was so encouraging to open up my site and find your comments! I’m really looking forward to getting the ball rolling myself. For those that have read it we’ll be following loosely along the lines of “10 steps to Cooking Like a Modern Day Granny” adding where it’s needed and taking away anything that wasn’t helpful. If you don’t have a copy of this booklet you can get it by subscribing to my email list using the box at the top right of the page. The 10 steps were a first pass at developing the Granny Plan … it’s really a simple outline that I hope we can build more strength into, more support, more guideposts to let people know early-on when the train is derailing ;-). I would love feedback on what you think of the booklet as it stands now … feel free to email me if you’d like.

P.S. Forgot to mention that the first steps will be starting a little earlier in the process than where we start in “10 steps”. My goal is to go all the way back to the steps to cooking at home for those who aren’t used to it. That’s why we have 12 instead of 10 :-).

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Stephanie Stevens February 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I love that you aren’t afraid to write as you learn! Step by step really is the way to move toward natural food and natural life.

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Erin R February 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Yay!! Can’t wait for these posts! We’ve only been eating “real food” since the past October. The birth of our first son made me look at the world through a whole new lens, and his arrival motivated big changes. I had NO IDEA how to cook before we started down this road, so I know how scary it can be to embark on this journey. Thank you so much for your blog and for sharing all your knowledge. And- I just now realized that you live just outside Austin. Us too! God bless!

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Fiona February 24, 2013 at 12:33 am

please join m

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Brittany S. February 25, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I love this! I often get overwhelmed with “Real Food” cooking and then either don’t try at all or try and get so disappointed with the outcome, that I give up trying for a while. Thanks for breaking it down! I’m off to make some carrots. :)

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Kathy February 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Carrots are pretty no-fail and most everyone likes them :-) … a great way to start out!

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Lori @ Our Heritage of Health.com February 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

This plan sounds like a great idea – I know I could definitely use some improvement in the areas of time-management and organization!

Thanks for sharing with Old-Fashioned Friday! :)

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Ama April 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I’ve been working on the Granny plan for three weeks now. So far, I don’t think this is actually what I need, but I’m trying to be patient w/ the process unless you tell me that yes, I need something else and I can find it (). I started w/ buttered veggies at every dinner. My husband and I eat them, but the kids don’t. Guess I should stick w/ corn, as it is the only veggie I can get them to eat, but how much corn can a person eat? Is there any way to get the kiddos to branch out a little? I use Emenu, because I know nothing of meal-planning. So, the second week, I tried to clean up the Emenu meals w/ some success. She has a lot of complicated recipes that call for things like pork and beans as one ingredient inside the recipe. And tried to wear an apron. I already clean the kitchen plenty. I have no basic old-fashioned kitchen skills like canning, and I don’t think I can fit a large freezer anywhere in my house. I don’t think we can afford to join a farm co-op. I need seriously basic skills and strategies for cleaning up our diet. Am I on the right track w/ the Granny plan or should I try something else? Thanks!

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Kathy April 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Ama, you are on the right track :-) It does take some time though. The Granny Plan is program of little steps that lead to big changes given some time. Three weeks in you’re approaching the first hurdles really. The point in time where the initial excitement has worn off but the new habits aren’t really routine yet. There’s bound to be some resistance when making changes like this.

I’m wondering if emenu is right for real food changes though. It sounds a little like the trouble of converting the recipes is a big issue. Have you considered a real food meal planning subscription? Something like this one offered by Holistic Squid? In general I’m not a fan of meal planning … I tend to favor pantry cooking as the best way to make cooking easier. But if you really feel a menu plan is helpful for your situation you would make thinks easier by working with someone who is in the know about real food.

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