Do You Have Kitchen Gaps?

[ The Granny Plan was originally inspired by a weekly series I wrote back in 2013. I thought I’d share some of the original for new readers … just click thru the links to get a little taste of the book from the linked post excerpts. ]

We’ve come very far in The Granny Plan over the past couple of months! In the beginning there was just you and your kitchen in whatever shape it was in. You have systematically brought some structure and routine to your kitchen … I’m really happy for you and so proud! Now that we are working our way toward the end of the series we need to consider any kitchen gaps.

What are Kitchen Gaps?

Since this is a program that is structured very generally to fit everyone there are bound to be gaps. Things that apply to you and your family and nobody else really. For instance, suppose someone in your home has diabetes or a severe food allergy. Then the food coming out of your kitchen will need to be adjusted for your situation. Maybe there are some adjustments to your pantry or your routine for cooking meals.

Or say you have a shift job. You work 12 hour days 4 days on 3 days off. Or your spouse does. You most likely can’t or don’t want to cook much on those days. If so then you’ll need to work out a plan that allows you to pre-prepare food for the days you have to work a lot. Or if you have a long commute. You’ll want to adjust to allow for quick breakfasts and easy to carry lunches that don’t skimp on the nutrition.

Or say it’s you that is sick. If you’re already ill with a chronic ailment you’ll want to approach The Granny Plan at your own pace. And you’ll need to make adjustments to help deal with any bad days where you just can’t get much done. Cooking ahead a bit when you have a good day is helpful, for instance. Making freezer meals works out well.

 

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Building up a Real Food Pantry

[ The Granny Plan was originally inspired by a weekly series I wrote back in 2013. I thought I’d share some of the original for new readers … just click thru the links to get a little taste of the book from the linked post excerpts. ]

We’re rounding that last curve around the track to the finish line in “The Granny Plan” this week. Oh, we still have a few more steps to cover but we’re getting so close! Today we’re going to talk about ingredients and the logistics of keeping what you need to make what you want on hand. Most times this is where people start talking about menu planning, but I’m not going to talk about that. While menu planning is a step up from panicked runs to the grocery store on a daily basis it still falls far short of ideal. And pantry cooking is so much easier than menu plan cooking that we’ll just jump right in. You’ll want to be prepared to make most anything you might usually make at all times. A good pantry reduces a lot of the work of scratch cooking.

The Pantry Principle

In my series “The Pantry Principle” I talk about how having a pantry full of ingredients keeps real food costs as low as can be and makes cooking faster and easier by eliminating multiple runs to the grocery store.

But how do we get there? A big backlog of real food sounds great but virtually impossible to achieve! First there’s storage, where would I put it? And next, how do I get the extra money it would take to buy ahead? What about spoilage? What about storing perishables with only a tiny freezer to do it in?

One Step at a Time

As with all things in “The Granny Plan” we handle this one step at a time. If we try to swallow this elephant whole we’re bound to make some costly mistakes. So let’s break it down into simple steps we can start on one at a time and gradually build up to the point we have the pantry we’d like to have.

First, realize that the list of things you’d want to keep on hand in a real food kitchen is pretty finite. Granny didn’t go to huge grocery stores … the variety of things you’ll need for real food scratch cooking is really quite small. I give a sample list of raw ingredients in this post what you’ll need as raw ingredients. Of course you’ll want to adjust this list to match your kitchen eventually, but don’t worry about that right now.


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Begin a Real Food Project

[ The Granny Plan was originally inspired by a weekly series I wrote back in 2013. I thought I’d share some of the original for new readers … just click thru the links to get a little taste of the book from the linked post excerpts. ]

Moving on to the second half of The Granny Plan

With the basics under our belt we’re now ready to move on to the fundamental foods of a real food diet. Excited? I know I am. This is where we start working on the core of what traditional food is all about, that is wholesome ingredients! Sure, we’ve made a few adjustments here and there leading up to this point but now we’ll start planning a strategy to undertake some bigger projects. Things like locating and buying raw milk, beginning to make fermented foods and breads with soaked flour, and stocking a pantry with wholesome ingredients so we’re ready for anything!

