Its early morning.... you grab a latte from the coffee shop, skip breakfast, grab a "gluten free" muffin or a "healthy bar" at work, a wrap for lunch, a few chips on the drive home, then slam down some left-overs, go out, or do a "fast" food option. Life is busy, but your health doesn't need to take a backseat. The first step to a healthful body, mind and lifestyle is taking the time to prepare, cook, and care for your self.
Where does your food come from?
Many years ago this question wouldn't have been asked. Why? because people knew the answer. It was grown, picked, prepped, cooked then served right to the table. People were directly involved with their food. But it wasn't just about what they ate; it was about the whole process as well.
If your food isn't cooked by you, then by who?
Man or machine? Is it fresh or is it packaged, preserved, and made shelf stable for years? Michael Pollan, Food Author and Journalist, who has written many books about where nature and culture intersect on our plates, says it isn't necessarily about the nutrients or calories but, what predicts our healthy diet is who was doing the cooking, a human or a Corporation?
The difference is that corporate cooking uses a huge amount of fats, salts and sugars, much more than we would ever use if cooked ourselves. These 3 ingredients, (and not the healthy kinds either) when layered in the right proportions are cheap and addicting. The words they use are "Cravability" and "Snackability" and that's exactly how they sell their products. NO muss, No fuss. Right? WRONG! Less than 70% of people eat their meals at home. The main complaint is that there isn't enough time to cook, but if kept simple fresh and easy, cooking can bring about so many benefits that you may not even be aware of...
Saves time and money.
Yes, really! By the time you get to the restaurant, order, get served, you could of made a delicious meal at home. You then will have more time (and money) to relax, do a few "to do list" things, read, or even get out for that run or walk with the dogs.
Health, Energy and Weight Loss
Portions served in many restaurants have increased 3x/ larger (and the plate size) than in the past, which leads us to eating more. The ingredients at times are not the best quality,(non-organic, high sugar, fat, processed, pre made) which can deplete your energy (think about nutrient preservation), pack on excess weight, increase blood sugar, and for many deflate motivation to stick to a healthy eating regime. By cooking your own meals, you are in control of your health and your body's destiny.
Awareness and knowledge
Food is much more than filling the whole and the hunger. It can heal, cause sickness, boost your immunity, inflict pain, build your muscles and stamina, and give you mounds of energy. It can teach you what works the best for your body or tell you what combinations you may want to avoid. It can educate you on nutrients, good fats, calories and portion size. By cooking, you are actually creating and with an open mind and heart, your creativity will flow and so will your vitality and health.
Study after study has proven that when families cook together (and eat together) it improves their dynamics as well as their health. Taking the time to be together provides cooking skills, mealtime nourishment, connection, stability and support. The value of cooking and sharing meals together last a lifetime.
A few tips
- Optimize your kitchen. Make sure you get rid of what you don't need and have what you do need.
- Plan your meals. Shop ahead of time and make a list. Keep it simple.
- Make the time in your schedule (Write it in your calendar) Plan a day or two in the week for prep (chop, slice, dice, cook, and package)
- Plant a garden. Inspire yourself to grow, cook, and eat fresh.
- Have the family pick a recipe once a week and cook together.
- Enjoy the process. I promise this will be the highlight of your day.
As the saying goes "You are what you eat" and as I always say "You become what you eat"... either way, what goes in your body comes through in the form of healthy weight, energy, mood, skin, vitality, and the list goes on.
I'll see you in the kitchen,