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kitchanatomy - kitchen detox



  5. 5. Learning The Basic of Meal Planning
  11. Conclusion


Congratulations on taking the first step toward getting your health on track. When you clicked “BUY NOW” you started a chain reaction that will cause many wonderful things to happen in your life and your kitchen. When I was designing these classes I had 3 goals in mind.

  1. You already know that every health journey starts in the kitchen, so I wanted to start there!
  2. I wanted you to have a love affair with your kitchen that will keep you firmly planted in your health goals.
  3. I wanted to give you a BIG BANG for the buck with robust classes and a small price point.

Please let me know if I have delivered on my promise. You will be offered a 100% no questions asked money back promise if you feel at any point the material isn’t right for you.

For the Best Results...

Each class is designed with action steps in mind. You can expect some reading, a video and a worksheet for each class. Every class is self-paced and designed to help you work through step-by-step changes in your kitchen. I strongly suggest that you do not skip around in the material provided in these 10 classes. They are intended to be completed in the order in which they appear.

You might run into some roadblocks along the way. I have labeled a few in the worksheets to let you know that it is ok to move forward without completing the specific task. For example, maybe you need to replace some storage containers and you need to save up money to do that. It’s ok to move forward past this kind of roadblock.

I do recommend that you complete the worksheets. After all, you signed up to get your kitchen detoxed right? These will help you stay organized. We all have busy lives and using these worksheets will really help you prioritize your time. To get the whole family involved, print your worksheets out and keep them on the counter or posted on the fridge so that everyone stays in the loop and gets excited about the process. Some like to keep them in notebooks to stay organized. The choice is yours. Find a method that works best for you.

The videos vary in length. They will show hands on tasks that will help you reach your kitchen detox goals. The videos are short, anywhere from 5-15 mins long. I recommend that you read the class introduction, watch the video, read the instructional information and then tackle the worksheets. The classes were specially created to flow in this way.

One last thing, we have a great support group on Facebook, the link is here…. Please come and chat with us. It’s a great place to share tips and tricks. Also, I frequently answer questions on the page and can sometimes offer support there directly and quickly.

Next Video!

CLASS #1 - Defining Your Kitchen Challenges

This may be the most important and the most difficult class for you. Anytime you are asked to face your challenges and be honest with yourself about these it can be uncomfortable. Don’t fret. I have some outline subjects that will get your gears turning. If I don’t address your personal concerns specifically, it’s ok to head on over to the Facebook group and brainstorm it with us. Listen in on my story and what I was facing when I started a kitchen detox. Trust me, it was not pretty!


I hope I put you at ease now that you know that challenges are not unique only to your kitchen. One important thing I have learned throughout the years is that my health is a continuing education. I have taken great steps to improve it, but being a champion of my health doesn’t stop there. I will always be a student of my own health, learning and adapting in an effort to create a healthier lifestyle.

1. The Clutter

So now it is time to take stock in the kitchen and see what belongs and what does not. One of the biggest complaints I hear is my kitchen is not big enough. When I found myself in a kitchen recently to do a kitchen detox, the biggest complaint I heard was there wasn’t enough counter, cupboard or drawer space. Let’s be crystal clear. I am not an organizational expert. But from the outside looking in I could see where all “the space” in this person’s kitchen had gone. Here are the action steps we took to make more kitchen space.

  • We took everything out of the kitchen that was not a tool for cooking, not a food item, not for kitchen cleaning or serving pieces. This included phone chargers, sunglasses, mail, decorations in workspaces, and even the trashcan!
  • We allowed for one junk drawer (practical) to store things like small household tools, pens, scratch pads, sunglasses, and the usual type of clutter we find in our kitchens. We designated the drawer for extra things but waited to fill it until we were sure that we did not need it for real kitchen tools.
  • We removed all small appliances off the counter top.

These few steps made a huge difference, especially since a tennis racket, track shoes, and a scarf collection really do not belong in the kitchen. I could see the lightbulb go on when we finished and found a home for all the stuff we removed that did not belong in the kitchen. I could feel the pushback of not having a charging station on the counter top in the kitchen, so we made a neat little basket where the cords could be rolled up and the phones could sit right in the basket while charging. One of the real eye openers was removing non-functional decoration off the cabinet tops. They were beautiful and if it were a model home for sale I would have recommended leaving them but in a workspace where they had no function and were eating up valuable counter space, they needed to go.

2. Over Tooled and Under Spaced

This is such a common problem. I love the kitchen store! I used to be guilty of wanting a fast fix for prep work in the kitchen. Gadgets are dear friends of this author. When I detoxed down to the basics and cleaned up my workspaces, I found it was way easier and time efficient to just use a cutting board and a nice sharp knife instead of a fancy slicer gadget. Huge lightbulb moment for me.

So being over-tooled is the affliction of many. The slicers, dicers, cookers, mixers, and makers seem so attractive. They all promise to save you time and money. But the truth is they are shiny objects that are taking up valuable space in your kitchen. We will discuss basic tools to get about just any job done in the kitchen in another lesson. You don’t need a lot to make the kitchen an amazing, efficient space. Here is the Kitchanatomy rule. If you are not using a tool at least every 2 weeks it is time for it to go and free up critical space in your kitchen. Remember, I said this might be the hardest lesson in this entire class? Well this is where the rubber meets the road!

3. Everything Has a Place - The Easy Reach

Tell me if this has happened to you. Your utensils are normally within reach, you open the drawer and fumble around looking for your favorite wooden spoon. You open the next drawer and no spoon. You look in the dishwasher, hoping that someone did not make a mistake and put it in there. Nope, not in there. Two days later you are getting flatware out for dinner and you find your favorite wooden spoon. Your husband put it there when he was putting dishes away. Makes sense, it is a spoon and there are other spoons in that drawer, right?

Before you blame the person that was trying to help you out with kitchen chores, think about establishing the EASY REACH rule. The Easy Reach rule is this:

  1. Everything in your kitchen has a space.
  2. Everything in your kitchen is within easy reach for your designated workspaces (we will cover defining workspaces in Class #2).
  3. If you have kitchen helpers show them the ropes or make labels for things so they know where everything goes.

The Easy Reach Rule will change your relationship with your kitchen. You will find prep work, cooking and clean-up woes will disappear in a hurry. The frustration of unloading the dishwasher becomes a thing of the past and you’ll never have another misplaced wooden spoon again!

4. The Dirt on Clean Up

Above I just referenced clean-up, probably the most dreaded of all dreaded kitchen tasks. It’s so much fun to cook, if only we had Jane Jetson’s futuristic kitchen where the whole mess just disappeared in the wall like magic! I will admit this is the worst part of cooking, even for me. I firmly believe that more and more people are eating out just to avoid doing the dishes after a meal. Is this you? I have helped minimize my anguish with just a few simple rules that I want to impart to you.

  1. So you have heard the relationship rule of never going to bed when you are angry,right? The same theory applies in my house except with dirty dishes. We never go to bed with dishes in the sink. I have been up until 2AM doing dishes. If you leave them they will stink up your house and double (or triple) your workload when you “have time” to do them. Just remember an undone task always has to BE DONE at some point. Chores, like cleaning up after a meal, have a way of haunting you. So do the dishes before you go to bed.
  2. I’ll be the first to admit I am a messy cook. I tend to have stuff everywhere as I cook through a recipe. So to help me with this problem I do one simple thing. I clean as I go. Here is a great example. If I need to prep veggies for steaming, while they are steaming I clean my prep workspace. This means I’m prepared for the next step such as prepping the chicken I might be cooking. My knife is clean, my surface is clear and I’m ready for the next task. When all is said and done, I have less work to do at the end of the meal. Perfect, practical and simple!
  3. Always make sure your dishwasher or dish strainer is emptied or has enough room left to handle the dish load you are about to create. There is nothing worse than starting to do the dishes and discovering that the dishwasher is full. Then you are left with 2 choices, turn on the dishwasher and let it go through the full cycle or do the dishes by hand. Neither is ideal. SO before I even start cooking I make sure I have adequate space in my cleanup workspaces to handle all the dishes.
  4. Over-tooled – once again we talk about too many gadgets in the kitchen. In Class #8 you will learn about the top 6 tools you need in a healthy kitchen (no peeking, it’s #8 for a reason!). If you are over tooled you will find yourself with a mess to clean up at the end of a cooking session. This is why if you have 6 stainless bowls instead of 3 you will find it is quite easy to just reach for another one instead of washing the one you already used. Then you have twice as much to clean in the end. If you have only 3 stainless bowls and only one is right for the task and you already used it, you will be forced to clean it right then and reuse it. There are many examples I could use for this. Just be conscious about how you are using your tools as you work. Focus on doing more with less.

These tips are designed to give you less sink time and more time doing the thing you love. It also takes the stress out of cooking if you have a few steadfast rules in place that are aimed at helping you WANT to be in your kitchen. See what works for you. Keep in mind, nothing in these classes are hard and fast rules but merely suggestions of things to try.

