Where The Journey Begins

First of all, let me say that I'm very excited that so many of you are interested in my latest food journey. I think it will be tremendously helpful and encouraging to share my discoveries and hear more about your food journeys.

To help me sort out and map out our itinerary, I think I'll embark on this journey like a journalist, using the good, old, "who, what, why, when, where, how" approach. Let's start with where.

molly in the kitchen

Where I spend most of my day, right here in the kitchen. I spend hours every day in this very spot. My kitchen island is food central.

the hub of our operations

This is where I prepare our meals and snacks and where I eat most of my meals (standing up). This is where I search for new recipes and try new recipes.
This is where I converse with family and friends, often about food. Chances are, if you've been to my house you've spent a majority of your visit in this very spot.

While I don't consider myself a foodie, I'm very much into food. I believe in communicating love and warmth through the food I make. I believe food is much more than nourishment for the body. Cooking is a form of expression. Eating is a wonderful way to connect with others. Food is one of the few things each and every human being has in common.

My food journey began long ago. When I was in my early teens, my grandparents were diagnosed with hypertension and high blood pressure and started taking some serious medications and altering their diet. I became acutely aware of sodium and have been ever since. Throughout my childhood, the women in my life did Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Atkins, The Zone - you name the diet, I know someone who has tried it.

In college I took several nutrition classes (I was a nursing major) and started altering recipes to reduce fat. When I had children, the reality that I was solely responsible for their nutrition hit me hard. I started reading labels very carefully, cooking nearly every meal from scratch, and talking to other moms about feeding our families. Over the years we've eliminated many things from our diet: hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors and colors, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, artificial sweeteners.

I buy organic often, but not always. We only eat local, in season fruits - which can get a little boring this time of year. Thank goodness we have local kiwis to give us a break from apples and oranges. Most of our vegetables are local and in season, but I do love the convenience of frozen veggies. We only eat meat 2-3 times per month, and we buy our meat from a local rancher at the farmer's market. Our eggs come from friends who have free range chickens; but soon they'll come from our own chickens. I shop at five different stores and the farmer's market. I bake all of our bread and baked goods, often adding a little milled flax seed, substituting apple sauce for oil and butter, using half whole wheat flour and half unbleached flour.

I'd like to say we eat well and have a healthy diet, but sometimes we "cheat". I've been known to drink soda on a bad day; the kids love Slurpee's now and then. My kids also eat more candy than they should - I'm a sucker, and the rest of our family delights in giving our children sweets. Some of the foods we love (specifically cereals and snack foods) contain ingredients that I know we shouldn't eat. I don't want to make rules against certain foods, but I want to educate myself and my family so we can make better choices. I want us to know why we say yes to some food and no to other food, and I want us to feel good about these choices. I want us to know where our food comes from and how it gets to our plate. I hope our journey leads us to a better understanding and appreciation for the role food has in our world, our lives and our bodies.

This just about covers where I come from, where I am and where I'm going in this latest food journey. But where am I getting information and where am I shopping?

Here are a few links I've been studying:

Organic Consumers Organization
Environmental Working Group
Weston Price Foundation
Institute for Responsible Technology

This is a lot of information to chew on, so I suggest small bites. My favorite new resource is the Non-GMO shopping guide found at the Institute for Responsible Technology. This guide has helped tremendously as I've trolled the aisles of several different grocery stores. Thankfully some of the brands we love are Non-GMO, such as Tillamook, Envirokids, Annie's, Organic Valley and Jelly Belly. Here's where I've been shopping: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, our local natural food store, and even the local, major chain grocery store - I just make sure to read the labels carefully. And of course the farmer's market. We're very fortunate to have a year round farmer's market every Saturday morning.

Phew! Have I lost you yet? It might be a few days before I share the next leg of our journey. I'm still digesting it all myself. Feel free to share more about your food journeys. We can all caravan together and share travel tips. Happy trails to you, until we meet again.


  1. Love your butcher block. I've always wanted one!

    Looking forward to any gardening tips too!


  2. First of all, you look mahhhvelous in those jeans! No need for yoga pants only any more. : ) Also, it is ao great that you are sharing your info with everyone. I am too lazy. I started on this journey fifteen years ago before most knew about all of this and I'm now finally loosening up a bit so that the kids don't react against our health talkin' crazyness! We were too extreme. Weston Price rules!!!

  3. i loved this post. and oddly enough, i just finished writing a post aout food and my children.

    we have never been eat out or eat processed but we do have more meat and fat in our diets than is probably good. our garden plans are ambitious for the year and we are looking into chickens, they just freak me out so much. their claws, you know?

    it was not our children that changed our eating, but it is solidifying our approach for sure. i am proud to say they have no idea what mcd's is, but they still love a good (homemade) chicken nugget. when they are not on food strike.

    i look forward to hearing more, thanks for the useful links. gotta love trader joe's, right?

  4. I think this is excellent. I come from a family with such bland tastes and unwillingness to try new food related things. I think that is why I like to cook - rebellion!

