In this day and age, there are as many diets as there are food groups. It can be very confusing when so many “experts” have so many ideas on how to manage weight or how to increase sport performance. Being a full-time athlete, I have studied most of them. I will stay out of the fray by withholding my opinion on specific trends and diets, but I have another viewpoint I’d like to share about food and eating.
Food is Never the Villain
Food should never be a villain. It provides nutrients, hydration and satisfies our hunger, which make us happy. Yes, some foods are not the best for your body. Common sense goes a long in cluing you in to which foods fall in each category. Instead of focusing on what we eat, let’s start a bit earlier than actually eating the food. Preparing our food can be extremely satisfying. The chopping, dicing, slicing, seasoning, and finally cooking establishes a connection to our nutrition source and it can be quite self-satisfying.
We all know that eating is important, but preparing meals can also be therapeutic. I first came upon this idea in an article in the Wall Street Journal. The Headline read “A Road To Mental Health Through The Kitchen” published February 12, 2020 by Jeanne Whalen. This spiked my interest to delve more into this subject. I found another article written by Caroline Burke for the website Elite Daily. In this article, she points out some of the psychological benefits from cooking your meals.
Preparing and cooking a meal can speak to your creative side. Adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that adds your own personal touch to the meal. It’s a great way to express yourself through the cooking process. Woo-la an extraordinary dish that meets your taste and your imagination.
Taking control of what you cook and how you cook is empowering. If you think about it how often in the day do you control your environment, the time you want to spend and the product you want to produce can be very satisfying indeed.
Cooking can be defined as self-care. It improves the quality of your life. It is a fact that when you prepare your own meals you are more likely to eat more nutritious foods and take more interest in how to create your own meals.
Preparing meals in the kitchen can get you into a flow. It eases tension and increases focus on the task at hand. Time can pass very quickly when you are self-absorbed and sometimes that is a great state to be in.
I know from first hand that I get great satisfaction in preparing meals or desserts for dinner guests. When people compliment you on a meal you prepared it is certainly gratifying. How often do you get compliments at work or from doing household chores? Probably not a lot. When people applaud your effort it certainly is rewarding
As you become more connected to preparing your food you also start to wonder where your food came from. How did it get to your table? Is it organic? Should you start shopping locally? What food groups make nutritional combinations? Learning the nutritional properties of the food and why they are or not good for you.
When cooking for your family everyone seems to end up in the kitchen. They may be helping or just hanging at the dinner table and the conversation seems to flow. As a parent, I learned so much more from the dinner hour that any other part of the day. Though my kids are now grown adults, we still cherish the meals we share together and I am still to this day learning new things about there lives.
Food is a powerful force in our lives and the consumption of it should be ritualized and sprinkled with creativity and passion. In this day and age the science of diets and calories, which is important, but also take a moment in this fast-paced life we lead and create a meal that speaks to your own creativity and joy.
Create a Healthy Lifestyle
In many of my blogs, I stress that health is not all about the exercise, but also the sleep, hydration, and nutrition. They have equal value in the process of creating a healthy lifestyle. This became more evident to me as I started my training for the Ironman Lake Placid race in July. The distances and the time to train for these events are daunting and can be all-consuming, yet I also encountered the challenge of taking in the proper healthy amount of calories to sustain this training load.
Figuring out a meal plan can be a little daunting at first, just like anything new can be, but what came to light was how much I was enjoying the process of buying, creating and cooking my meals. There was a sense of accomplishment as I delved into finding healthy new recipes that included ingredients I have not consumed before. I hope you take a similar food journey and discover what it is that you love about preparing your own foods!