5. Even the Trash Needs a Good Home

The last principal in defining your challenges is the trash. Now it might surprise you that I would even address this subject. The fact is we all need a trashcan in our kitchen. Most of them are out of site of the public eye. My question is, is it convenient? In the next class we will be talking about workspace definition and your trash is part of that. The worst of the worst is a kitchen trashcan that does not have a hands free lid. After all, you don't want to be touching a dirty trash can lid while you are cooking, right? So here are some ideas to solve trash disposal problems.

  • Check the Bag - In the same way we make sure to have enough space in our dishwasher to handle the dishes we are about to dirty up we should check our trash can before any cooking task starts. I hate doing prep work only to find my trashcan isfull and needs a new bag.
  • Leave it Out - I understand why we hide our trashcans away. Common places are under the sink, a pullout drawer or in a pantry. While I am cooking I have my trashcan at my prep station. This allows me to dispose of trash right then and there. Then I don’t have it in my sink or on my counter. I won’t drip icky stuff from my prep space to my trashcan. This method is so efficient and the trashcan is easy to put away when I am done.
  • The Full Bag - Leaving full bags of trash even in the garage or near the back door is asking for trouble. Critters love smelly trash! Take it right from the can to the designated final disposal spot. We have two outdoor cans, one for recycle and one for bagged garbage. They sit near the garage door and we have a routine to dispose of household trash. No worries about creepy crawlies because we have an easy system in place.

I love having simple systems in place. I bet one of these hit home with you. Now taking out the trash will be simplified and you are one step closer to a detoxed kitchen.


Time to put all you have learned to work for you. Use the worksheet as your guide. Remember there are no hard and fast rules. Everyone’s kitchen is unique. This worksheet is downloadable and printable, so don’t be afraid to brainstorm and do as many rewrites as you need. . Remember, this is ALL ABOUT YOU! Do what works for you!

Next Video!


Believe it or not, you have definable workspace in your kitchen. I think we forget sometimes that as beautiful as our kitchens may be, it is there for us to work in. It’s nice to have a pretty space to prep and cook in, but functionality has to win out in the end. So this class is designed to help you define these amazing workspaces. You are one step closer to falling in love with your kitchen! In this video I will describe the work stations and their functions..


1. The True Cooking Spaces

In a kitchen we have several spaces that are designed specifically for cooking. These spaces are: the cooktop, the oven, various small appliances and the microwave. For all of the Kitchanatomy purposes we will be focusing on the cooktop, the oven and one small appliance, the crock pot. Forming a lasting relationship with these spaces means learning all you can about them. I cook in a lot of different kitchens, some professional and some personal. What I have found is that most people do not know the capabilities of their cooking spaces. They underestimate all the amazing possibilities that you can achieve with just 2 things, a cooktop and an oven.

One of my favorite stories to share is the time I was teaching someone about cooking spaces and when I opened the oven I discovered the inside was a storage space for all of the cookware. I asked why, and the answer was, “I am afraid of my oven. I have ruined so much food in this oven so I just use my little toaster oven now and the regular oven for storage.” Needless to say, we worked on getting rid of that fear and got the cookware in the cupboard and the toaster oven went away, freeing up valuable counter space in the little kitchen. I tell you this story because you don’t need gadgets to make your cooking habits easier or your skills better. You need an education about how the oven or cooktop works and then you can start to form a relationship with them and learn to love their “no frill” ways. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Find the owner’s manuals to your cooktop and oven. Read them. You can find them online if you don’t have the originals. This will help you start to understand your cooking spaces from a technical standpoint.
  2. Buy an oven thermometer. Keep it in the oven so you can see the real temperature inside. My oven is a little on the hot side. When I started using an oven thermometer my oven projects got much easier and some of my kitchen fails went away.
  3. Learn the type of cookware that works best on your surfaces. If you have gas you might find cooking in cast-iron is better. If you have a glass top you might prefer something lighter that will heat evenly. We will talk more about this in class #3.
  4. Learn the suggested methods for cleaning your cooktop and oven. This can make things a lot less frustrating if you understand the best and easiest way to keep things clean.

If I can only teach you one thing about your cooking workspace, it is this – define the tools that you use in this space and keep them near. I refer to this as the “Easy Reach”.The Easy Reach gives you what you need when you need it. I can’t stress how important this is. You want to end kitchen fails and cooking frustrations? Organize your spaces around each workstation. With the easy reach, everything that you need for a workspace should be no more than 2 steps away and most things should be within arm’s length. Here is a list of things that you need around your cooking workspace:

  • pot holders and oven mitt
  • salt and pepper, on the counter in easy reach position
  • oils (keep them within reach but not in a cabinet above the cooking workspace because the heat can cause them to go stale or rancid)
  • serving platters
  • all cookware
  • cooking utensils (in a nearby drawer or on the counter)
  • spices, stored in a nearby space that does not get warm from the cooking workspace.
  • spoon rest
  • open, uncluttered counter space on each side

You get the idea. On the worksheet you will find some easy steps to get your workspaces to flow like a champ! Let’s move on to other spaces and talk about how they flow and what should be in Easy Reach areas nearby.

2. The Sink

Try to imagine your kitchen without a sink and faucet. Do you think you would function in the kitchen very well without one? You may not think of them as a workspace but it is the king of workspaces and really the only ones you really don’t want to live without. So many functions happen in the sink workspace.

  • source of water for many tasks
  • temporary holding space for dirty dishes
  • place to do dishes
  • hand washing
  • rinsing food
  • cleaning
  • soaking

These are crucial functions and an underrated space for overall importance. I can remember once I was remodeling a kitchen a long time ago and all my appliances were in and working but the sink I had ordered was not installed yet. I could not function in the kitchen. As much as I wanted to use my freshly remodeled kitchen I could not because I had no sink. It’s that important!

Here is short list of things that you might have in Easy Reach from your sink:

  1. dish soap (I am going to teach you how to make some in the next class)
  2. sponge, scrubby, or dish cloth
  3. dish towels
  4. veggie scrubber
  5. ring holder6. hand soap

The area under the kitchen sink is often a catch-all for many toxins! In the next class we will talk more about specifics of getting rid of these toxins and replacing them with things that will save you money and keep you from getting poisoned.

3. Counter Top Prep Stations

If you are starting on a real food cooking journey, you will find yourself doing a lot of prep work. You need some counter space to do this in. In the first lesson and worksheet we talked about clutter and getting it off your counter tops. This section is why it is important that you finish that task.

The prep stations are important for many reasons. This is where you will chop, slice, dice, grind, mix, blend and more! When you are cooking real food you will give your prep spaces a good workout. It is important to define them in your kitchen. Here is an example. Beside my sink to the right is a butcher block counter top that is about 3’ wide. This is where I do most of my prep work with my knife. To the right of that is a counter top that is about 5’ long. I keep this space decluttered for all my mixing, small appliance work and staging. I have defined spaces in my kitchen for certain types of work. You can do this too. Here are some tips for success.

  • When choosing a space for your knife work, think about being close to the sink. When you need to wash things you want to be close. Your sink can act as a scrap catch- all.
  • Make sure you have adequate electrical outlets if you are selecting a space to use small appliances. Always make sure that your cords safely reach and are out of the way of water or other hazards, like a hot cooktop.
  • Choose spaces that are large enough to hold two of your biggest serving platters or baking sheets. This will insure that you have adequate flat space to work with.
  • Make sure you have the proper lighting. It’s helpful to see what you are working on in good light. This is better for your eyes and makes your work much less stressful.
  • Make sure you’ve selected spaces that are not designated for other work. For example, don’t use your stovetop for a cutting board space. It’s ok to multi task your space but make sure it is not a hazard.

I can’t define all your prep workspaces for you. It really depends on the type of cook you are. We all have different needs in the kitchen and you will have to personalize these ideas to fit your needs. For me, my prep workspaces are where I do my knife work and where I use small appliances for certain tasks. You on the other hand might be a baker and need more space for rolling out doughs. Or you might be a raw foodie and need bigger spaces for your juicer or blender. SO take some time and think about your needs and how you cook. If you are changing the way you do things, your workspaces will likely change along the way as well..

4. The Refrigerator and Freezer

Can you believe that we have only had personal kitchen refrigerators and freezers sincethe late 1920’s? What did people do before that? This is going to be another one of those painful conversations. This is why: I used to be the worst at opening my fridge and finding there was no space to put anything. I hated putting groceries away because it felt like there was no place for them. I would have to toss food that spoiled because I had no plan for leftovers and would forget about them because I couldn’t see them in the back of the fridge. Now that I buy mostly organic it can get expensive when that happens so I put the kibosh on this problem about a year ago. When we get to the section on meal planning this will help these woes a lot! For now let’s talk about refrigerators and freezers as a workspace. This is storage workspace. You don’t cook or prep in these spaces, you store. It is important to the flow of your kitchen that you think of these appliances in this way, as a true workspace. Here are some tips to make your refrigerator and freezer work for you!

