Ok, I bet you’re all cooking a little bit more than you’re used to — or if you are not the main person to cook at home, I bet you at least eat more home-cooked meals during this time of social distancing and isolation. This article is written during the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s one of those challenging, once in a lifetime situations.
I want to share five reasons why you should take action in this area of your life as it can transform your physical and mental health. It may seem obvious but let’s begin by getting clear on what home cooking is.
What is Home Cooking?
Home cooking is the act of preparing food for yourself and all your loved ones in the comfort of your own home. It can be as simple as slicing an apple and serving it with some peanut butter or complex as preparing a five-course meal. (one day you will!) At first, seeing the concept of home cooking as something therapeutic may be confusing but it’s important to realize that it’s not only about the physical food that you’re preparing — it’s about the act of creating real nourishment.
The next time you’re attempting to prepare a nourishing meal, appreciate yourself for trying your best and see how you can improve the recipe next time. Practice makes perfect, right?! Below you can find five reasons why cooking your meals is way healthier.
1. Vitamin L
The time, effort, preparation and hopefully love that go into cooking meals are truly an act of self-care, love and nourishment. Most people understand cooking as a form of physical nourishment and seeing food as fuel, but they sometimes don’t realize it’s an important source of emotional nourishment too. I often teach about the healing power of adding vitamin L or love to food. It’s an ingredient that’s often missing in restaurants, cafes, take-outs and prepacked meals.
This is one of the major reasons that home-cooked food is so different from the food that you eat at restaurants. Many times at restaurants everything seems fine and amazing during date nights or girls’ night out. But the truth is that a lot of chefs in the kitchen are often stressed and sometimes even underpaid making them care very little about putting love into the food that they’re making, even if cooking is their passion.
2. Less Calories
When you cook your own meals, you know exactly how much olive oil or (coconut!) sugar you put into it. A lot of restaurants use a ton of low-quality saturated oils, cream, butter and table sugar to make your food taste good. No wonder it’s so highly addictive!
Ok, I want to ask you this, have you ever had a meal that tastes and looks like it’s soaked in oil and fat overnight? I certainly have. When you cook at home, this will never, ever happen. Try making a simple stir fry, using cold press coconut oil or olive oil. Choose your favorite vegetables, add a little bit of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Some spices and fresh herbs to spice things up and there you have a simple home-cooked meal without all the nasties.
3. Money Saving
Try buying your groceries in bulk, especially pantry staples such as beans, lentils, whole grains, oats, nuts and seeds. Try your local bulk store and compare prices with different healthy food stores. I buy cashews and almonds in 1 kg packs for example — I use them to make nut milk (store-bought nut milk 1. contain artificial fillers 2. are sugar-loaded 3. expensive), trail mixes and granola.
For fresh produce, choose to focus on local and seasonal vegetables and fruits. This way you’re also supporting your local farmers! When something is on sale, take advantage of that and buy more. By cooking your own meals you can do meal prepping and refrigerate or freeze leftovers so you always have healthy, easy and ready-to-go meals on hand!
My friends, especially if you’re feeding a family with kids, I’m telling you, do the math and thank me later.
4. Portion Control
Most restaurants serve way too much food or you order way too much. Either way, you easily eat bigger portions when you eat at a restaurant. There are different reasons for that — it could be that eating out is a treat after a hard day of work, so you’re indulging. Or you’re not eating mindfully, meaning you’re not fully present because of the environment, distraction, chatter with friends and therefore not tuned in with your fullness cue. If eating out is something you do frequently, this, in turn, can be an influence of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
On the other hand, eating at home allows you to be completely in control of your plate. You can practice mindful eating, by taking time to prepare your food, say a little prayer before eating, take a deep breath to calm yourself before taking a bite. You can put your fork down in between bites and chew thoroughly. This is all part of mindful and intuitive eating, something I teach in the Mompreneurs Health Club online program too.
5. Family Time
Cooking with your loved ones and especially your little ones can teach them a lot more than just food and can contribute to the wellbeing of the whole family. I’m sure your kids will love the quality bonding time spend together with you, this is what I call making precious memories. Besides, kids are more likely to experiment and try different foods when they are involved. It will be a fun activity for everyone (hopefully!)
It’s true that home-cooked meals take time, but it doesn’t always have to be long, expensive or complicated. It’s easy to cook rice with some stir fry veggies and high-quality protein, a stack of pancakes, or vegetable soup that will only take you thirty minutes.
Ask yourself the following questions?
- What does home cooking mean to you?
- Is home cooking something you currently invest your time in?
- Is home cooking something that you look forward to or does it feel more like a chore?
- Do you feel different after eating a home-cooked meal and after eating in a restaurant?
- On a scale of 1 – 10 what is your level of satisfaction with this area in your life.
At the end of the day, it’s about progress not perfection. So be open to experimentation and take it one day at a time. By bringing loving attention to home cooking as an active self-care activity, I promise you’ll enjoy great health and happiness for years to come. Food is love and I want to inspire you to get comfortable in your kitchen to start feeding your soul today.
As always, I have nothing but love for you and this beautiful community. Thank you for following along…