How mothers can have a kitchen that nourishes body and spirit

'Kitchen healer' Jules Blaine Davis uses food as a way to help women re-connect to themselves, and one another.

How mothers can have a kitchen that nourishes body and spirit

Jules Blaine Davis is a kitchen healer, a mother, and a woman who is hungry to nourish America.

The L.A.-area mom of two uses food as a way to help women connect to themselves, and one another, creating a movement to awaken women to their literal and metaphorical hunger, and help them to find the nourishment they need.

We're in.

Her inspiring takes on food and nourishment, found on her social media accounts, through the gatherings she created called miracles she hosts out of her home, or the therapy-based work she does with women and families invites us to deeply reflect on the meaning and importance of physical and spiritual nourishment in our lives.

Plus, her dreamy Instagram updates are simply gorgeous.

Jules has a deep passion for helping women and mothers to discover their values, a role that she says connects women to one another throughout place and time.

Her work is about guiding us to connect with our "insatiable hunger for something deeper.”

And just look at those altars of fresh food. We love her take on "messy beauty."

Through her gatherings with women who sign up for a day of nourishing reflection, relaxation and consciousness-raising around the seasonal meals she prepares, Jules gives women a space to explore their vulnerability and permission to be more present in their everyday lives.

She connects women to each other, to the food that nourishes them and to their family, to how and where the food was grown, to their story and the food's story.


Motherly spoke with Jules Blaine Davis about her work, about modern motherhood, and about what inspires her about the power of nourishing food.

Motherly: What is about food that is so powerful in our lives—both in what it does for us, and in what is also represents?

Jules: Food is the first thing we’re given when we get here as newborns. We’re put immediately on the breast or fed through a bottle. It’s the first experience of touch to our lips. It’s the first experience of intimacy.
And food is the thing we’re most worried about --or we’re not. And this begins the journey of how we were nourished, or how we weren’t. Being nourished can be very emotional terrain. And for mothers, some people are so excited to breastfeed, and some people feel like they can’t do.

How we were nourished is completely connected to how we nourish ourselves and our families now. This is what I call our food story. When we realize that we can change our story and learn how to connect to ourselves in this way, we are forever changed. We come to many a-ha moments. One is nourishing ourselves gives us the energy to nourish others and that in turn also feeds us. Once we learn how to do that inside a kitchen that inspires us and our needs, inside a life that aligns with our values, we learn other, more practical things like how to store the zucchini.

There are some homes I go into where nourishing is an obligation and a source of stress. It’s overwhelming. It’s empty.

In fact, we are divided culturally as Americans about what a woman's relationship with food should be. It's no wonder that women feel conflicted.

We all have stories about how we relate to food, to cooking, and to being nourished. I'm helping women change their story.

Motherly: Why is food so overwhelming for some of us mothers?

Jules: Part of it is the cultural expectations we bring to the table. We have an idea of what food should look like, what it needs to be due to our upbringings, our parents, our values and lifestyles. That is usually how we decide what food is going to go on the table. If those values don't align with the lives we lead, then there is conflict. We need to look to who we are, who we hunger to be, to write up values that work for our lives now. That will tell us what is on the menu.

For example, some women have husbands who only eat meat and potatoes. But she loves kale and could eat some goat gouda and could be done for the day. Perhaps the kids are very picky and need a balanced meal of fresh foods and meats. What do you do? Usually take out is on the menu when it's too overwhelming. Is the value that she makes three different meals or a one meal thing? It’s a layered subject. It gets stressful because we’re not really quite sure how to approach everyone's hungry. We need to connect with ours first then we will know what to do. That can be a place we need support, hence the need for a kitchen healer.

There's also an emotional layer here for many women because the picture of what meals should be all go back to the story that was passed down from our grandmothers, our mothers, who showed us what nourishment was—or wasn't. Whether it was candy bars in the car or we had a full warm lunch or everything in between. So now in our hands as modern mothers, through social media, the news and society seem to tell us that we have to know how to with meal "perfect" in order to make sure our child is gonna live. That is intensive care. And that is very stressful.

It’s stressful and hard because as a culture, the stories didn’t get passed down. The story about how to make a soup and have a job. How to make food when we’re so busy. How to keep the fire on while we sate our other hungers like motherhood, or dream job, traveling the world, whatever it is.

This is what happened is in the 1950s and 60s: TV dinners showed up, and our moms went out to get diplomas. And so that pantry that our grandmothers had started to get filled with cans.

Moms are stressed because we’re having to make stuff up from scratch. We have to make sure it doesn't have poison on it, we have to make sure of so much these days that is just gets to be too much especially when we don't know what to do. It's sad because it hasn't been that much time that has passed.

I know we can turn this boat around. We can do it all. We can build our business and feed our family. It really does come down to values.

In my home, an egg on rice is a meal. Maybe I'll add beans, an avocado, the whole kitchen sink. There's a lot of permission in how I feed my family. That’s a power meal.

Motherly: You’ve talked about how new mothers experience both grief and joy. What do you mean by grief?

Jules: Motherhood is in part a grieving. I feel that we’re always grieving and grateful at the same time.

In early motherhood, you're having to say goodbye to the old self, which is actually the young self, because as you birthed a baby into the world you birthed a mother in you—you’re forced to grow up even if you weren't necessarily ready to. Now you have life on your hands looking you straight in the eye. I think that we grieve ourselves first. I hope we do. . . leaning into the grief helps the heart SOFTEN which is something else you can heal in the kitchen.

And then we begin to grieve the journey of the kids growing up so fast. As the baby stage passes away, so quickly.

Then we grieve our bodies. And we are grateful and in awe at the same time that our bodies made babies!

We grieve what we think we knew about ourselves, and realize how quickly, too, our bodies can change and then we come to know how amazing we are. This is where we begin to wake up to our hunger.

To heal, we birth new things. New meals, a nap! Or a shower. This is the beginning to mindful living and to loving ourselves as we truly are. It's about writing the story we want to live. Then our kids will know how to do the same.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

    Thank you for understanding. ❤️

    In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

    Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

    Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.


    I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

    Keep reading Show less

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play