At the end of 2012 Lisa posted her first recipe on a very average looking blog. Little did she know that creating recipes would become an actual job for her and inspire tens of thousands of women to create simple, wholefood recipes amongst their busy lives.
Ten years later a digital version of Small Steps Living Cookbook was released and the response has been overwhelming!
In this podcast Lisa shares with you exactly why she thinks the Small Steps approach was so popular and changed the lives of women. Always driven by making life simpler and more enjoyable for herself and others, Lisa reveals exactly where the ‘small steps’ approach came from and why it will ALWAYS be her go to when it’s time to change up habits.
Enjoy this celebratory episode!
Grab a copy of the digital Cookbook using the code smallsteps20 for a 20% discount in launch week – finishing February 25!
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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here
Prefer to read? Access the transcript here
Hey, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life, and if you are too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you’re here. Enjoy.
Hey, I’m a little bit buzzy on this podcast, I have to say, because I’m so excited about the reception that the Small Steps Cookbook has received. And I am also just thrilled that it’s actually out in the world. So I know that there’s people who are listening to this podcast who have been listening for a long time. If you actually scroll all the way down, you’ll see that this was a podcast called Small Steps Living. And I did, oh God, how many episodes with that? I don’t even know what we got up to. And it was a whole business unto itself, the wholefoods side of what I did, before I really started to figure out that I felt like I was best placed to help women with mindset related stuff.
But the fact is that for years and years and years, I was creating and sharing recipes online and inside memberships. And I created them for my programme, Small Steps To Wholefoods, and The Easy Kitchen Reset. And there’s a whole swag of things, I created so much. And we closed that side of the business down at the end of 2020, because I just really wanted to kind of go all in on the other side of things. To tell you the truth, it also held a lot of memories. Nick was a massive part of that business. It was a particular stage of my life where he was very present, and I just needed to create some clear space and really just draw some lines in the sand, in terms of, what was then and what is now.
But since that happened, we get inundated with requests from people, who are like, “Excuse me, Lisa, your basic muffin recipe, where is that? Could you just give me a quick copy and paste? Because I can’t find it anymore.” People are like, “Oh, your simple stir fry, what’s with that? Where is it? I feel like I remember the three ingredients, but not the fourth.” And we spend a lot of time in customer service, helping people out with recipes, since the blog was closed and the membership and all of that stuff.
So a cookbook was actually on my list of things to do for years, but it actually takes a lot of time to put together a cookbook. And I was always like, “Oh, what would I put in? What wouldn’t I put in? How could I make it something that was really helpful to people, as well as just had a stack of delicious recipes?” And so over summer, Jo from my team just said, “Hey, I know you’re taking a break. I was just thinking, could I just put together some recipes and pop them in an eBook so that we could share it with people when they ask for recipes? I think that there’s a large portion of your audience who’d love your recipes to just be in one place.” And I said, “Sure. Make sure it’s not too big a project, there’s heaps of eBooks there that we’ve created over the years. Use what you can find and go for it.”
Well, that did not happen, let me just tell you. Jo went through pretty much everything I ever created, every single Facebook post, all the things, to find a collection of 100 recipes, I think it’s actually over 100 recipes, to put in a cookbook. Not only that, she collected information that I’d written about farmer’s markets and simple dinners plans and some of the most beautiful posts that I’ve written about my children, my mom, Nick’s fermenting recipes. She really did this most stunning job of putting together 180 pages of Small Steps Cookbook material.
I can’t believe how beautiful this cookbook is. And to be completely honest, if it was left up to me, it probably would never happen. Big chunky projects like that, I’m like, “Ah, I might just go the other way for now.” And also, there was so much emotional attachment to me to all of that stuff, I don’t know how I would have decided on certain things. And there’s going to be recipes in there, even if you were a Small Stepper, that you will have forgotten, or maybe only appeared on Facebook and never made it anywhere else that you’ve now got access to. And in true Small Step style, it’s just broken up in a really, really simple way, but also to reflect the level of connection I had to those recipes and certain times of my life, like the different seasons.
So if you are really new around here, I mean, okay, even if you aren’t, the whole reason I started sharing recipes online in the first place was because back in 2011, it was, I had a one-year-old, my eldest was one, and I’d been working on this blog and it was actually called Brands For Tomorrow, and I was working with an advertising agency and we were trying to get sustainable brands together to be able to tell their stories. Because at that time, we really felt like a lot of people were trying to buy products that were better than the average for the planet, they wanted to support companies who were making efforts to improve things environmentally.
