4 books that changed the way we eat (and live)!

Mar 21
Written By Kenna Kanneberg

Though I write this on my Spring Break from teaching, the 3 feet of standing snow in our backyard reminds me that Wisconsin winters cannot be rushed. Spring fever begins to set in, but the cold and wind encourages me to stay wrapped up in a blanket indoors! There is a certain beauty to the seasonality of our region. Winter forces us to slow down, rest and remember what we love about the warmer seasons. Personally, I love to curl up with a good book during the winter months to learn more about some of the things I hope to accomplish in the coming season. 


I love to read, especially books that inspire me to try new things during the warmer months - or even right now when I am stuck inside!

If you love to read, or even if you’re just curious about how Shane and I started living the way that we do, here is a list of the books that got us started on our current journey! Most of these can be found at your local library, or for around $5 on Thriftbooks!

  1. The book that got Shane and I rolling on this journey actually came from a brown paper bag sale at our local library. For some reason, the book Raising Baby Green caught my eye and I added it to my brown paper bag. 5 years before we were even considering getting pregnant, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to sit down and read this book. It was published in 2007, so I am sure that some of the information in it has been updated in the past 15 years. However, it was super interesting to me to learn about how a baby’s taste buds begin to develop in the womb, and it set us on the path to change our eating habits to encourage our future children to be healthier eaters than we were growing up. Plus, who wants to decide if they like new foods when pregnant? Believe me, I did not! We started shopping at our local farmers market and trying new fruits and veggies - which led us to investigate gardening and our eating habits more intentionally.


  2. The second book that Shane and I read that began to shift how we lived in our apartment was called Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. This book outlines, room by room, how to reduce waste within your home. Some of the tips were so practical and we continue to use them to this day (i.e. bringing our own produce bags to the farmers market and refusing plastic bags) and some were less feasible for us (i.e.creating less than a jar of landfill trash in a year). However, this book caused us to critically analyze what changes we could make to reduce our environmental footprint, lessen the amount of clutter and waste that we had in our home, and think creatively about ways to save money and use things for multiple purposes.


  3. Continuing along the path of cleaning up our home and being more conscious of our spending habits, I stumbled upon the book that was arguably the most influential in our development of clean eating habits. The book 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake is a two part resource. The first half of the book talks about how and why to get your family to eat “real food” - food with ingredients that you typically use within your own kitchen. Leake also provides tips about how to grocery shop. Armed with this new information, Shane and I relearned how to buy our groceries, and now it takes no additional effort to locate our wholesome ingredients.

    The second half of the book outlines recipes that you can use to clean up foods that you’re probably already eating. With this approach, Shane and I are still able to eat pizza and tacos, we just are more conscious about the types of ingredients that we’re using to create our recipes. The bonus about these recipes is that they use ingredients that I’ve heard of, and are fairly basic recipes. I don’t have to worry about tripling my time in the kitchen (unless I’m accustomed to eating microwavable meals) to create these recipes, which was a huge plus when we were both working out of the home full-time. This is also nice for us as we cook for friends with food intolerances, because it outlines how to make your own things like taco seasoning - a sneaky culprit that adds preservatives and other fillers into an otherwise simple meal.


  4. The final book I would like to outline in this post is called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I don’t have to agree with every comment that she makes in the book to enjoy her writing style, which is very easy to read. In this book, she chronicles a year for her family of eating foods that were produced on her farm or within something like a 60 mile radius of where she lives. This book was further inspiration to get to know our local farmers, shop seasonally at farmers markets rather than eating tasteless tomatoes in January, and commit to experimenting with homesteading.


I’d like to point out that I read all of these books for the first time while still living in an apartment complex in Green Bay. While I didn’t have any land to begin raising chickens or be self-sustaining with my garden, I was able to make doable changes to our daily lives that positively affected our health and our home. Plus, it got Shane and I talking about some values that we want to pass along to the next generation and how we could begin to implement those now. Ultimately our decision to purchase a farm was, in part, due to our commitment to eat healthier, grow our own food, and live a slower paced life. Our decision to start a farm business and share this with you was easy because we’ve seen such an improvement in our lives since making these changes that we wanted to make them accessible to you, as well.

Thanks for reading!

Your Farmer,