Integrative Nutrition Tips with Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN

Posted on July 23rd, 2012 by in Nutrition

Is there anything more satisfying than sitting down to a yummy, home-cooked meal prepared with fresh ingredients and with love? I’m embarrassed to admit that there are weeks when I don’t get that satisfaction for several days in a row, and I know I’m not alone.

“Many of us are strangers to our kitchens,” says Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN, a nutritionist and dietician whose passion for the power of food has spanned more than 30 years. A Senior Nutritionist in Kripalu’s Healthy Living programs, Kathy knows that packaged foods can’t offer the nutritional punch that fresh, whole foods can. “If you’re really interested in eating well,” she says, “you need to make cooking a priority.”

I get it, but I don’t always do it. Like everyone else, I live a fast-paced life in which work, long commutes, and the call of technology consume more and more of my time. Preparing meals can feel like just one more task on a never-ending to-do list. But Kathy says that we overestimate the amount of time cooking requires and underestimate the benefits we’ll receive if we can begin trading some time spent online for time spent in our kitchens.

After our Kripalu Perspectives podcast, Kathy shared some tips to get yourself cooking with gas:

BACK TO BASICS: You’re not going to cook if you don’t have the right tools. Fancy gadgets aren’t necessary, but make sure you have the fundamentals: some sharp knives, a wooden cutting board, salad spinner, cast iron skillet, stainless steel pot and pan, slow cooker, pressure cooker, stainless steel steamer basket, and some storage bowls.

STOCK UP: “If you’re going to cook, you need to shop,” says Kathy, who advocates a stock shopping list with kitchen essentials like extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, organic beans and eggs, nuts and seeds, brown rice, and your favorite fruits and vegetables. When it comes to produce, don’t wait until the 11th hour to chop it. Do it right when you come home from the market or first thing in the morning when you have more energy.

BEAUTIFY IT: You’re more apt to spend time in the kitchen if it’s an inviting place to be. Paint it a color that inspires you. Create a windowsill herb garden. Put photographs of family and friends in view. And keep it clean. Who wants to cook in a messy kitchen?

MORE CAN BE BETTER: How about leftovers? Make enough soup, rice, or pasta for a few days. Then all you have to do on a busy weekday evening is heat it up.

MIND YOUR THOUGHTS: Your attitude toward cooking makes a difference. Replace those “have to cook” thoughts with “want to cook” thoughts. Remember, your kitchen is your Grand Central Station of nourishment. Chop those carrots with a smile; rinse that kale with love. Cooking can be a meditative practice that brings you into the moment.

“We need to cultivate a relationship with food,” says Kathy. “We spend more time on laundry than we do in the kitchen. That has got to change.”

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About Portland Helmich

Portland is the creator, host, and producer of the Kripalu Perspectives podcast series. She's also is the creator, host, and executive producer of What’s the Alternative?, a series of 52 half-hour talk shows about natural and alternative forms of healing the body-mind on Veria Living TV, a natural health channel on DISH, FiOS, and Frontier. For 15 years, Portland’s been investigating natural health and healing as a host, reporter, writer, and producer. She's been an alternative medicine correspondent for Oxygen, a health reporter for The American Consumer on PBS, and was the creator, host, and executive producer of Journeys Into Healing on Wisdom Television. She produced for HealthWeek and Healing Quest on PBS and was a medical producer for WCVB-TV (Boston’s ABC News affiliate). She’s also covered the subject as a freelance writer for Body + Soul, Alternative Medicine, and Spa magazines. Portland currently lives in Boston and produces other natural health programming for Veria Living TV.
  • http://yournutritiontips.com/ Carl C Dominante

    I agree with Kathie, home-cooked meal prepared with fresh ingredients…
    cooking nutrition food is not easy but if you know the basic, your
    knowledge helps you to experiments.