Anyway, I’d been working on that for a few years. So I was getting familiar with the whole blogging thing. But then I had my son, and so I was working a little bit less on that. And I started to get really interested in the food that I was feeding him and that we were eating. And it was a time, I quit sugar when Sarah Wilson was coming out with that. I think Pete Evans came a little bit after. But I don’t know if it was the stage of life I was at, but I feel like there was a big thing going on around food. People were starting to just open their eyes a little bit.
And I remember once, my sister was seeing a naturopath, and she wasn’t sleeping all that well, she would wake up the same time every night. Anyway, this naturopath said to just maybe stop eating, she’d just have literally a spoonful of, I think it was low fat ice cream, vanilla ice cream, after dinner. And they said, “Just stop, stop having that. And let’s see what happens to your sleep.” I was like, “Okay,” thinking maybe it had something to do with the sugar or whatever. And it wasn’t to do with the sugar, it was to do with an ingredient that was in there. And she literally stopped doing that and stopped waking up in the middle of the night.
She and I were living in Sydney at the time. And we were like, “What is going on? Maybe we should actually be not looking at grammes of fat in food. Maybe we should be looking at the ingredients in food. What’s going on here?” So we started to look at ingredients in food. And so then I was like, “Oh my God, I have a small child, who is eating solid food. What should we do? What should I feed him?” Started to really get interested in what my options were in terms of healthier choices for him and for us.
So I actually applied, through Sarah Wilson, to do a course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It was to become a health coach. I was like, “Oh, I think I want to do that.” She gave me a scholarship to do it. So my tuition was paid for, which was amazing. I mean, can you even imagine, it was just such a gift and I’ll always be grateful to Sarah Wilson for that. I actually wrote to her many times over the years to just say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know, I’ve just launched a course called Small Steps To Wholefoods. And it did really well and I’m helping people. And you giving me that scholarship was the first part of this journey.” So I always have to acknowledge that.
But anyway, what I saw was, in those communities of people who were learning about food, getting super overwhelmed with food, getting like maniacal sometimes about food, was that there was also this expectation that we could go from just zero to hero, that we could learn things and then suddenly we’d be doing the things differently. And so, as I said, I’d been working in sustainability, in the sustainability space and the communications around that, and working for not-for-profits, who were always trying to get their head around how to connect with people about things and how to take them on a bit of a journey. And it was almost like, you guys, you’re coming at this from where you are, this purest point of view, but most people aren’t there. So if you want to connect with them, you’re going to have to meet them where they’re at first, and get them to take a step. Sounding familiar?
So I had that framework for changing things in my head. I was looking around, going, “These people are going to crash and burn.” And crash and burn they did. They all went super hardcore and they weren’t able to maintain it. And then they were plagued with guilt and self hatred. It was like another form of diets, even although it was just designed to cut out all the nasty stuff and eat only wholefoods.
And so I was like, “Well, we’re just going to take this easy. I’m just going to look at one area and we’re just going to make some changes and I’ll try to upgrade things.” And I started doing crazy stuff like joining food co-ops, I joined one in Sydney and I’d take my little containers, started to work out very quickly it was uncool to bring plastic ones, so I was upgrading to glass jars and all that sort of stuff, and buying things in bulk. And I also started going to our local farmer’s market. Just like those shifts, that shift in particular of not thinking, “I need to get some food, I’ve got to go to the supermarket,” but, there’s other places that I could source things, and the ingredients are just next level delicious, and a lot of the times cheaper, it started to sort of shift my identity about who I was with food.
And I was always so grateful. Nick was really into fresh, wholesome food. He’d grown up, his dad was Croatian, and I mean, the zucchinis that they used to grow in their garden, their veggie garden, always had veggie gardens, was always growing vegetables, his dad, they would do like zucchini schnitzel, because they were so massive. They’d just cut a slice of the zucchini, crumb it and fry it, and that’s that. It was really, really impressive. So it was natural for him to want to do those things, everywhere we moved.
Even our first place in Sydney, there was a back garden, it was fully concreted, so he went and just got all these bits and pieces together and built a floating flowerbed. He got soil and started planting things. I mean, we ended up, now I’m just rambling, but we ended up, he was growing some chilies, some cherry tomatoes, like all sorts of things, lettuce, and it just looked so bizarre to me, like in the centre of this concrete courtyard. It was amazing. He was really just so into it. It was always so good for him to just take his shoes off and he’d go down and stand in that soil. I mean, he was grounding himself before I knew what it was. And we ended up using the things from our garden to make chutney for our wedding guests. We sterilised the jars and we made the chutney. Anyway, so good.
So anyway, that was before we had kids. So it was always kind of important. But it was really, really highlighted to me that there were changes that we could make. There were things that we were eating, that we just had no idea what they were doing to us. But I deliberately chose not to overwhelm myself and just take it step by step. So in 2012 we moved to Brisbane, I had my second child too by then, she was about four months old, and we were in a little service department. I knew one person in Brisbane. And we were finding a house. We were doing all that kind of thing. I thought, “I’ve got to do something while I’m here, I’ve got to get out and meet people.”
