The benefits of learning to cook

In western culture there is a growing disconnect with where our food comes from and what is healthy. Classes like agriculture use to be part of the core curriculum but no longer. Beginning in the post WWII era, the push for convenience over proper nourishment has been evident in the day to day lives of the common household. Ready to bake or microwave meals and fast food has gained such a momentum that people don’t see the direct correlation with the rise of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and many other debilitating aliments.

In a society where everyone wants immediate gratification, no one is taking a step back to look at the big picture. Some people say that either they can’t cook or don’t have the time. It is all about prioritizing what is most important to you. A number of things may come to mind but at the end of the day, nothing matters if you are not alive to enjoy it. The big picture is that food is the fuel that nourishes us and that it is worth it to make an investment in your health before anything else. Getting away from processed foods and making your own meals can be a huge preventative measure to help you live a healthy existence.

Your body is absolutely the only thing you own in this world, treat it right.IMG_8995

Cooking has been the great joy of my life and although not everyone is destined to be a chef, I’m going to provide you with some of the benefits and tips that come with learning to cook for yourself.

  • Saving money

People think fast food is the cheapest way to eat but I’m here to tell you that is completely false. With careful planning and some creativity, you can save tons of money by cooking at home. Vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery are extremely cheap and are the base for numerous dishes. Searching for sales on protein and freezing for later use also helps cut down cost. Another consideration is that you don’t have to have meat with every meal. You can be creative and come up with tons of salads and save big.IMG_6019

  • Start simple, soup is a good place to begin your journey

As I mentioned before, carrots, onions and celery are cheap and what we call in professional kitchens a mirepoix. A mirepoix is essential the base for countless soups and a good, cheap way to start familiarizing yourself with flavors. I can spend 5 dollars and make enough soup to feed me for 3 days. Fight the trap of convenience and take the time to cook.

I understand that everyone who works full time likes the ability to just order something to eat immediately but with planning, cooking doesn’t have to take forever. Crockpots are a great way to leave items to cook while you are working or running errands. Prepping items ahead of time is another great tool for time management. If you have down time, chop some of your favorite veggies so they are ready to cook on a day that you are pressed for time. As you begin to cook more, you will automatically begin to get faster and learn ways to be more efficient.

 

  • The pride that comes with creating something of your own

The first time you create something delicious from scratch, it’s a beautiful thing. I can only equate the experience to painting a picture or composing music. Creating something all of your own is an amazing feeling and will help inspire you to cook more. IMG_1388

  • Something to share with your children and loved ones

Some people who have to juggle work and parenthood may feel they don’t have the time to do it all. My suggestion is to include your kids in the cooking process  beginning at a young age. Giving them simple tasks will not only help with your meal preparation but will also teach them the importance of nourishment at a young age.  Make a game of it, children will come to love it and not see it as a chore.

I implore anyone who reads this to try to break the cycle of fast foods and processed meals. Just because you have eaten a certain way most of your life is not a good reason for continuing to mistreat your body. This is a subject very close to my heart and it is my hope to help others discover the joy of cooking. In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing more tips on how to save time and money when it comes to preparing food. Cooking can seem intimidating and time consuming but it is well worth the effort. You have to eat the rest of your life, might as well eat well.

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