How much time do you realistically have to spend in the kitchen each day? This decision will affect all the others!
Time in the kitchen is a delicate balance. If you’re very sick, your priority of good health is much higher — but you may have less energy. If you’re feeling well, you may over schedule in other areas of your life — at the expense of your health.
I have a cookbook called Desperation Dinners that has taught me a lot about how to spend less time in the kitchen. It doesn’t necessarily use any healthy approaches, but I’ve found that it’s easy to adapt the recipes. The authors’ claim to fame is to be able to spend 20 minutes in the kitchen preparing a meal, from top to bottom. I have found that when cooking from scratch, I can often do it in about double that time, or in 45 minutes at the most. That’s the goal shoot for daily.
Breakfast can be made quickly by soaking any grains the night before. Oatmeal cooks in a matter of minutes, and muffins and other quick breads can bake while you put on your makeup.
Lunch can be simple with some soup that is started right after breakfast and simmers on the back burner. Add bread, raw vegetables and fruits, and some sliced cheese. Cups of milk complete this simple meal.
Supper can be any foods you like (that are good for you). Purchase a good cookbook like Nourishing Traditions, then simply substitute good ingredients into your favorite recipes. Use creme freche instead of sour cream. Use homemade stock instead of store-bought bouillon. Learn to prepare foods yourself, rather than use a mix. You can do this by purchasing simple cookbooks, such as Betty Crocker’s or Fanny Farmer’s. These will contain multitudes of recipes for anything you can imagine. (You can also visit my recipe page.)
However, in addition to the time it takes to make your three basic meals, you will also need to find time to add “preparation time” to your schedule. You’ll need time to make stocks, breads, sprout grains, grind flour, make yogurt and sourdough starters, make creme freche, make butter, and make lacto-fermented vegetables. Which things you choose to make will be personal decision. Don’t get discouraged when you first try, though. The first few times will be much slower. You’ll eventually speed up!
I have found that I need a daily preparation time. This time depends on our schedule and on your activity level. Choose a time of day when you’re not too tired and when your feet don’t hurt. Strap on that apron, and get to work. A daily time is better, since many foods need daily care (such as sourdough). Plan for about an hour, but if you can’t devote that long, simply consistently do what you can, and be amazed as your healthy food stores add up!
Finally, realize that in old times, not every home was totally self sufficient. Neighbors relied upon one another, and this is still a smart policy. If you can find some friends who are trying to improve their diets as well, help each other out. Get together occasionally for a cooking day. If someone excels at breadmaking, trade your soup-making skills with hers. You may be able to find help by contacting your local chapter of the Weston A. Price foundation.