So I started a blog and I just started putting recipes up of things that I’d made. It was a really ugly blog because I’m not a designer and I really had no idea what I was doing. But I just felt like it was something that I really wanted to do. And I also wanted a Thermomix. So if you’re not sure what they are, it’s a kitchen appliance, very expensive one, but I sort of wanted to be chopping stuff and making things that I was seeing other people make. And I thought that this would really help me. So I actually became a consultant, because there was no way that Nick was going to be buying a $2,000 kitchen appliance. So I said, “Look, I’m going to become a consultant, learn how to do that.” And you have to go out and you have to teach people how to cook with this machine. And I thought, “Well, that’ll be really good. It’ll get me out and about and meeting people. And I love cooking, and it just gives me a little project and something to do.” And it was great. It was so, so good.
But do you know why it was so great? Was because, while I was sort of just doing this blog and I started a little Facebook page and I was going around to people’s kitchens and sharing food for them and their friends, it was like little parties, I was having a look at what was in other people’s fridges and freezers and just thinking, “Wow, this is really interesting. It’s interesting what people are eating.” And I think that that education, that understanding of really, moms who, their kids were a lot older than mine, they were busy, going to extracurricular activities and trying to manage work and all that sort of stuff. I mean, we’re all just trying our best. And convenience stuff, well, it’s called convenient for a reason. And it gave me a really good insight, it was like the most perfect market research I could be doing. It meant I understood who I was talking to. I was literally in their kitchens seeing where they were at and what little changes that they could make, where they felt like a total rock star.
And so after all that time, two years after I’d started the blog, and I’d had my third child by then, I had three children in under four years, I knew that I was going to have to do something with this blog, I was going to have to make some money from it, if I wanted to not go back into the workforce in a traditional way. If I could figure out how to sell something from this blog, how to give people an experience. I thought of all sorts of different ideas.
I mean, Nick and I were thinking about, we had a business plan and it was called Betty and Max Boxes, because he always called me Betty and I always called him Max, and these boxes were going to have the ingredients of the things that you need to be able to whip together some bliss balls, a banana bread, a basic muffin. And we were just going to make it easy for parents to just order a box, have that delivered. And they just add the eggs and the milk, whatever. I mean, I was talking to Australia Post and we were going down the whole thing. That never eventuated.
There was just so many, so many, so many different ideas. I could go and help people with their pantries and look at their stuff. I mean, if you’ve ever wanted to go into this space and had ideas, I’ve had them too. And then I actually did a programme called B-School, and it was all about how to teach people things online. And I was like, “Well, maybe I could create a learning programme and just take people through step by step how to eat more wholefoods.” And I have a genius friend and her name is Ellissa Nagle, and she runs Flourish Online, which is a branding and design agency. Back then, I mean, she created my website for a couple of hundred bucks. You would not get that these days. She is extremely good at what she does and works for some of the top online entrepreneurs around the world.
But she’s got such an amazing brain for branding and for ideas. And we were just throwing this around, and she’s like, “You know, you could just do like a 21-day wholefoods challenge.” I was like, “Yeah, I could,” thinking, “I’ve got no idea what she’s talking about or what that would mean.” Suddenly, next thing I know, she’s just created the signup form and is like, “Okay, maybe you should just put this on your Facebook page, see what people say.” Like, “Well, I don’t know when I’d be doing it. I need to give myself a bit of lead time.” And she’s like, “What, three weeks? Tell them it’s happening in three weeks.” “Three weeks?” I think my baby was nine weeks old, my third. But I was like, “Okay, yeah. I mean, I’ve got to make something happen. Let’s just experiment, see what happens.” 21-day whole food challenge was born. I had about 500 people sign up to that. I was shocked and delighted and I worked so, so hard, and then got a stye and almost burnt out.
And then I was like, “Well, maybe then this is a course. Maybe I could actually lengthen this out and actually make it better and deliver it like a course.” And we were just trying to talk about, I said, “I’m trying to figure out what I’m saying that’s different to other people out there. It’s not dogmatic. I do really always try and tell people that the best type of change that you can create is going to be the change that you just do bit by bit. Creating habits takes time. And we freak out as soon as we ask ourselves to do too much, and we go back to doing what we did. I really want this to be something that they can just embed in their lives and it becomes how they do things, and they can enjoy themselves and love themselves in the process.” She’s like, “So you’re sort of telling them to take small steps.” “Yes, yes, I am.” So Small Steps To Wholefoods was born.