  • Just like the rest of the kitchen, everything needs a home. If you buy apples every week, get a pretty bowl, wash them, and put them in the fridge in that bowl. If you have milk, make a space and that is where the milk goes every time it is used. Butter in a beautiful butter dish goes right back to the same spot every time after use. This is a great practice for staple items that are always in the fridge.
  • Organize with tall items in the back and shorter items up front. The only way we break this rule is for staple items. I like my staples to be up front and easy to grab.
  • I like to use liners in produce drawers. Even if it’s just a paper towel, it makes the drawers much easier to clean when the time comes.
  • Give your family the tour of the fridge. Show your family where to place staple items and put down labels as reminders. Tell them why it goes there and with a bit of luck when you are ready to use the item you will find it exactly where you need it to be. Making changes can be fun and if you are excited about it chances are you can get family members to get excited about it too!
  • If you use specific items for recipes and you want to insure they don’t get used for anything else, specify a place in the fridge for recipe ingredients. Convert a produce drawer for this purpose. This does two things. It helps your family help you and it makes it easier to gather ingredients for your recipe.
  • Rotate your food. Don’t put new food in front of old food. Rotate your old food to the front and keep newer food in the back. This will keep things fresh and prevent things from getting lost in the back row!
  • Get a sharpie marker! This is a good friend in any kitchen. When you open something, mark the date on it. This will help you know how fresh the item is. Using a sharpie is a simple and easy way to save time and money!

I could give you 100 tips for your refrigerator, but it’s time for you to put your gears in motion and come up with some ideas of your own that will make this very important storage workspace the happiest place in the kitchen!

5. The Pantry

The last of the workspaces, but not the least. Once again we consider this a storage workspace. I have a super small pantry. Honestly, a healthy kitchen does not need a large pantry, unless you are buying bulk. The normal things that are stored in a pantry are usually processed, boxed, bagged, canned or pouched items. When you start to change your lifestyle into more of a real food way of life you will find your pantry stayspretty emptied out. I have nuts, legumes, grains, baking staples, dried fruit, chocolate, and some gluten free paleo crackers in my pantry. I no longer need sugar, bread, cereal, can goods, pasta, pasta sauce, chips, or snack items in my pantry. Kinda crazy to think about. I might have just had my own lightbulb moment. Honestly, the same principles that apply to the refrigerator apply here.

  • Rotate food
  • If you buy in bulk then use mason jars to store your items. They will keep things fresher and way easier to use when you need it for a recipe. Plus it looks adorable!
  • Use that sharpie here too!
  • Keep staples in an easy reach place and use labels to make sure everyone knows where they go.
  • Tall items in the back, shorter up front.

We will be talking about staple pantry items in class #9. I will share with you everything a healthy kitchen pantry should have. In the meantime, you can work on getting rid of everything that should NOT be in your pantry.


This week while cooking, keep this work sheet close. Designate items that should be around each workspace. Everything that is not designated needs to go! Maximize your spaces with more room to move! Make cute labels to place in designated spaces for designated items.

Next Video!

Class #3 - The Detoxed Kitchen

In this class we will be discussing the physical part of detoxing your kitchen. There are three areas that I want to focus on that I find are “emergency” areas when it comes to getting harmful chemicals and surfaces out of the kitchen. They are pots and pans, storage containers, and cleaning products. In the video you will find a discussion about just pots and pan and storage containers. Then below that there is a quick bonus video with an interview that I did with my DIY cleaning product guru Dana from WholeHealthDana.com. Let’s get started!


1. Is Your Cookware Killing You?

The good news is probably not. There have been some scares over the years about non-stick surfaces like Teflon. Honestly, I find that a lot of hype surrounds these kinds of claims. There are only two times I would suggest that you run out and get new cookware and that is if you have damaged non-stick surfaces or are cooking in uncoated aluminum. These surfaces can release harmful chemicals that you probably need to avoid.

Your cookware is a kitchen tool that is an investment! It is important to treat cookware as an investment as well. In class #7, Your Kitchen Assets, we will talk about when it is time for an upgrade and even talk about how to make that happen on a budget. For this class I want to talk about different cookware surfaces, their toxicity and what you can expect when you cook on specific types. The following list is organized from most toxic to least toxic.

Most Toxic:

Aluminum - If you have non-coated, raw aluminum cookware you should consider recycling it. Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s and early dementia in humans. Here is the real trouble, when you cook at high heats or use acidic foods like tomatoes it causes the aluminum to breakdown and leech into your food. It is a small percentage and using an aluminum pan a few times does not mean you are doomed. The trouble is long term exposure. Research shows a commonality specifically in Alzheimer cases of greater amounts of aluminum deposits in the brain. Your exposure to the metal is from a lot of places, not just your cookware, however I believe that decreased exposure is key. Aluminum is one type of cookware that, even when undamaged, I would tell you to ditch.

Teflon Non-Stick – Really, who doesn't love a Teflon skillet for cooking eggs? They are great and make clean up a snap. Right? In the 1960’s non-stick Teflon cookware became popular. By the 1980’s Teflon was the king of cookware until it was suggested that ingesting flaked Teflon could be dangerous to your health. It is still a very popular cooking surface today. The fact is Teflon is inert in the body, meaning it causes no harm. So ingesting it is gross but not harmful. Shock, right? However that does not make non-stick Teflon surfaces completely safe. The trouble is when damage occurs.When you have a non-stick surface that is damaged with scratches, wear or chips you are exposing yourself to the binding agent that is used to make the cookware surface non-stick. If you read the “care” instructions that come with your non-stick cookware, it will tell you to dispose of damaged cookware. So for this reason Teflon non-stick should not be used with sharp or metal utensils and should never be put into the dishwasher. Also, they should never be used on high heats. This can release a toxic gas that is unsafe for living things. One last rule, they are not oven safe! It will cause the surface to bubble and peel. You should dispose of your Teflon cookware if it has any damage at all. On the other hand, if you are a good steward of the Teflon non-stick cookware then I would dare to say it is safe to use. No high heats, no scratches, no peeling and you will be safe!

Not So Toxic:

Stainless Steel - Are you surprised to see this on the NOT SO TOXIC List? The minor concern is that not all stainless steel is created equal. Some brands have large amount of other alloys such as nickel and chrome. The concern is once again for acidic foods and high heat cooking. If the metal alloys leech into the food it can cause a toxic exposure. I think leeching is a valid concern but the risk is minimal. The less expensive the cookware the more of these alloys will be present. For most of us, stainless is by far the best option for cooking. Although it’s not non-stick, it heats evenly. It is oven and dishwasher safe typically and is in a price range that most can afford. I would recommend these for just about any type of cook and especially one that wants to put cookware in a dishwasher.

Anodized Aluminum - So these are a combination of aluminum and non-stick. These are very versatile and suitable for most cooking styles. I have had a version of these and they lasted me many years with heavy use. So they make the “Not So Toxic” list because although they are made of aluminum there is no exposure to it on the cooking surface. It is hardened aluminum and the non-stick coating is the cooking surface. There are brands that are so durable that you can use metal utensils in them, use them in the oven and they are dishwasher safe. A far cry from traditional non-stick where versatility is concerned. Great for all kinds of cooks and really awesome for clean-up. If your anodized aluminum cookware does get scratched, bubbled or chipped, I would recommend replacing them.

Not Toxic:

Cast Iron - Let’s get one myth out of the way, you cannot get iron in your body from eating food made in cast iron. Done! TV cooking shows have popularized cast iron and for good reason. It is the superior cookware. An enamel coated cast iron cooking surface is my very favorite. It always performs just like I want it to. The catch is your stoves cooking surface. Cast iron works great if you are cooking with gas, but if you are cooking with a glass topped electric stove I would think twice. First, let’s talk about how safe it is. If you are cooking with enameled cast iron it is perfectly safe, nothing to talk about. If you are cooking in uncoated raw cast iron there is some very minor concern about the porous surface and oils going rancid inside those crannies. The real drawbacks of cast iron cookware come from the cost, weight, no dishwasher use and the type of cooking surface you are working on is key; I say gas only. Not toxic to your bodybut can be very toxic to your checkbook!

Enamel - A super safe option is enamel cookware. Basically you are cooking on hardened glass. Nothing to leech into your food. It is practically indestructible and can go from stove, to oven, to freezer, to table, to dishwasher and look perfect through it all. Completely non-toxic and cooks evenly like a dream on all surfaces. Drawback is the weight and the price. It is heavy, I won’t lie. It can be a challenge moving a full skillet from the stove top to the oven. The price is expensive but they are said to be 30-50 year cookware pieces. You may never have to buy another set in your adult life! Definitely a kitchen asset! I currently cook with enamel and I love it! Not one complaint.

Glass - Completely non-toxic. Good for glass top ranges and other electric surfaces. Not for the new cook though. It takes some getting used to learning to cook in glass cookware. Huge drawback is breakage. You have to use great care when cooking on your stovetop with glass cookware. Although non- toxic, it’s not a surface I would recommend for most people.

Stone - Also non-toxic, I love stoneware for oven cooking. I prefer it to most other surfaces in the oven. It cooks evenly and heats so quickly. Stoneware is also great for serving on the table. It’s attractive and practical. The trouble comes with clean up. It can be a bugger to clean and soaking is really not a great option. I use parchment when I cook in stoneware and that helps with cleaning.

