Truth: I share my thoughts because I want to teach as many people to cook as possible. To help everyone become healthy, happy and in turn, make a living so I can have as good a life as I wish for you.
If you cook your own food you are way more likely to be healthier, have a lower BMI, better health markers and happier! This of course also applies if you have a partner or are in a family who prepares food daily and you eat together.
If you cook for yourself, your family, your partner you are more likely to choose the freshest best ingredients you can afford. So do the best with the resources you have.
If you’re cooking for yourself keeping it simple is all you need to do to be healthy. Think a bowl of vegetables and a small portion of a protein source, one or two flavourings and that’s dinner done!
Home cooking doesn’t need to be stored for months on end so it’s more likely to be fresh and whole foods. We all have reasons and excuses for not always cooking.
Here are the four (4) most common excuses I’ve heard.
- I don’t know how to cook
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t have the energy
- I can’t afford to cook fresh.
Let’s break each reason down a little.
YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO COOK
Keep it super simple and progress from there. Your skills will improve with time.
- Pick a few fresh foods you know you love.
- Google for example Chicken, capsicum, and corn.
- Now just loosely follow a recipe omitting as many ingredients as you wish.
- All of them if you want!
- Just try a different cooking technique.
- Roasting, baking, frying, pot roasting, steaming, stir-frying, braising, grilling, or poaching, raw salad, warm salad, roasted vegetable salad.
- There are billions of resources you can choose from.
“In a cross-sectional population-based study, consuming home-cooked main meals more frequently was associated with a range of indicators of a healthier diet, and several markers of cardio-metabolic health including adiposity, cholesterol and diabetes risk. Strongest associations were observed for the highest frequency of consuming home-cooked meals, more than five times per week.”https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/…/10.1186/s12966-017-0567-y , 17 August 2017.
YOU DON’T HAVE TIME
Unfortunately, the only way forward here is to check where you’re using your time.
Everyone wastes time some of the time.
- Write a schedule.
- Do a time budget for the day ahead.
- Plan your week ahead. This will free you up, guaranteed.
- Share the workload. More than 1 of you? Involve everyone in the process of cooking.
- Write a shopping list based on a one-to-a few recipes and stick to it.
- Designate 2hrs on a Sunday to clean your kitchen, prepare some bulk foods.
- Hire me to come and give you an in-depth course on how a chef keeps organised.
- Hire me to show you some new recipes with varying techniques that you will keep for a lifetime.
I DON’T HAVE THE ENERGY
Have you checked your sleep? Are you sleeping enough and is it quality?
Sleep is vitally important for everything. And I mean everything from energy, cognition, stress, happiness, staying healthy and having a healthy mental disposition. So start there.
You may be under eating or just eating rubbish food and very infrequently. Get cooking and start choosing healthier options and you’ll most likely see an improvement.
Is this just an excuse? Or are you working too much? Burning the candle at both ends? Partying too much? Research has proven time and time again that some physical activity (try walking to start off) will help to boost your energy levels.
Are you relying on caffeine and sugar to rollercoaster your way through the peaks and troughs of stress town? If so, start focusing on drinking water before your coffee(s) and limit your coffee to a realistic level. (you know how much is too much). And substitute those sugary snacks for a piece of fruit or a few nuts, hummus and dip, a protein bar or something else.
If you’ve honestly given all the above a go it might be time to check in with your GP to have a health assessment. Just to be sure.
YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO COOK HEALTHY FRESH FOOD
I honestly don’t believe that fresh healthy food is inaccessible to any of us on any budget who has a job or some government support. With a little bit of a keen eye, you can shop smart. With a bit of knowledge on how to cook. You’ll have more freedom to buy cheaper groceries and go home and make something nice.
Buying by the price tag and not by “what glitters and jumps out at you” is a better strategy. If you’re on a strict budget buy what’s in season. Buy the cheapest apples, pears. Grab lots of onions, a pumpkin and the cheapest potatoes. Go for the generic branded foods, but when they’ve marked it down. If you’re struggling you simply can’t throw your money at takeaway food. You are essentially paying for a chef when you’re not in the market for one. Be your own chef.
Shops and supermarkets will put all the things they want to sell you the most at eye level. Usually, because it has the biggest profit margin and they have a great deal going with that company. Look at the bottom level, discounted tins, packets, tubs etc. Quite often I find ingredients 20–40% cheaper this way.
The marketing of fast foods is very very clever! They will entice you to takeaway, go through the drive-through or get it delivered. Once you’ve tasted it, the addiction begins. The balance of fat and highly refined carbohydrates is perfectly balanced to make you not stop and feel hungry soon after. The temptation is everywhere. And it’s fast but not cheap. You can buy food for 2 people with a price of 1 large Big Mac meal. Watch out for my video challenge.
Cooking for yourself and eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t get take away ever. It’s about eating 5–6 home-cooked dinners and 4–5 good quality wholesome lunches at the bare minimum weekly. Simply put. Buying food that someone else has cooked and prepared for you will cost more. Some more than others.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS
This interesting study states.
“The likelihood of consuming fruits and vegetables among youth and adults is strongly related to knowing how to prepare most fruits and vegetables. Increased cooking skills among children can positively influence their consumption of fruit and vegetables in a manner that will persist into adulthood,” Dr Folkvord added.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releas…/2020/…/200103141049.htm, January 3, 2020.
So leaving the kids out is doing a disservice to them, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If they are afraid of food, have zero confidence in the kitchen they will be far less likely to choose healthier options or better still cook for themselves.
ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO COOK AND SHARE THE LOVE
“…The emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a crucial factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.”
https://www.thelancet.com/…/PIIS2215-0366(14)00051…/fulltext, January 25, 2015.
While there are a number of studies showing the benefits of cooking on mental health and stress.
As the author of an article on Psychology Today so beautifully admits, “Cooking is meditation with the promise of a good meal afterwards.”
It’s impossible not to agree even without seeing any science to prove it, that the nutritional aspect is of utmost importance and essential to human health. But so is the act of cooking.
A form of meditation, creativity. Joining forces, teaming up and creating together and then enjoying the fruits of your labour. Think about our BBQ culture.
As Laura Barry states, “Cooking and baking meet the criteria of a type of therapy known as ‘behavioural activation’, which are activities that alleviate depression by increasing goal-oriented behaviour and reducing procrastination. This is why psychologists now believe cooking can be classed as therapeutic.”
https://www.bhg.com.au/cooking-can-make-you-happier-study, (2019, April 16).
So what are you waiting for?
Grab something, wash it, dice it, chop and slice, heat it, roast it and sit down and enjoy.
May your future be fit!
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