Health in Action: Spoon & Saucer Author Brandie Kajino

Our Health in Action series profiles people in the community who are living Actively Northwest. Follow along each week as we profile new people who are committed to living active, healthy lives through fitness and food. 

We’re very excited to introduce our friend and Portland real food blogger Brandie Kajino. Like nutrition coach Kristi Rimkus, we recently featured Brandie and her blog, Spoon & Saucer, as one of our favorite Northwest healthy eating Pinterest boards. We can’t say enough about her delicious, local recipes – all of which are made with natural ingredients. Or as Brandie calls it: “real food.”

ANW spoke with Brandie recently about Spoon & Saucer and how to eat healthier here in the Northwest.

What do you think holds most people back from embracing what you call “real food?”

Brandie: Cooking from scratch at home has declined over the years for many different reasons. Often it’s a fear that it’s too hard. It’s a matter of learning the basics, and the realization comes that cooking at home is really a lot easier than people think.

What are a few of your favorite recipes that you’d recommend for someone who is intimidated by cooking from scratch?

Brandie: I like the basics. Since we’re right around the holidays, here are a few of my favorites. Anyone can make these, and they are wonderful to try with the kids.

You recently wrote about your experiences going gluten-free to help with psoriasis, an auto-immune skin disease. What advice do you have for others who want to understand the connection between food and their health? 

Brandie: It requires personal advocacy when it comes to your own health. Read, learn, research and be open and flexible. We rely too much on medication to fix what we are unwilling to do in the kitchen (me included). There is so much information out there on the subject. It’s overwhelming!

Looking at food as the first medicine is critical. It can be a delicious journey! It can even be fun, and the payoff can be a long, happy and healthy life.

This quote really sums it up for me:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates

How has your approach to food changed since you started blogging in 2008?

Brandie: Oh gosh… WAY less sugar, and of course gluten.

I’ve really come to realize that cooking can solve much of what is wrong with our food in the kitchen. When you start with fresh ingredients, it makes such a huge difference.

I’m also a lot more concerned about where my food comes from, especially the meat that we consume as a family. As a result, I eat a lot less of it. I’ll likely never be a vegetarian, but I eat a lot of plant-based food these days. And it’s delicious!

You’ve said you love kitchen tools. What tools do you consider essential for home cooking? What tools are on your wish list?

Brandie: Funny you mention that! I just came out with my gift guide, which has all the tools you need to get into the kitchen:

Here are my top five

  1. Good quality sharp knife (invest in this one)
  2. A big heavy pot you can make soups in, or even fry occasionally
  3. Big wood cutting board – one you can use to cut, prep and even roll out pastry
  4. Wood spoon for stirring (a personal favorite)
  5. Cast-iron skillet for everyday cooking

Where do you go for inspiration when you’re struggling with meal ideas?

Brandie: Generally speaking, I have three go-to places when I’m stuck:

  1. Food blogs! I love reading what others are making and the stories that go with the dishes.
  2. My large (ahem) cookbook collection. Mostly dead tree books but a growing amount of digital as well.
  3. Pinterest. Yes, I love it there. So visual. And I usually end up on another blog.

ANW Team

The latest fitness, food and inspiration posts from the Actively Northwest team.

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