Ceramic - If you are buying ceramic cookware it is safe if it is made in the US or Europe. Made elsewhere it could contain lead in the coating on the cooking surface and that would be unsafe. Ceramic is easy to cook in and is generally regarded as safe. I struggle with the weight and the fact that it is easily broken, chipped or scratched. Some ceramic can be pricey. It easily goes from all cooking surfaces to oven and dishwasher. Not a bad option, but for a cook that is using it every day you might see it wear a little too fast.

Bottom line is to buy the cookware you can afford and will use. If you hate that stainless is not non-stick then stay away from it. If you love beautiful cast iron but have a glass top stove opt for something that is better suited to your cooking surface and cooking style. Maybe a mix and match is best for you? No one says your cookware has to match, thank goodness because mine doesn’t! I have cast iron, enamel, non-stick, glass, and stone. The work sheet in this section will help you determine what is best for the type of cooking you do.

2. Food Storage 101

We live in the age of plastic. If you started to make a list of all the things in your house that have plastic in it you would be shocked. In fact, now that I just said this you will be aware of it and be shocked! In the 1960’s Ziplock bags started refining the way we store food. Before that most food storage was in glass and metal. Even the prepackaged foods came in cardboard, glass or metal. Now almost every prepackaged food comes in plastic. It is really remarkable when you consider it. So if you are using plastics for food storage I want you to follow these few rules. They are designed to help keep toxic exposure to a minimum.

  1. Never microwave your food in plastic containers. The pores of the plastic open and it leeches toxic chemicals into your food.
  2. Never place hot food in plastic before refrigerating it. Same reason as microwaving it.
  3. Try to minimize freezer storage in plastic containers. Extreme temperatures like cold cause the plastic to degrade and when unfrozen cause toxins to leach into food.
  4. Never wash your plastic in the high heat of your dishwasher. This also degrades the plastic and can cause it to release toxins.
  5. Do not mix, blend or whip anything in plastic containers. This can cause the ingestion of microscopic pieces of plastic that can cause harm in the digestive track.

Now if you just read all that and are a little freaked out by plastics and want a change, I understand. There are dangerous chemicals in plastic and BPA (Bisphenol A) is just one of many. When you see things that say BPA free you must understand that you are trading one toxin for another. Plastic chemicals cause harm to your body’s glandular system, otherwise known as the endocrine system. These are the parts of the body that are responsible for producing our hormones. Chemical exposure over time can disrupt our endocrine system and cause many things; sexual dysfunction, hair loss, loss of sleep, impaired growth functions, tissue development issues, mood disorders and reproduction problems, especially in children and adolescents.

The great news is this is an easy switch to make. Honestly, we just went from all plastic storage to glass about 3 months ago and I love it. Glass is so much easier to clean, won’t stain and I can heat foods right in the bowl, eat from it and then stick it right into the dishwasher. All this in addition to the fact that I am avoiding toxins! Here are some of my best tips for food storage and creating a non-toxic environment.

  • Mason Jars - Mason jars come in all sizes. There are only a few lid sizes so storage is easy. They look amazing in the fridge and pantry. They are fairly inexpensive and can be used over and over again. Hands down my favorite way to store pantry staples, refrigerated liquids, small fruit, veggies and nuts. Safe and non-toxic to the max!
  • Ceramic - Some kitchen specialty stores carry amazingly cute ceramic bowls with lids. I use these for going from the fridge to the table. They look great and you only have one bowl to clean. You can reheat in the microwave without the potential toxic exposure from the vessel. Two drawbacks. You can’t see what is in them so you may forget about the food inside. They also chip easily. Great non-toxic choice if you love style and fun in the kitchen.
  • Glass - Most practical and cheapest way to store food. You can buy whole sets of these with plastic lids in one box. The plastic lid is not ideal but the most practical and makes a good seal for food storage needs. I would recommend not microwaving the plastic lids on the bowl of food. I also try to not stuff my bowls too full to prevent my food from touching the plastic lid. Glass is non-toxic, safe for reheating and easy to clean.
  • Metal - There are some super cool metal food containers out there. I want to transition my freezer containers to metal. Most are stainless and have metal locking lids. Threecheers for metal in the freezer! The huge drawback is reheating. You can’t put metal containers in the microwave. Stainless would be non-toxic, but I would stay away from lightweight aluminum.
  • Paper - This is specific to lunches that you would normally carry in a plastic bag. I recommend wrapping your food in parchment paper or even a paper towel and then place it in the plastic bag. You can do the same for items that you are going to freeze. Obviously liquids and soft food may not hold up well with this idea. But certainly an easy step to lessen the toxic load in your body.

Here is the deal, if you are storing in plastics follow the rules stated above and you will make plastics much safer for your body. When you can, slowly transition to glass, metal or ceramic by buying one piece at a time. Remember to recycle your plastics!

3. Under the Kitchen Sink - DIY Cleaning Products

Honestly, this is something that I struggle with still. I am slowly making changes to my habits in cleaning and using non-toxic cleaning products. Some I make and some I buy at my local grocery store (who is now offering great alternatives of chemical free cleaning products). Because I am on this journey still myself, I have brought in a DIY cleaning product expert to help us. Watch the interview video as I talk with Dana from WholeHealthDana.com about how to truly DETOX under the kitchen sink.


There is a great eBook attached with this class for DIY Kitchen Cleaning products. I fully trust and support Dana’s work! However I am in no way advocating one specific Essential Oils (EO’s) company. There are many choices for quality oils and when using them for cleaning you don’t have to buy the most pure grades. I fully agree with the ideas that EO’s are great for cleaning in a non-toxic manner. Dana really makes it easy for us all to understand and implement!


Here you will find a guide to help you implement the “emergency” changes that you may need to make. You will see that we have our Road Block here as well. Pace yourself, too much to fast can lead to frustrations and we are working to eliminate those!

Next Video!

Class #4 - Six Things That STOP a Kitchen Detox

Are you tempted to throw in the kitchen towel? We have already talked about major changes that can happen in your kitchen and your mindset. I have asked you to make these changes to help you move forward in an effort to have a great detoxed kitchen. As you might know, I don’t normally focus on the negative. However, I do want to be practical and talk about some things that might be major stumbling blocks for you as you journey through these 10 steps.


1. Kitchen Gadgets - Are you a gadget head? Do you watch the As Seen On TV commercials and think about how practical that would be in your kitchen. I will confess I was once a kitchen gadget head. I loved the aisle in the kitchen store with all the fun little tools and promises to save time and money. Few lived up to their promise and even fewer got used more than once. When I started to detox my own kitchen, I quickly realized that all my “time” saving . . . “money” saving gadgets were taking up valuable space in my kitchen. So I recycled them by sending them packing to the nearby thrift store. Attachment to ideas that you need more than just a few simple tools in a healthy kitchen is not a healthy attitude towards your kitchen. What you are trying to compensate for with gadgets is a mindset that is toxic. A mindset that says, my kitchen takes too much of my time, my kitchen takes too much of my money and my kitchen does not function the way I want it to. The idea that gadgets are the way to solve these mindsets is a kitchen fail and will set you back rather than move you forward in your journey.

2. Small Appliances - There are a host of small appliances for the kitchen that are amazing and are worthy of your counter space. Here is the trouble, we tend to double up in tools that do the same work. I gave you an example in the first class of a former kitchen detox student that was using her oven for storage and cooking in a toaster oven. It was not efficient and the toaster oven was taking up valuable space in her tiny kitchen. Thankfully she is fully comfortable with her oven now and the toaster oven is gone. She now owns a gorgeous cutting board and garbage bowl in its place. As we discussed in the Over Tooled section, if you are complaining of space, it is time to evaluate what tools you actually use and what ones can be recycled.

Here is one more example. I have a really junky little hand mixer. I hear all the time, “You need a new mixer.” No I don’t! I don't have space for it and I only use my mixer maybe 2 times a month. I don’t need one for the sake of saying I have one. Once again a toxic mindset. If you think your kitchen is costing you too much money then evaluate your need for high-end small appliances before you ditch the idea that organic apples are too expensive.

3. The Utensil Drawer - This will be short and sweet – if you have to push, shove, stuff and work through a puzzle of utensils every time you pull one out, you need an overhaul. Part of Kitchanatomy is eliminating frustrations in your kitchen. This is a huge one for a lot of people. Here is my tip, if it’s stained, melted or broken, ditch it! Then go to the next level by evaluating your use. Easy enough to put all yourutensils in a jar on the counter. When you use one and wash it, put it back in the drawer. Do this for 2 weeks. Whatever is left over in two weeks, move it along to recycle or donate to the thrift store. Easy peasy!

4. Too Much Too Fast - A kitchen detox can take months or even years! I am still refining my thoughts about my kitchen and how it functions. The biggest fail I see people experience is when they try to complete this class in 10 days. Even if you have 10 free days with absolutely nothing to do, this class was not designed to be completed in a rush. Trying to enforce changes too fast is a warning sign for failure. This is also true with your entire healthy journey. I like to say this is a process not an event. If you move too fast you will get frustrated and quit.

5. Money/Budget - It is important to also realize you will have to spend some money on changes. However, not everything has to happen all at once. You can buy items that you need to fill the gaps over time. Also, I would encourage you to think about repurposing some of your items. Maybe you don't have the money to buy glass storage containers right now but you can use that old set of mixing bowls and buy some cling wrap to seal them up for now. My mother did this years ago. Another tip is to shop thrift store and garage sales. Just be careful not to overbuy simply because it is a “good deal”! Don’t let your budget get in the way of your healthy mindset. You want change or you would not have signed up for this class and made it this far!