    I have a question ... what do you feed your chickens?

  5. You haven't lost me. Actually, quite the contrary. Where I live I feel very isolated from mothers who think about what you do. I'm sure it's not true, but I don't have a support system for thinking this way. My husband was single until his late 30's and existed on PBJ on white and take out Chinese so he's no help at all. I have picky eaters (even the toddler) so some days I'm just glad to see them swallow something - anything. I wish I was more involved in the process of feeding them and I'm hoping that reading about your food journey can help me motivate to do better for my kids.

  6. This is so awesome! I try so hard to do the same, but it is challenging!
    Here is a link I recently started using, to help figure out what is local...if anything it is interesting to look at!


    I got it from the blog
    one green generation, you probably already know about it, if not it is also a really great resource in general.....
    hope the chicks are doing well!

  7. Thank you for the link list. Now I have further rationale to buy only Green and Black's chocolate;>)!

  8. Isn't it nice to know that you are not alone on this journey? we eat so very similar to your family. (oh, we are going to a backyard chicken class next week even). I tell my kids that one way of showing my love to them is serving them healthy foods. And, food prepared with love always taste better. I recently purchased Nourishing Traditions but have not fully bought off on everything in it though. We make room for treats and sweets because truly - I love them. As a matter of fact, I'm eating chocolate right now : )

  9. Molly, have you read any of Michael Pollan's books? He was the one who inspired us to raise chickens, so we would know where our eggs were coming from, and after my husband and I read the Omnivore's Dilemma, we became much more conscious of our food choices (we've backslidden on some of our buying, guess it's time to reread!).

  10. You haven't lost me at all! I feel very similarly about food. I am going to it up those links very soon. We have a year round public market that is open tuesdays, thursdays, and saturdays and I'm hitting it up bright and early tomorrow morning!

  11. Like you, I believe in balance. I am very conscientious about what I buy and prepare for our family but I don't forbid treats. My kids have had McD's but the interesting thing is they would rather have calamari and shrimp at the local Greek restaurant than chicken nuggets.

    Too much information can drive you crazy! But...You might be interested in Gillian McKeith's website You Are What You Eat. Check out the healthy food section.

  12. Thank you so much for talking about this. I've been following your blog for a long time and love reading. This has me very excited because our cooking and buying food habits sound so similar and I'd love to tag along for your journey, so thank you!

  13. I can really relate to this post. It's a challenge to know how to eat these days.... but so many more people seem to be taking that conscience step towards making informed food decisions lately.

    I will certainly be following along :)

  14. i can tell this will be a great, never ending journey. thank you for sharing those links. it's a lot of information to take in, so i think its great you've opened up this discussion. looking forward to going on the journey with you.

  15. I've been going thru the food thing too. Still haven't put it all into words though. I enjoyed reading yours.


  16. A few favorites of mine (more on my sidebar):

    This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow

    Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

    Coming Home to Eat by Gary Paul Nabhan

    Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

    In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

  17. Yes, you are inspiring. Feeling the spring sap rising thing...eh?

  18. I felt like I was reading about myself there. The kitchen is where everything gets done and I even have my laptop in there...lol!
    Its refreshing knowing Im not the only one :)

  19. No, you have certainly NOT lost me.

    I found myself literally nodding my head, reading each paragraph. My grandfather and father were both diabetics, so I too had early awareness of ingredients. I too have cut out HFCS and trans fats, and only eat meat a couple times a month.

    I'm so with you on this journey, Molly. What a rich topic to explore.

    your fan ...

  20. Interesting blog. I am looking forward to learning more from those websites. I'll need you to burst my bubble about mayo. I know it is bad for me, but I love it!! I need to hear how discusting it is and maybe it will gross my brain out enough that I won't want extra mayo on everything!!!

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  22. Where did you find that local mango this time of year, I caught you you little mango junkie. Great post, Whole foods was refreshing. Nice FRESH produce

  23. I've even found some of those brands at grossme outlet on occasion ;) I'm so addicted to Whole Foods. Can't wait for our next shopping trip!
    I know you aren't into meats, but they have a good selection of deli meats without nitrates, etc. So exciting for my meat eating family!

  24. Thank you for the Non-GMO guide. My hubby talks about that stuff all the time.

  25. You have inspired me to get our diets more balanced. We were doing good for a long time, but the winter seemed to bring a lot of sugar.

    Love your banner.

  26. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad to hear some other family that eats similar to ours. I started out on our journey when my son was born. I made all his baby food from scratch. He will chose a salad over chix fingers. We love going to the farmer's market in the summer. Last year he helped me pick 50 pounds of strawberries and 20 pounds of Blueberries. I hope to see more families move into the eat local direction and away from processed foods. Keep inspiring us!

  27. Hi Molly! I am intrigued too.
    I've had this on my mind for some time now, and I try to be concious about what we consume. However, I have to admit that so many other things in life have distracted me from really addressing it.
    I am anxious to read more. Thank you for this wonderful post!


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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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