Jenny L.: “Great Blog! I’m married to a chef and would love to see you write about getting your partner on board with revamping the kitchen.”

Lana: “Love it! Totally part of the plan…stay tuned! I’ll certainly zero in on this!”

Jenny L.: “Cool.  Because I’m gluten and dairy free and more…he can eat what he wants and thinks organic “isn’t worth it””

This is the good stuff.  This is where food gets fun. When we can make LOVE in the kitchen.

What better way to dive in, then sharing my own journey?  My own story of how love began in the kitchen. There’s a whole wild ride that took me to South Jersey and to the doorstep of a man’s home who is now my husband.  I moved in the day after we’d met (maybe that’s another post), as a roommate.

When Joe and I met and discussed our life’s mission and passions, my beliefs about food were so clear and bold that they seemed to hold precedence over everything else.  It’s the truth.  Today, ideas and beliefs have morphed and evolved, but when I was 22 years old, the way I lived was led mostly by my beliefs about what I chose to put in my mouth.

I shared with Joe, over dinner at Buddakan at the Pier in Atlantic City-that I am vegetarian and a self-taught nutritionist.  He had been searching for a way to make the transition to a greener, more conscious way of eating.  He said (in very different words and a much longer conversation), “Move in! Teach me how to eat!”  This idea excited me beyond words.  For years prior, I’d found pure joy in informing friends and family of the best options for optimal nourishment.

quite a lovely place to create a future

Exciting side note:  I still get random calls today from people that tell me that my dedication inspired them and they are now vegetarian-and a few even enrolling in schools that teach nutrition!

I was up for the challenge.  A few days after I moved in with Joe, he asked me to clean out his kitchen.  He asked if I would remove anything that he shouldn’t be putting in his body in effort to reach optimal health.  After a few hours, this was the kitchen:


Totally kidding, however, the cupboards were rather bare!

Here’s a perfect little clip Joe created all on his own a few months prior to our kitchen re-vamp:

The point is, I had to wipe out the kitchen almost completely.

I took everything out and picked a few items to read aloud the ingredients.

Goya Hot Sauce: Water, Green Tomatoes, Salt, Habanero Pepper, Fresh Onion, Acetic Acid, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, White Pepper, Habanero Pepper Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Garlic Powder, Natural Habanero Flavor, Monosodium Glutamate, Turmeric.

Monosodium Glutamate: “A widespread and silent killer that’s worse for your health than alcohol, nicotine and many drugs is likely lurking in your kitchen cabinets right now.

“It” is monosodium glutamate (MSG)1, a flavor enhancer that’s known widely as an addition to Chinese food, but that’s actually added to thousands of the foods you and your family regularly eat, especially if you are like most Americans and eat the majority of your food as processed foods or in restaurants.

MSG is one of the worst food additives on the market and is used in canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and much more. It’s found in your local supermarket and restaurants, in your child’s school cafeteria and, amazingly, even in baby food and infant formula.

MSG is more than just a seasoning like salt and pepper, it actually enhances the flavor of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny.

While MSG’s benefits to the food industry are quite clear, this food additive could be slowly and silently doing major damage to your health.”  Thank you, Dr. Mercola.

Not to mention, the label of this product had no indication it was free of GMO’s.

GMO: “Monsanto and other biotech companies claim genetically modified (GM) crops have no impact on the environment and are perfectly safe to eat.

Federal departments in charge of food safety in the US and Canada have not conducted tests to affirm this alleged “safety,” but rather have taken the industry-conducted research at face value, allowing millions of acres of GM crops to overtake farmland.

These foods, largely in the form of GM corn and soy (although there are other GM crops, too, like sugar beets, papaya and crookneck squash), can now be found in the majority of processed foods in the US.

In other words, if you eat processed foods, you’re already eating them… and these crops are already being freely planted in the environment. But what if it turns out that Monsanto was wrong, and the GM crops aren’t actually safe…

This is precisely what a number of scientists have been warning of for years, and the latest to sound the alarm is Dr. Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute for Science in Society, who has concluded that, by their very nature, there is no way GMOs (genetically modified organisms) can be safe.

[…]The truth is that studies of GM food have shown tumors, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, allergic reactions and more.”

Let me just thank Dr. Mercola one more time for his article, Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe from August of 2013.

This poor little guy was fed GMO corn.  Do your own research if you need more evidence of course!

Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready corn caused a host of negative health effects in rats, including tumors and premature death.
Photo Courtesy AFP Photo/Criigen

I could go on and on, but of course, there was no need to tell Joe of all the dangers lurking in his kitchen.  No need at all. We were tossing them all out!

Let’s step away from the ickyness now and move into love. Whew… better images.

We can, and will certainly get into all of the details later, but the important piece here is trust.  Joe trusted that I had done my research and I knew my stuff.  I was healthy, full of energy and vitality and walking the walk usually does it’s own talk.  Yeppers.  When you practice what you preach, it shows. You know that, right?

Joe and I took out the five, six or ten (it was quite a few) brown paper grocery bags out to the car to donate to friends that were in need and not yet in the position to make the transition themselves.  We proceeded to Whole Foods and slowly went through each isle to intelligently replenish the kitchen.  We replaced every thing from spices to condiments to everyday staples.

There are certainly plenty of details here and fun moments I will share soon, but it’s time bring it all together.  Joe would not have gotten in the kitchen right after this massive transition if I hadn’t kept it interesting.  I was fortunate to have his attention and receptivity from the start, but this can all be lost without engagement.

One of our gorgeous CSA (community supported agriculture) deliveries!

We shopped together, cooked together, explored new flavors and textures- new smells and sensations!

I’m really moving into the idea of embodying the divine feminine now.  In a relationship-there are ways to intrigue and engage your lover to begin to speak the same food language…

When it’s fun and exciting, the details of “organic,” or “gluten-free,” and “vegan” etc.- are second, and less important. Most likely, your partner isn’t going to disconnect from you to ask if the aroma you’re moaning about is coming from an organic vs. conventional spices sautéing over the stove.

The focal point is your relationship.  The food is only there to ignite.  

AND really, can anyone deny you’re making the right choices when it comes to what you’re putting in your mouth; if you feel great and are fit and healthy?!  Something to consider!

Vanessa Yeung, chef and partner at Aphrodite Cooks explains that, “It’s very sensual to cook together.  A lot of passion gets created in the kitchen because food and eating can consume all of your senses.  It’s very beneficial to at least be able to share in the experience […]”

Order a treat together and use ALL of your senses, enjoy slowly!

Joe loves to share this part of our foodie love story.  I asked him in June of 2008, “Do you realize you haven’t eaten meat for over a month now?” Joe was a bit shocked at this notion initially, but explains now that he felt supported and never felt a lack of options.  If you can take on the challenge of cooking and navigating the shopping adventures for a month or more-and stay dedicated-you’ll see results.  Are you open taking the lead in the kitchen?  I can say with certainty that I have yet to experience rejection when offering to shop and make dinner.

I will certainly go further into this concept of makin’ love in the kitchen, but for now, let’s see what begins to brew.

By all means-please share your kitchen love story in the comments below, or personally with me as this is the juicy subject that we’ll continue to explore!