Are you revved up? Let’s get underway with a question …

What is the real food you most want to have?

Which food is most important for you to have on hand regularly? You’ll need to consider the needs and preferences of your family … then you’ll know exactly what to start on first  .

Do you have someone with gut issues? Maybe fermented foods are a high priority in your home. Got bread lovers? Maybe learning to bake soaked or soured breads is important to winning them over to this new way of eating. Someone who can’t live without their processed food treats? Learning to make desserts well may be in order. Does someone in your home have asthma? Finding raw milk may need to be first. Or is your spouse particularly concerned about getting good beef? Getting a freezer and stocking it may help ease the transition and make your spouse happy with all the changes.

All our families are individual, with our own individual food preferences and health issues. No one can tell you which real food project should be first for you. You’ll need to decide that for yourself. But at this point you are ready to pick a project and begin thinking of how best to accomplish it.

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What Can I Improve in 15 Minutes?

[ The Granny Plan was originally inspired by a weekly series I wrote back in 2013. I thought I’d share some of the original for new readers … just click thru the links to get a little taste of the book from the linked post excerpts. ]

This step is all about thinking, just simply thinking.

No actual doing involved, unless of course you really want to. Everyday pose this question to yourself: “How can I improve our diet today in just 15 minutes?”

No commitment to do any of the things you think up is required, at least not right away. Just think up one of two that you believe you could realistically do in about 15 minutes. Things like finding a healthy version of a favorite recipe or researching sources for olive oil. Like clearing your counters or pre-preparing snacks. Jot down your ideas somewhere where you’ll see them often. You can do any of them whenever you are good and ready, or do none of them at all. All we’re committing to is thinking about them.

Do commit to thinking up one each day. Just thinking about it will get the wheels turning in the right direction. You’ll find you are scarcely able to restrain yourself from doing them all right away. If this week is a calm one pick one or two to do, but no more for this week … we want to ramp up slowly. After that you can take them at whatever pace you like. The idea is to make a habit of thinking of the things that need to be done in small chunks rather than large projects. Small chunks that can be done today and move you toward larger goals.

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Eliminate One Fake Food

[ The Granny Plan was originally inspired by a weekly series I wrote back in 2013. I thought I’d share some of the original for new readers … just click thru the links to get a little taste of the book from the linked post excerpts. ]

Okay, now things start to get a bit tougher!

You’ll need a bit of resolve to follow thru on this one so pick a good day. One where things are relatively calm and peaceful. One where you have time to think.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for … we’re going to start eliminating the bad stuff and replacing it with the good!

Mostly people jump to this step first, I think. And then they pick the thing they are most attached to eating as the first thing to eliminate. Soon after in the heady afterglow of getting rid of that food they quickly rifle thru the pantry throwing out so much that there is nothing left to eat. This is a really big mistake that is bound to upset the family, and exhaust and discourage you. Instead we are going to go thru this one week at a time, one item at a time. Doing the BIG cleanout makes things so much harder than they have to be, stressing yourself and family out in the process.

So, let’s get to finding that first item …

Try to focus on foods that have either hydrogenated fats or margarine first. Look for ingredients like cottonseed oil, soybean oil, shortening, margarine, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil or any use of the word hydrogenated. If it has these toxic fats in it it should be amongst the first things to disappear from your kitchen.

Now, don’t be surprised to find that when you check the ingredients labels on virtually any processed food you are going to find one of these fats listed. This is the major reason why processed foods are so very bad for you.

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The Art of Thoughtful Real Food Compromise

What kind of compromises are you prepared to make? Almost no one goes into a major change in their life or their diet thinking of the need for compromise. The very human tendency is to believe that you can “be the change” 100% right off the bat, or at least soon thereafter. At that point no further compromise is necessary … you’ve made it, you’ve arrived. But change is really a journey and not a destination. You never arrive, not completely. There is just variation in the degree of the completeness of your arrival.

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