We had over 500 people sign up to that very first round. And it was in that moment that I thought, “I could be onto something here.” And it was the most delightful, rewarding experience I have ever, ever had. And if you were one of those very first Small Steppers, you changed my life, because you said, “Yeah, I want to learn this, and I want to learn from you.” And that, fundamentally, I can’t even tell you how life-changing that experience was for me, and how pretty much every day since then, I’ve been showing up to continue to teach, inspire, in a very honest way, and connect with you. And I did it all through the craziest years of my life.
And I have built memberships, four-week programmes, one-week programmes, eight-week programmes, coaching programmes. I mean, I’ve done all the things, eBooks, stationery, who remembers the stationery? Still got some of that actually. And it’s just been like the ride of my life. And so to package all that up into a book was never going to be my job. How could I possibly? But Jo took it on. And because of Jo, we have a cookbook. It is a digital version. And look, who knows what will happen if we sell enough copies of those, that maybe we can put it into print? I don’t know. I don’t have any plans beyond it, aside from getting it out into the world and having it help people. Those recipes, I still use them. Actually, there was quite a few that I was like, “Wow, I have not thought about that in a really long time.” Or, “Oh my God, that was such a good idea. Why don’t I do that anymore?” But there’s quite a few of them that are still absolute staples in this house. And I would love for you to have easy access to them for yourself.
I still get tagged in posts where people are making my cakes, zucchini slice. I mean, the food is simple. It is not complicated. It couldn’t be complicated, because there were toddlers, there was a lot of stuff going on, and simple, wholesome, actually yummy food was really important to me. So we experimented a lot. Nick’s lamb koftas are in there, they are very good. There’s just a lot in there for you to explore. So you can get it now. And for this very first week, we’re also just offering for the listeners, for the followers, for the people who’ve been around for a while, a 20% discount as well. You can can see the details of that in the show notes. Because I want you to celebrate with me, especially the people who’ve been around for a while. And I want to thank you for sticking around, for the beautiful warmth that you’ve shown me over the years, for being there through that stage of my life. You might see yourself as just a passive follower, but that means something to me, it really does.
And so it turns out that while Small Steps was all closed down, that there was one final piece to wrap that up in a bow, and it’s this cookbook. And it’s so that, whichever family desires it, they can get their hands on over 100 recipes that have been tried and tested on my children, many other children, I mean, so many families have eaten these recipes. That’s not very good English, is it? And enjoyed them. And I don’t think we need to make life more complicated for ourselves.
The way the cookbook starts is with eggs. And there’s a really good reason for that. And it was always a saying in Small Steps, “If you have an egg, you have a meal,” unless you’re a vegan or allergic to eggs obvs. But this is what I always think, like, “Oh, we’re back home late from karate. All right, eggs on toast.” Or, “All right, an omelette.” Or, “All right, scrambled eggs and bacon.” Or, “All right, what could I add to their lunchboxes? I’m just going to boil some eggs and just chuck them in there.” Honestly, the humble egg. My baked eggs recipe in there. It was always, if people come over for brunch or if it’s a special morning breakfast, those baked eggs are outrageously good.
You’ll see that I use a lot of the same sorts of style of ingredients, similar. Sometimes I’m like, “Is that a recipe? Or is that just putting food together on a plate?” Either way, I’ve spent almost half an hour talking about a cookbook and the journey to it getting made, and it’s not even close to being fully told. But I do have to say a big thank you to Jo for her dedication to putting it together so that you guys can all enjoy it, and so that I have also this precious reminder of a particular, very, very, very poignant, beautiful, hard time of my life, where food was kept simple, wholesome, real, as often as I could. And for that reason, I do thank the fact that I knew what I knew about food, to be able to fuel myself through some really hard times.
So enjoy the book. I would love you to go and grab it, enjoy it. Share with me if you make anything, please, I would love to see your creations. And if you are someone who enjoys it, make sure you go and share it with friends. Because I do think that the more of us that have the opportunity to just cook simple, wholesome meals, and our kids watch us doing that, it’s got to be a good thing, right? There’s a lot on in your life, I am absolutely sure of that, and I hope these recipes make your life better. See you next week.
I am so excited to announce that the Small Steps Cookbook has arrived, after years of requests to collate the simple, delicious wholefoods recipes that I created in my time teaching women how to incorporate more real food into their families’ lives. It is actually here. 100 recipes for you to choose from, that are going to be gobbled up by yourself and your family. And I cannot promise miracles, but I can tell you that these recipes have worked for thousands of families. And I would love you to try them too.
So you can get access to the digital cookbook instantly via the link in the show notes of this podcast. So you can get inspired, you can take a new shopping list to the farmer’s market or to wherever you buy your wholefoods, and get started with these simple, healthy recipes. I know you’re going to love it. Enjoy.
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