I am a pretty organized and clean person, but when it comes to my kitchen... it's a different story.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not dirty, just unorganized. I live in a studio apartment with not a lot of storage space or kitchen counter room -- so wherever something fits, it goes. But did you know the way your kitchen is organized can impact healthy eating habits? Obviously healthy eating starts with the food that is in your kitchen, but having spices readily available and a kitchen that is easy to maneuver will make you more likely to want to cook in that kitchen.
This is where Kristen Coffield of The Culinary Cure comes in to save the day. Coffield does something called a "kitchen intervention" where she goes through your entire kitchen, throws out things that are bad, and organizes to help simplify your life. "A kitchen intervention is a way to help people get a fresh start on how they shop, cook and eat. It is one step in a process of taking control of your health and deciding to feel great and enjoy the process of nourishing your body. It is done in conjunction with designing a culinary plan that includes shopping for meals and not food and having the tools you need in place to prepare simple, delicious, healthy meals," added Coffield.
Coffield stopped by my apartment for a "modified" kitchen intervention (I was home. Typically a person will not be in the house during a kitchen intervention). Coffield started by going through all my cabinets and taking out EVERYTHING. She took out food, cups, dishes, spices, and anything else that was found in my cabinets.
A typical kitchen intervention goes like this, "Clients fill out a questionnaire that covers their eating, exercise and sleep habits. They have to be committed to the process and want to trade habits that do not support their health and vanity goals for habits that do. I don’t do kitchen interventions when the client is present because they have attachments to things that HAVE TO GO! I go insane, I take EVERYTHING out of the kitchen and reboot it in a way that makes it brand new for the client, and a more functional space to accomplish meal prep in. I want to help people have a more relaxed relationship with food and cooking," said Coffield.
Some people are probably thinking, "well why don't I just throw out the bad food? Why do I have to organize my whole kitchen?" Coffield says, "most people end up just putting stuff anywhere it will fit, so there is no strategic thought given to placing stuff where it needs to be for ease of use.. The things that you use the least live in the spots that are hard to get to, the stuff you use all the time needs to be close to where it gets used." And you might have old food in hidden spots you don't know about. "Old food is literally dangerous, old herbs and spices have no beneficial value. Highly processed foods create inflammation in the body, so does sugar, artificial ingredients, bad fats and preservatives. If it has more than 10 ingredients don’t buy it, if you don’t know what the ingredients are don’t buy it, if sugar or any of the ose's sucrose, glucose, fructose, are one of the first few ingredients don’t buy it…if you bought it throw it out!"
When Coffield was done with my kitchen, we put some stuff aside to donate, threw out old and unhealthy foods, stacked and organized my tupperware, dishes, and spices, reorganized my counter space, and put my stuff in places that made more sense for everyday life.
Coffield says the biggest mistake people make when organizing their kitchen is having too much stuff. "You can do so much with the right tools and and they don’t have to be fancy! A wok, green surface non stick saute pan, a stock pot and saucepan, and a good strainer. Add some cutting boards and good knives and you can do a lot."
My two biggest takeaways from my kitchen intervention were 1. make your own salad dressings and 2. not everything needs to be on your countertop.
Coffield wants people to know it doesn't have to be expensive and time consuming to eat well. "People need to understand you really do need to eat well, to be well! It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but it needs to be thought out. Shopping with intention for meals not food and reading labels are key. NEVER put food where you can't see it or you won’t use it. Americans throw out 40 percent of the food they buy…don’t be one of them. Shop, cook and eat with a plan!"