6. Time - When you are dedicated to your healthy journey you will make time to shop, cook and clean. It is not a matter of having more time; it is a matter of making this lifestyle a priority. Only you can make that decision. It is up to you to make the time it takes to be in your kitchen and form a relationship with it. I can tell you the longer you work at it and the more good habits you form, the more time you will save in the long run. No matter how much we beg or plead, we all get the same amount of time. It’s how you choose to use it that counts. I hope you choose to use a little more in your kitchen!

Do you feel beat up or pepped up? Don’t let these or any excuses get in your way. Maybe I didn't hit your hot button with the above topics. If not, I encourage you to find what is stopping you and conquer it once and for all. When you overcome obstacles it gives you power that you can use in all kinds of situations. Who knew that a Kitchen Detox could be so empowering? I did!


Ready to change your mindset? Ready to make up and fall in love with your kitchen all over again. I will ask you to write down what is holding you back from kitchen bliss.

Next Video!

Class #5 - Learning the Basics of Menu Planning

So we just talked about time, money and struggles in the last lesson. In this lesson I am going to hand down some of my top tips for helping you meal plan. These are basic tips, but I promise once done they will help save time, money and eliminate struggle. In the video below I will discuss why we meal plan and why it is such a guiding principle in your healthy journey. Then in the written lesson I will give you my top tips and the worksheet will help bring it all together. Let’s Meal Plan!


1. The Rule of 7

No doubt you have some recipes that are a huge hit with your family. When they hear that you are making that special dinner they all make sure they are at the dinner table! What if you had 7 meals that commanded that kind of positive attention? In the worksheet you will be asked to find 7 recipes that you can rotate into your menu planning for the week. I will have some tips there to help get you started. Having 7 meals that you know are nutritious, easy (because you have mastered the recipe) and that you know you and your family love is the first step in meal planning successfully. If you can’t think of 7 that fit all the criteria – nutritious, easy and your family loves it – it is time to go on a recipe search. Once you have 7 staple recipes you can rotate them on a bi-weekly basis. The worksheet will help with this process. We will talk about recipe overload just a few paragraphs down.

2. Balancing Nutrition

If you are on a health journey you know how important it is to balance your nutritional intake. This all happens in the meal planning stage. This is not a nutrition class so I am not going to wax poetic about nutrients and what is a good balance. What I am going to do is ask that you write all your meals out for the week. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Look at the basic nutritional intake for each meal and make sure you are getting what you need in a day. This is going to make a huge difference in your diet, your health and your kitchen. Here is an example: if I have a fruit/veggie smoothie in the morning with no protein then I need to make sure that my other two meals have some protein, so I might opt for an egg salad at lunch and salmon and veggies for dinner. If I am having eggs and turkey sausage for breakfast, I need to make sure my lunch and dinner include a veggie and my snack is fruit. Make sense? It also works with portion control. If I know that dinner is at Aunt Pats and she is making my favorite taco dinner, then my lunch and breakfast should be on the lighter side. Got it?

3. Recipe Overload

Hopefully you are getting excited to get in the kitchen and cook. Hold on! One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they get so excited that they start cooking recipes left and right. Then they burn out. This actually happened to me when I was first starting out. I ended up with a plethora of “had to try” ingredients that spoiled because I cooked a recipe, didn't like it and never made it again. I was wasting money and time. So here is my tip to cure this problem. It is safe to say that the average family eatsdinner out 4-6 times a week. I would like you to move that number to 1-2 times a week. So that means that you are making dinner meals at home an average of 5 nights a week. Out of those 5 nights, only one night should be a new recipe. Yep, that’s all! The rest of the nights you should rotate a few of your 7 staple recipes and other recipes that you have made at least twice.

Here is what this does for you. It eliminates kitchen fails and frustration. After 2-3 kitchen fails in a row you are ready to hang it up and proclaim that you are the world’s worst cook. But in fact you were just trying to take on too much too fast. Here is a funny story. I was serving a new recipe to a group of friends. The amazing smell filled the house and I knew I had hit a home run. Everyone was going to love it. We all sat down to dinner and started to eat. The first bite I almost spit back out . . . it was awful. I could hardly believe it. As I watched around the dinner table I could tell that everyone felt the same as me. I put down my fork and said, “This is the worst food I have ever tasted!” The table erupted in laughter and out we went to dinner! I have to tell you it was not the recipe’s fault, it was mine. I was so caught up in making the next best thing I forgot that I already had recipes that were amazing and easy. It’s so great to experiment in the kitchen; in fact I count on you to experiment since I have a whole food blog full of recipes, but don't overwhelm yourself with new recipes. As enticing as they are, too many new recipes in a week will cause frustration and cause you to hang up your apron.

4. Making the LIST!

Want to keep from overbuying at the grocery store? Make a list! This is the key, as you plan your meals for the week, write down every single ingredient. Even if you KNOW you have it in the kitchen write it down. If it is an unusual ingredient I even write down the measurement the recipe calls for so I don’t overbuy, or worse, buy too little. Remember we are working on eliminating frustrations and kitchen fails. This is a huge step in that process. I keep a pencil and pad in my kitchen and jot down things that need to be replenished throughout the week as I am cooking. If I see that I am running low on sea salt it goes on the list. When I keep that list going it helps me maintain staples that I know I will use over and over again. Also, when you shop with a list it helps you move through the grocery store more efficiently. My favorite tip about a list is to write it in the order that you shop at the grocery store. For example, I always start in produce and end in dairy (if I am buying dairy). That is how my grocery store is laid out and my list follows my path. I can get in and out while minimizing that task and the time it takes.

5. Shop Your Kitchen First

If you thought it sounded crazy to write down every ingredient in your menu plan here is why I suggest doing that. Nothing is worse than going to make your favorite recipe only to discover you are missing an ingredient. No time to run to the store to get it. This causes immediate frustration and puts you one step closer to calling the pizza guy! If you write down all your ingredients for each recipe you can give your kitchen a quick shop and cross off the things you have as if you were in the grocery store shopping. This helps fight back frustrations, keeps you from overbuying and allows you to go through your kitchen to check on pantry staples. It’s an easy principal that really works like a charm.

6. Schedule a Time

I shop with my list on the same day of every week. This helps keep my perishable rotation in check and helps maintain my staple item supplies. It also means I have scheduled the task and it will surely get done if I have carved out a specific time for it. Chances are if you don't schedule tasks they won’t get done. Right? I know this is true in my busy household. I am the complete opposite of my mom. She loves loves loves to go grocery shopping, not me. Can you believe it? I am food blogger that hates going grocery shopping. My mom loves it so much that if we happen to be talking on the phone and she asks what I am doing, if I say I am on my way to the grocery store she says, “Oh I love the grocery stores in Colorado, I wish I was with you!” Are you kidding me? All I can think is, I wish you were going for me!. It is so efficient to schedule a time to do your grocery shopping. If you have your completed list and the list is in the order of your grocery store layout, you will not be wandering around aimlessly trying to decide what to make for breakfast; you will be in and out in a flash!


I guess you noticed that I did not give you any specific meal plans. There is a reason for that. I want you to be creative and think about how you eat. I thought it more affirming if I taught you tricks to make meal planning a snap for the type of cooking and eating you do. Use the worksheets to further your quest and refine your skills. There are more tips there to help you get started and make your own amazing, new meal planning habits!

Next Video!

Class #6 - Learning the “Pre”pared Method

This is my favorite thing to teach. If you can master this you are going to really eliminate the need for “running out for a bite to eat”. If you never ate an organic carrot in your whole life I know you would be healthier just learning the easy principals of “pre”paring for your meals. In this video lesson I will discuss the why, what and when of “pre”pared meals. If you are wondering what a “pre”pared meal is you will find that out too.


1. The Theory

Now that you know what a “pre”pared meal is I want to talk to you about the ideas behind the method. There are times in the week when you have more time to dedicate to your kitchen. Usually 5:30pm before soccer practice and ballet class is not one of them. So how do you make your family the home cooked, healthy meals they need if you have no time to make them? You guessed it – “pre”pared meals. If you only have 45 mins for cooking, eating and cleaning you need something fast. This is where fast- food establishments start to look like good options. Why not have fast food in your kitchen ready to go with just a quick reheating? It all begins with scheduling a time to cook. Here is an example. I cook on Sundays for the entire week. I set aside a few hours in the morning to make all the food we are going to eat during the week. If for some reason we are not around on a Sunday morning, the next time I make my lunch or dinner I make a double or triple batch and that gets us back on track. It is so easy to do and only requires a few hours of your time to save a lot of time throughout the week. If the biggest time saver is only doing dishes once during my batch cooking session, it is worth it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Schedule a time to cook. Most of the time I need about 2 hours from prep to clean up to make 5 lunches and 5 dinners for myself and Robin.
  • Use your new meal planning skills to plan ahead.
  • Make a list of tasks to complete so you don't miss anything and then you can plan the cooking order that makes most sense.
  • Label your storage containers with meal name, date and person assignment, this will help everyone stay on the same page.

