A survey of American’s relationship to their kitchens reported that 10% said they loved to prepare food, 45% said they outright hated making food and 45% confessed to being ambivalent. That is 90% of the population not showing up with any enthusiasm toward this once considered “sacred space of hearth and home” that nurtured generations. With 90% of disease now considered food related, it may be time to unravel the collapse of our relationship with this once central spot.
If you look at American magazines you would assume we love and adore the kitchen. Kitchens are now designed with cathedral ceilings, recessed lighting, granite counter tops, kitchen islands so big they’re kitchen continents, ultra designed backsplashes, stainless range hoods, sinks just to fill up the pasta pot. We are mesmerized by a futuristic gleaming kitchen with no crumbs, no little sticky paw prints, no spills, no dirty dishes in the sink. The central message is “look how perfect I am”. Everything tucked away in IKEA cabinets and drawers. A kitchen so sterile there are no signs of food.
If you have a kitchen like this, I am not suggesting you take a wrecking ball to your kitchen island or Subzero refrigerator. I, too, love a beautiful kitchen. I have a Viking stove, not because I cook that much. I’ve been eating an 80% live-food diet now for 14 years. I have it for a couple of reasons. One: it grounds me. Two: it is to celebrate my late in life love affair with the kitchen.
My main objective is not to pick on anyone’s kitchen. This newsletter’s intent is to encourage each one of us to uncover our mixed relationship with this complicated food center in the home. Only when we do this can we begin the work of healing our bodies and embrace with open arms all the kitchen can offer.
We all have complex narratives and come at life differently. But what we all share is our need to eat foods that create complete wholeness, not foods that do us harm. Questioning our own thoughts and feelings about our relationships with our kitchens requires curiosity. Then to investigate the particulars that make us tick and, ultimately, make change where change is needed.
BREAKING UP WITH OUR OLD KITCHEN IDENTITY
To understand our relationship with the kitchen and food, each one of us has to do our own personal work. Often that means first going back before we can go forward. My mother hated the kitchen and she didn’t keep it quietly to herself. Her mother hated the kitchen. My grandfather was not a faithful man. He kept a whole other family across town. My mother and grandmother would spend long lonely hours, sometimes days, waiting for him to return home. Theirs was not a loving household with long leisurely meals and conversation. This environment had my mother entering motherhood feeling angry and bitter at the kitchen, often explosive at having to make us meals.
I have worked my whole adult life attempting to shift my generational relationship with food and make peace with the kitchen. My relationship with the kitchen has not always been smooth runnin’s. Its not that I hated it. I just couldn’t trust my dysfunctional relationship with overeating. The pain from the women in my family left a lingering hole in my heart.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, it would force me to come to terms with my limited habits of self care if I wanted to fight the disease and win.
A quote that fits this period of my life perfectly is by Henri Nouwen:
“You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking”.
I spent a lot of time unfolding my generational bundle, and it was there I came to understand my unresolved relationship to nurturing myself. Only when we name it and claim it can we clearly begin to resolve it.
When I began fighting cancer, I followed the work of the late Dr Ann Wigmore. It meant copious amounts of fresh juice to alkalize the blood and rid my body of toxins, easy to digest emulsified blender drinks so I could rebuild my immune system, live fermented foods to address my neglected colon, sea vegetables to rebuild my mineral reserves, whole food Superfoods to supplement with building and repair of cells and organs at the DNA level.
This way of eating asked that I give up my idea of the perfectly clean, tidy kitchen and turn it into not just a Green Healing Kitchen but a workshop. My Omega juicer and Vitamix needed to claim space on my countertop 24/7. Local fresh veggies needed baskets and containers, as well as a compost bucket. Making 5 juices a day and heaping green salads is constant and messy. My vision of the perfect clean kitchen was losing ground while I was winning my life back. I quickly began sprouting and growing greens in the kitchen so that I could take advantage of ‘source to stomach’ foods. Wheatgrass flats sat around on the countertop. My kitchen became a science lab. All this creation was in no way how I was taught a kitchen should look or behave.
Yet, a Green Healing Kitchen is alive, vibrant, a place of possibility. My love of live foods encouraged me to build a greenhouse one step off the kitchen that really integrates live foods into the room. Need salad greens? Just pick ’em, cut ‘um up and add a garlic dressing. The ultimate, intimate connection to your food.
So, in summary, what I am trying to say is what we have been led to believe a kitchen should look like is wide open to a whole new concept of imagination. It was this kind of kitchen, far from my mother’s kitchen, that saved my life and helped me build a sane relationship to food. I invite you on a journey of creation.
JOIN THE HEALTHY FOOD REVOLUTION!
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