Buck Naked Kitchen
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My Story

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog! I'm Kirsten and Welcome to Buck Naked Kitchen.

I’m a Holistic Nutritionist, recipe developer, and food stylist based in Winnipeg, Canada. One place I feel like I can zone out and be truly creative is in my tiny apartment kitchen. I love experimenting with fresh whole food ingredients and I love feeding my friends and family even more. When I’m not cooking, you can find me cuddling my Maltese-American Eskimo mix Chloe, taking a spin class, or grabbing a matcha latte with one of my girlfriends.
A big part of food for me is nutrition. Food that is rich in nutrients, colourful, and that makes me feel my best. I developed a passion for cooking and nutrition after seeing life changing improvements in my own health, physically and mentally. Because of this, I have a much deeper appreciation for natural foods and how it can help heal the body. I haven’t always been this way though. It’s been a long journey with lots of ups and downs. So, I’m going to tell my story in hopes that someone can relate and because health journeys are not always sunshine and rainbows. We all start somewhere.

Growing up in northern Manitoba in a First Nations family, my grandpa always told us that the best way of living was off the land. He lived off the land working as a hunter and trapper his whole life. He would go away to his trapline for months and come back with pelts to sell at auction, wild meat, fresh fish, and wild tea to support and feed his family and any extra was shared with the community. It wasn’t until years later I realized my grandpa lived a very traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle - the same approach I would take that would heal my body and turn my life around.

I was born and raised in The Pas, Manitoba, a town of about 5000 people approximately 600 kilometres northwest of the province’s capital. The town sits on the Canadian Shield. One half is farmland, and the other half is limestone rock with beautiful lakes and forest. Even though the growing season was short we made sure to plant a garden. Every year we were shocked at how different wild Manitoba berries and garden cucumbers tasted from store-bought. They just tasted how they were supposed to taste - organic and straight from the earth.

Despite my love and fond memories of food as a little girl, it became an emotional crutch following traumatic childhood experiences and the crippling anxiety that came along with it. I started binge eating at a very early age and I was good at hiding it. I didn't understand the effects binge eating would have on my body over time. I didn’t even realize I was binge eating at all. It was just what I did. When I graduated high school, I was extremely over-weight, had horrible digestive issues, and lacked self esteem and confidence. I couldn’t wait to leave that town.

I didn’t learn how to cook until I moved out after high school graduation. There I was living in a new city, broke and barely scraping by. As a housewarming gift, my mom bought me a cookbook. I looked at it as a challenge. I cooked my way through that book over the year and loved (most times) all the different foods I got to try. I think this is where I realized I really loved cooking. It was therapeutic for me after a long day at school and from that point forward, If I wanted something in particular, I figured out how to make it from scratch. Played around with spices, over salted ALOT of dishes, used the ole google to find recipes, you know.

Sounds great right? Well, most of the food I was making was pure comfort food. I was still using food as a crutch for whatever was stressing me out and creating anxiety in my life. Just because I left my hometown didn’t mean everything changed. Disordered eating was my normal. It’s how I had been for so long. After a year away from home, I was at my heaviest weight physically, and mentally, I was so sad inside. Everyday was a pity party. There were key moments where I was shamed for being a bigger girl that broke my spirit even more and I’ll never forget them. I was so ashamed of who I was, lacked all motivation, and there were times I was so unhappy that I truly wanted to just die.

I struggled for years after before “getting my shit together” and jumping onto the diet culture/fitness lifestyle bus. Book after book, diet after diet, lots of motivation and exercise got me down 80 pounds. Thing is, my focus was solely on losing weight as opposed to focusing on optimal health. Nothing I was doing was sustainable for long term and I was constantly looking for the next best regime to try. It took years for me to find stability and fix my relationship with food from my starting point. 10 years exactly.
Fast forward those 10 years. I was working as a hairstylist, and loved the creativity that it allowed me, but found myself less passionate about the industry. I had adopted more of a paleo lifestyle and had educated myself on most things holistic health related after completing my first Whole30, a book I had stumbled on during one of my *have to find something new to do* highs. The Whole30 wasn’t just another diet book though - It actually set me on the path to gaining control of my health and gave me something sustainable to live by. The program changed my life in the best way possible and I owe everything to it and what I’m doing now. During the program, I was cooking everyday, and getting more creative with my meal ideas. I had started a social media outlet to help keep me accountable. In a very short time, it turned into a space where I could showcase my recipes. At work I’d daydream about what kind of recipes I would do on the weekend, how I would style them, I’d go shopping for props. This is where I found my love for styling and photography. In march 2016, I published my blog Buck Naked Paleo to share my recipes and story with the world. I’d found my passion.

I quit my job, sold my condo, and moved half way across the country to begin courses at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in September 2016 to further my education so I could help others. The thing I loved most about school was that they focused on all whole foods and finding what worked for your own biochemical individuality. I had been keeping certain foods out of my diet for years only because I felt I was told to, not because they didn’t actually work for me. After some experimentation I found that I could add more whole foods, like gluten free grains and legumes, to my diet and they worked for me. This is when I decided to rebrand to Buck Naked Kitchen to reach a broader audience of healthy food lovers.

My goal here at Buck Naked Kitchen is to create approachable delicious recipes that are simple but flavourful and include ingredients that are accessible in any grocery store or farmers market. Anyone from students on a budget to busy moms will find the recipes affordable and easy to make on any day of the week. I hope I can inspire you cook, expand on different flavours, and most of all, live your best life. 

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