2. The Habit

I love trading bad habits for good ones. “Pre”paring meals is an amazing habit to get into and you are quite possibly trading an eating out habit for an eating at home habit. Just like any habit though, it requires some work on your part. They say it takes 22 days to create a new habit. That means in 3 weekly “pre”pared meal sessions you will have a new habit! The previous classes have all been preparing you to reach this point. Creating a space in your life for this habit will eliminate kitchen frustrations, keep you on your healthy journey and give you the freedom you want to spend more time with your family doing the things you love. I love these tips on making new, healthy habits.

  • Write your big goals down! “I want improved health”, “I never want to get cancer!”, “I want to teach my family healthy eating behaviors.”• Get a buddy! This is easy. Head on over to our private Facebook page for this class.
  • You will have lots of support and maybe you can find an accountability buddy that messages you on your scheduled cooking day to encourage you. You can do the same for them!
  • Eliminate the “Aw, forget it” scenarios! Make this task as important as eating itself. You have to eat, you should eat real food, so you have to cook. No options and no way to squirm out of the task.

3. Types of “Pre”pared Make Ahead Meals

Not all “pre”pared meals are created equal. I find that I component cook when I “pre”pare meals. Here is what a typical “pre”pared cooking session looks like for me. Normally I am prepping lunches and dinner for two.

- A whole roasted organic chicken. I like to buy them whole because they are cheaper and less processed in butchering so to me they are the purest, easiest, and cheapest way to buy chicken. While the chicken is roasting, I can do other work. So I prep this and get it cooking first thing.
- I cut and clean a variety of veggies, making sure I have a variety of colors and nutrient dense combinations. Normally I lightly steam them (5-7 mins under 115 degrees), lightly blanch them or roast them. Sometimes I do all three depending on my recipes for the week.
- While the veggies are cooking, I will make a protein for lunch. We like turkey meatballs, salmon patties and grass fed flank steak. We put these on salads, sandwiches and eat them with the variety of veggies mentioned above.
- To finish it up I make a grain or legume like quinoa, wild rice or our favorite black beans. These really round out my ability to make many different meals with my selections of protein and veggies.
- While the legumes or rice are cooking I do my prep work for fruit. I wash and cut up berries and melons. I wash apples and make sure we have a variety of colorful fruit to eat throughout the week.

In a few hours I am done, and reheating is a snap for the rest of the week. I can add spices and herbs to make the flavors I want in reheating. We can have something yummy every day and never think of eating outside our own house.

If you don’t have time to cook an entire week’s worth of meals, try these tips and types of “pre”pared meals to help you stay on track during the week.

  • Freezer Meals - I love freezer meals. In fact, I normally have 1 or 2 at the ready in the event that my cooking session gets pushed back. Think of it like making your own “TV Dinners”. The best type of meal for this kind of cooking is casserole. Layering ingredients in a baking dish, freezing and reheating when it is time to eat. I have a few recipes over at go2kithchens.com to get you started if you like this idea.
  • Prepping Produce - Maybe you don’t like reheated veggies. You can always prep them for cooking. To do this you just wash, dry and cut them so when you are ready to cook that work is all done. Keep in mind once they have been prepped they will not stay as fresh so you will need to make a commitment to cook them within a week or they will rot.• Prepping Your Proteins - I like to do this with my meats. I love to cut a whole chicken and marinate it in yummy spices. Then it is ready to cook when I am. No prep work to do and the flavors can be amazing!
  • The Crock Pot - This can be your best friend for a busy lifestyle. Crockpot meals can be “pre”pared raw and then frozen and just heated throughout the day for an amazing meal that cooks while you are busy.
  • Soups - I love slow cooked soups that are meals! Put one on to cook in the morning and by dinner you are set with a home cooked meal. Full of nutrients and made with real food.


As you can see, “pre”pared meals come in many forms. Pick the ones that works best for you, make it a habit and eat well to feel well! In the worksheet you will find ways to determine a schedule. Ways to help you determine what kind of “pre”pared meals might work for you and a few recipe resources for crockpot and freezer meals.

Next Video!

Class #7 - Your Kitchen Assets

Now that you are starting to fall in love with your kitchen again it’s time to start treating it like you love it. We invest our hard earned money in our kitchen tools and sometimes in our kitchen builds. There are some do’s and don’ts that no kitchen detox class would be complete without. In the video I will show you proper knife care, how to clean and oil a cutting board and more. In the written class you will learn about up-grades and how to save for them. The worksheet will give you a chance to take inventory and write a plan to care for your kitchen assets!


1. When the Dishwasher Is Not Your Friend!

We talked about the dishwasher being a cleaning workstation, but there are things that should never go in the dishwasher. Here is a list of items that should never be put into the dishwasher.

  • Kitchen Knives - if you love your knives dull then put them in the dishwasher. If you covet sharp knives then wash and dry them by hand as soon as you are done using them.
  • Blender Blades - these will also dull in the dishwasher, making them less effective.
  • Plastic Food Storage Containers – a dishwasher will super heat the plastic and cause it to breakdown and leech toxins into your food.
  • Wooden Spoons - the high heat warps them, dries them and splits them. If they split you should toss them because food can get stuck in the crevasses and spoil, possibly causing illness.
  • Wooden, Plastic and Synthetic Cutting Boards - for the same reason that other plastics and wood items should be left out of the dishwasher.
  • Non-Stick Teflon Cookware - the super heating of the Teflon can release hazardous chemicals, but it also will quickly make non-stick surfaces bubble and become damaged. It will quickly make “non-stick” turn “very stick” in a hurry.
  • Aluminum Items - aluminum will oxidize in the dishwasher and will make it more porous, which can be toxic. It will ruin the look of them as well.
  • Painted Raw Pottery - there are a lot of super cute items for the kitchen that are raw pottery with cute little paintings on them. They are normally for decoration but can be mistaken for food use and get stuck in the dishwasher. Under high heat, the paint can melt off.

If in doubt, just give it a quick wash by hand. The dishwasher is a great tool 90% of the time, but you really want to give your kitchen investments the best care possible. Avoid putting these items in the dishwasher and you will not only save yourself from possible toxins, but also save money and time by preserving your kitchenware for the long term.

2. Three Things You Never Do with Your Kitchen Knives

I strongly believe a quality chef’s knife is a must have in a healthy kitchen. I’ll talk more about that in Class 8 when we discuss the 6 things every healthy kitchen has. While we are on the subject of caring for kitchen assets, I want to take the opportunity to discussthings that you should never do with your knives.

  1. Never Put Them in the Dishwasher - in the previous section I made this statement, but it is really important and bears repeating. This will dull your knives. I have seen people shove them in the flatware caddy with all the forks and spoons. Doing that will actually damage your blade. You can go from a razor sharp edge to can’t cut butter in about 2-3 sessions in a hot dishwasher. The rule in my house is right after you use a knife, wash them by hand and dry them. Lay them out for a complete air dry and then return them to the knife block. Sound tedious? Trust me, it is much more tedious to try and cut veggies for the week with a dull knife.
  2. Store Your Knives Separately - In a recent private kitchen detox I did, I found the chef’s knife in the drawer mingled with all the other cooking utensils. Don’t do this, if for no other reason than it is dangerous. Shuffling about in a drawer looking for something and your hand meets the sharp end of a knife . . . this won’t end well. The second reason is because this also will dull and damage your knife blade. If you are going to place your good knives in a drawer, they should lay flat and not be touching one another or anything else. They make drawer inserts that will keep you and your knives safe. There will be one in the Kitchanatomy store if you want to purchase one. The wooden block is the best way to store them. I keep mine by my cutting board so they are sharp and ready to work when I am.
  3. Don’t Open Packages with Your Knives – It’s so tempting to grab your good chef’s knife and use it to open a plastic bag or paper wrapper. Don’t do it. I actually keep a pair of old scissors in my kitchen for this task and I have a tool just to cut open these types of things. So why should you avoid using your knife? Opening packages with your knife will dull the blade, not to mention it can be dangerous.

One of the biggest frustrations in the kitchen is having to use a dull knife. If you are sawing through your veggies, your knife is dull and you should consider upgrading or getting it sharpened. Remember we are eliminating frustrations one by one and this could be the difference between hating to prep food or loving the simplicity of the work.

3. When, How, and Saving for Upgrades

How do you know if you need an upgrade? I want an upgraded everything! I want an upgraded room in Vegas. How about you? But how do you know when you actually need one. I use a hash mark system. No joke, I do. I have a sticky note inside one of my kitchen cabinets and every time I truly complain about an older tool in my kitchen I hash mark it. Once it gets 20 hash marks it’s time for me to consider an upgrade. If I feel frustrated 20 times about a kitchen tool that is not performing to my needs, I can fix that frustration and I’ll try to get a new one. This also helps determine if I just wanted something but did not really need it. I really wanted a Kitchen Aid Mixer but in 6 months of it being on a hash mark list I only thought I truly needed it 4 times! Problem solved! I wanted a Kitchen Aid Mixer but I did not have a NEED for one. Off the list it went and I felt good about being so responsible! Yay me! Here are my best tips for determining if you need an upgrade.

  • Develop a system for your needs. Just like I did, make a written system for upgrades. This will help you determine if you truly need an upgrade or just want a fancy new something!• Ask yourself if the item can be “fixed” to perform better without an upgrade. The best example is your knives. Professional sharpening might be all you need to make them brand new again.
  • Make sure it is something that you truly need and not just another gadget that takes up valuable kitchen space.
  • Don’t give into kitchen peer pressure. I watch a lot of cooking shows, videos, and take a fair amount of classes. I get stars in my eyes thinking I need something new and cool. But really my tools work just fine for me and I don't need to give into my wants at all.

Now what happens if you truly need an upgrade but it is not in the budget? First of all, don’t panic! Ok, I am sure you are not panicking but it can cause some stress thinking you need it RIGHT NOW. My Nana taught me the best trick that works like a charm when I want something that I can’t afford. It is so simple. I have an envelope that I keep in my nightstand with the name of the item I want on it and when I get a little extra money I put it in the envelope. Sometimes it is $1 and sometimes its $20. I keep it in my nightstand because that is my personal space and I am less likely to grab it for a new pair of shoes if it is sitting there. We do this for vacations, big purchases and more.

Also when I am asked what I want for a gift, if I am saving for a kitchen tool, I tell the person that they can contribute to the “fund”, then when I have enough to buy the item I text them a photo of my purchase and thank them for helping me get my new kitchen tool. The great part is if there is ever an emergency, I have a little cash on hand if needed. I will confess I almost always have an envelope going. It’s my own “GoFundMe” effort!


Now it is your turn! You have to do the work to determine if you need an upgrade. I want to help you with making a system for determining that as well. I also think it is great to find a way to get new kitchen upgrades in the household budget so there will be some guidance there for you as well.

Next Video!

Class #8 - 6 Things Every Healthy Kitchen Has

So now it is time to personalize your kitchen. I am going to give you the 6 things that every healthy kitchen has, but it is up to you to make sure that it works for you. These tools are things I found I could not live without and as I visited other healthy kitchens I noticed that they had the same 6 things. In the video I will review each item. In the text you will find more detail. The worksheet contains my recommendations for brands in every price range.


1. Three Cutting Boards

In every kitchen detox that I have performed, I have instilled the 3 cutting board principle. First let’s talk about cutting surfaces. Most commercial kitchens will use plastic cutting boards. Keep in mind most commercial kitchens sharpen their knives every day. So here’s the truth – plastic cutting boards dull your knives. Stone and glass are no no’s for your good chef’s knife too. They will kill an edge faster than anything. I recommend wood or wood composite. They are much easier on your knives and when properly taken care of, they are less likely to cause food borne illnesses caused by cutting board contamination. I would recommend wood, bamboo, or composite wood for a cutting surface hands down. In the worksheet I will discuss how to care for your wooden cutting boards.

Why 3 cutting boards?

  • Produce - Largest of the 3 boards. This board will be used for ONLY produce prep work. No meat or cheese, raw or otherwise. The backside I will use for cooked meats and cheeses. I have it marked so I know which side is for veggies and which side is for cooked meats.
  • Meat - Medium size board that is used only for raw meat. Nothing else, ever!
  • Strong Smells and Flavors - I have a small cutting board that is composite wood that I use for cutting things that leave behind a strong odor like garlic, onions and hot peppers. Nothing worse than cutting watermelon and it ends up tasting like onions or garlic! This little cutting board prevents that from happening.

2. Chef Knife

This is by far the most important tool in your healthy kitchen. When you are cooking healthy, real foods you will be doing a lot of chopping, dicing, cutting, smashing and peeling. A good chef’s knife that fits your hand well is paramount to eliminating frustrations in the kitchen. This tool will minimize prep time, eliminate kitchen fails and make you fall in love with your kitchen.

    How to Choose a Chef’s Knife
  • Budget - determine an amount you want to spend. This is important because if you go into a kitchen store you might be dazzled by the $400 chef knife and you only need a $99 knife.• Single Knife Buying - My suggestion is to buy your chef’s knife as a single unit. You can buy an entire block of knives, but you will only use 2-3 consistently so the rest are a waste of your money. Instead buy 1or 2 good knives and don’t be enticed with whole blocks.
  • The Kitchen Store - Go to a specialty kitchen store that can answer your questions about knives. This is an investment you should research. Buy from someone that can help describe the uses for the knife you are buying. In a well-educated kitchen store they will let you hold and cut with the knives that you like. They will also help you find a fit that works well for you. I like a 8” chef’s knife but my husband prefers a 6”. Everyone is different and it is important that it feels good in your hand.
  • Take a Knife Skills Class - Soon in the go2kitchens.academy we will be offering an online knife skills basic course. I have taken several knife skills classes and I can tell you each time my skills improve a little more.
  • Learn to Care for Your Knife - It is important that you understand how to properly care for your knife. We covered a few of these in the Kitchen Assets Class but knowing how to care for your specific knife is important. Learn how to hone your knives and even learn to sharpen them if you are so inclined. You can also have them professionally sharpened. Make sure you find someone that does not use a machine to sharpen the knives but rather does it by hand.

3. Large Oven Safe Skillet

A large oven safe skillet is a versatile kitchen tool that will save you a ton of time and allow you to learn many different styles of cooking. Cast iron and stainless is awesome for this work. Going from stovetop to oven will lend itself to crisp veggies, perfectly cooked meats and one skillet meals! I would say 10-12 inches is perfect with straight sides. A lid is great but not imperative. You will love the meals you can turn out with this great kitchen tool!

4. Blender

I am a firm believer that if you are on a health journey a blender is an important tool. If you are just starting out it is necessary. I make a joke that smoothies are a gateway drug into a healthy lifestyle. But really, I do believe this. A blender is so much more than a smoothie maker though. It helps with making homemade ice cream, grain free cornbread, juices, sauces, salsa, and oh so much more. Like the chef’s knife, I think it is a very important tool for your new detoxed kitchen.

    How to Buy a Blender
  • Budget - buy the best blender you can afford. If you can afford a $550 blender then that is the blender for you. If $29 is your budget, buy that one. Just buy one!
  • Versatile brands like Ninja blenders are great for multiple tasks. Mine even has a food processor attachment. It cost me $180.

5. Stockpot

Every single healthy kitchen I have ever been in has had a stockpot. This versatile pot will help you conquer “pre”pared meals and give the right tool for the right job. Meals ina large pot are endless. Soups, stocks, sauces, and mounds of veggies can be prepared in this handy tool. It does not have to be oven safe but should have a lid. Enameled cast iron is a great choice for a stockpot. Although it is heavy, it will conduct heat very evenly. A Crock Pot is also a great tool. One or the other will be suitable for healthy cooking. I love my Crock Pot and find that I can leave it on low all day and make amazingly easy, real food meals. You can do the same in a stockpot, but you will have to leave a stove on for hours and that may be a safety concern for some.

6. Intentions

The final tool is not a thing, but a mindset. Having the mindset to want to cook is the most valuable tool of all. Hopefully we have helped you to develop this mindset in this class. Your kitchen is your command center. It is where all healthy lifestyles begin. If you set your intentions to cook more then you will. Make a plan, heck schedule it if you have to, but set your intentions to be in your kitchen more. Set your intentions to have less frustration in the kitchen. Plan to eliminate kitchen fails. Every healthy kitchen has these intentions. They are free of charge and you are in full control of how it will turn out.


In the worksheet for this lesson you will find a link to the Kitchanatomy Store. I have put all my suggestions for these items in every price range in the store. Use your new skills from Class #7 Kitchen Assets to determine when you need an upgrade. Don’t get stars in your eye about new shiny objects.

Next Video!

Class #9 Pantry Staples

The easy thing would be for me to just hand you a list of pantry staples and say here, buy these. But you wouldn’t learn from that experience. I want to help you determine what you need for the type of cooking that you do. In this class I will help you define your needs, give the top 5 must haves, and a quick lesson on buying bulk. In the video you will learn my kitchen “must haves” and I will discuss why I need them and what I use them for.


1. Define the Pantry Staples for Your Style of Cooking

None of us cook alike. We all have different ways of doing things for our personal lifestyle. This is why it does not work for me to give you a master list of pantry items. For example, I am a plant-based eater. I like to cook with fresh herbs. Maybe fresh herbs are not practical for your family of 6 so you prefer dry herbs, after all they last longer and you have found that you can use less with the same flavor punch. What if you are vegan? The chicken stock and eggs I keep on hand won’t suit your lifestyle. This is why I have to teach you to form your own pantry staple list. Here are a few tips to help you out.

  • A pantry staple is an item that you use more than once a week. More often, it is something you use every time you cook. For me, it’s things like sea salt, coconut oil, cayenne, garlic salt, quinoa, veggie stock, olive oil, mint, fresh garlic, and so on.
  • A pantry staple can be spices, healthy fats, fresh herbs, dry grains, fresh produce and even meats. Broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are always on my staple list.
  • You can start a simple process of taking notes when you cook to determine the things you use the most and even consider buying bulk. We will talk more about that in later lessons.

2. 5 Pantry Items Every Healthy Kitchen Should Have

I want you to consider changing out a few things in your pantry list. These are easy switches that will make a great impact on your health. If I were to give you a whole list these are the top 5 things I would say you need to keep stocked for healthy cooking.

  1. Swap regular table salt for Real Sea Salt. This is an easy change. The benefit here is regular table salt is highly processed and void of the vital minerals that salt should give you. Sea Salt will give you a boost of life giving minerals.
  2. Change out vegetable based oils for healthier oils like extra virgin olive oil, hemp oil, avocado oil or coconut oil.
  3. Most of us have butter in our kitchens. Swap out margarine and traditional butter for grass fed butter or ghee.
  4. Grains are a pantry staple. Switch white rice for brown, wild rice or better yet, use quinoa.
  5. I think every kitchen I have been in has a favorite sweetener. If you are using whitesugar think of going to organic pure cane unrefined sugar, coconut sugar or even try honey. No artificial sweeteners.

3. When to Buy Bulk

A great way to save money is to buy in bulk. I only buy what I have room to store. If you are limited on space, buying bulk might not be a great idea. Even if it helps you save money, your kitchen frustration levels will rise with the lack of efficient storage. Pantry staples are the perfect items to buy in bulk. These are the rules I follow.

  • I don’t buy bulk just because it is a good deal.
  • I only buy bulk if I know I have a way and place to store it.
  • Dry goods are great to buy in bulk – coconut flour, coconut sugar, almond meal, beans, and grains.
  • Buy herbs in season and dry them to save when you can't get them fresh.
  • Save money on nuts and seeds by buying them in bulk.
  • Buy cooking oils when they are on sale. They can be stored for long periods of time.
  • Buying produce in bulk at farmer’s markets in season allows you to save money and you can freeze or can them to have all year long.

I love wholesale clubs and the fact that they are making the move to more organic products. You can save a ton of money buying this way. If you don’t have room to store it all, go with a buying partner. Make a list of things you want or need and ask your buying partner to do the same. Compare the list and buy the things that are on both lists. Then divide them out evenly. You have saved money and you will have room to store them. Remember to rotate your bulk stock. You don't want your staples to go bad because you have not used them. When you use the meal planning technique of shopping your kitchen before you shop the grocery store you will find ways to use your bulk items more efficiently.


Surprise, the worksheet is a pantry staple checklist. It will be up to you to incorporate what you learned in the lesson with the style of cooking you do. Having a properly stocked pantry will help make cooking easier. Having what you need when you need it makes the world turn in a healthy kitchen.

Next Video!

Class #10 Cooking Prep School

Can you believe that you are already to lesson 10? I know you must be on your way to cooking up a storm by now. This lesson is designed with some basic cooking principals in mind. They are aimed to help eliminate frustrations and are integrated with all the new techniques you have just learned from lessons 1-9. In the video we are going to talk about setting up to cook. Then you can read about finding and reading a recipe that is right for you. Finally, we will put it all together in the next steps. You are almost there!


1. The Recipe Set-Up

How many recipes have you read that say “pre-heat” oven? Good recipes are written with workflow in mind. This is why a recipe will tell you to pre-heat an oven before you start anything else. It’s all about workflow. Now don't be jealous, but this comes naturally to me. This is one of the reasons why I feel confident about teaching workflow techniques and thought processes. You will find once you master these few tricks your work flow will improve and frustration and kitchen fails will fade away.

This class is designed to help you work with the kitchen you have. Workflow is very important. Try these tips to make things FLOW well for you!

  • Before you get started, check your ingredient list. Hopefully you have tackled this task with the meal planning class you have already taken. To eliminate kitchen frustrations, make sure you have everything you need for your recipe.
  • Read the recipe fully before you get started. You may find that you need to soften butter, pre-heat an oven or let the eggs get to room temperature. I think is best to review a recipe when you are making the shopping list. This will tell you ahead of time if any special tasks need to be completed.
  • Timing is everything. If you know you only have 30 minutes to cook and the recipe says it takes 1 hour, you might need to think twice about trying to squeeze it all in. I actually plan ahead if I know I am going to be trying a new recipe, making sure I have allowed myself plenty of time to get it just right. Sometimes the time it states in the recipe is an under estimate of the time it might actually take you.
  • Once I read over the recipe, ensure I have all the ingredients and know I have enough time to cook; I take time to set up workspaces. I go beyond the instructions of the recipe and I prep my space. I will talk about this more in section 2 of this class.

2. The Workspace Set Up

This is an important lesson for many reasons, the main reason being I bet it is a process you skip. The reason workspace set-up gets skipped is because you have the illusion that it takes up too much time. In reality it saves you time and really helps minimize kitchen fails. So please consider following along. See if you like this process. If it improves your time management in your kitchen it is probably worth implementing every time you cook.

  • We have all watched the TV cooking shows and see how they have all the ingredientsmeasured and put into cute little bowls. You may think they have done this for show. In reality they have done this hoping you will take up the habit. This cooking set up is called Mise en Place. In French it means “everything in its place”. Measuring out your ingredients before you start to cook is a great way to make sure that you stay on track and eliminate mistakes. Here is a quick bonus video to explain the process with examples.
  • After I get all my ingredients measured, I like to gather all the tools I will need on the counter and in the workspaces where I will be using them. I get out all the knives, cutting boards, bowls, cookware and whatever else I think I will need. I put the cookware near the cooking surfaces and the cutting board in my prep workspace.
  • Once these task are complete I can consult my recipe for pre-instructions like pre- heating my oven or frying pan. Boiling or chilling water. This makes the work flow well and easy. Even if you are a seasoned cook, you can benefit from these few great habits.

Now you are ready to cook! It may take a few times to get used to these ideas. I always put them to practice when I am recipe developing or cooking a brand new recipe. It really helps me stay on track and saves me a ton of time by avoiding mistakes.

3. How to Read a Recipe

I love reading recipes. I find them inspiring and they help me understand how ingredients go together. I had an aunt who had an extensive cookbook collection and as a kid I could not understand the fascination. Now I get it! You have to eat so why not be thoughtful about it. Reading recipes will help you achieve this ideal state of mind. I want to share a few tips I have about selecting and reading recipes.

  • Selecting a cookbook is like getting a how to manual for a certain type of cooking. If you are a Paleo eater you might find the best recipes for your lifestyle in Paleo cookbooks. However, I love to read all kinds of cookbooks. I am not a vegan but I read vegan cookbooks routinely. I love vintage cookbooks and love to tweak not so healthy into healthy and delicious. So my advice is to go out and get some cookbooks that you enjoy. I love to find them in thrift stores and second hand bookstores. When I can find one that has notes or flags in the margins I am in absolute heaven.
  • Read your recipe thoroughly before you even buy ingredients. Then read it again before you start to cook. Be purposeful when reading it. I often envision the steps as I am reading. This helps me when cooking new or complicated recipes. Especially if I am baking.
  • You want your healthy recipes to come out looking like the photos? Don’t mess with the core ingredients. If the recipe calls for almond flour and you substitute it with rice flour, you are going to get an alternative outcome. However if a recipe calls for kosher salt and you choose sea salt you will have a photo finish!
  • On a similar note, if a core ingredient is in the title of the recipe I say leave that ingredient in. The author was using that ingredient as a flagship flavor. You might be disappointed in the flavor profile if you change it and have a kitchen fail.
  • Although someone else wrote the recipe, you are the “soul” of the outcome. You and Icould make the same recipe on the same day with identical ingredients and we may achieve different results. That is because you put your soul in the effort of cooking a meal and the outcome will be uniquely yours.

4. Next Steps

My final thoughts on falling in love with your kitchen:

Don’t try to master everything. Master the seven meals that will be in your staple routine. Have one that is perfection that you could cook with your eyes closed. Then feel your way into new territory and new techniques. The more you cook the more you will realize what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. Work on your weaknesses but don’t obsess about them. I am not a great baker. I work on those skills, but I never make them part of my mastered routine.

Now that your mindset is detoxed, it’s time to start cooking. Look for more classes in the go2kitchens.academy. Perfect your healthy cooking skills along the way. Always remember that a health journey is a process and not an event. It takes an investment of your time. I look forward to hanging out with you and helping you along the way. Transformation is a beautiful thing!

Bonus Video: Mise en place

Well this is it! Last worksheet! It is time to make a list of all the kitchen skills you are great at and find more ways to incorporate them into your new detoxed kitchen. The work is not over. I also think it is valuable to make a list of things that you think still need work and of new skills that you still want to learn. This will help you even fall deeper in love with your kitchen.

Next Video!



To recap . . . you have learned what your challenges are, where your workspaces are, and you have detoxed under your sink, there is no stopping you now! Menu planning is being mastered, you now know how to “pre”pare meals, how to take care of your kitchen assets, what tools you need for a healthy kitchen, what should be in your pantry and how to get started on your cooking journey!

Thank you for participating and congratulations. You are welcomed, and encouraged, to access the support in the Facebook Group for as long as you need it. All the materials are yours to keep and review at your leisure. The worksheets can be printed as many times as you like whenever you need them.

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