7 Wonderful Things That Happen When You Cook More At Home
We’re all locked in a vicious cycle. It’s a cycle that’s costing us a small fortune, expanding our waistlines, reducing the quality of your time spent with your family and making you miserable. It’s robbed you not only of funds but of energy, and left you lurching from one quick fix to another at the expense of your health, your family’s health and your household finances. It goes a little something like this…
Your lifestyle is ruining your life
You work hard. You’re a devoted and dedicated parent and you take your responsibilities to your kids very carefully. But you’re also a consummate professional, scrambling up the corporate ladder one rung at a time. Despite what anyone says, you can have both… But it’s not an easy path to walk. As you juggle your career and your duties as a parent, your busy lifestyle can push you into one bad food choice after another. You likely start the day off with a hearty breakfast which probably consists of such staples as bacon (a type 1 carcinogen), cereal (full of complex carbohydrates which are good but if they’re high in sugar- as most are- they’ll send you crashing down later) and toast (see cereal). While these may start you off feeling satiated, you’ll probably start crashing around 11am. With little time to spare before your lunch break you might well head on over to the vending machine for a quick fix of sugar, salt, fat or all of the above. Then by the time your lunch break rolls around you’ll be crashing again and the limp sandwich you prepared for yourself just won’t cut it any more and you’re off to the local fast food outlet for a “meal deal” (by the way a hamburger, a portion of fries and a soda are neither a meal nor a deal). And if you’re having a particularly stressful day? When everything seems a little too much and you’re stressed and agitated and you can feel a tension headache coming on? Well, then that vending machine becomes even more alluring.
By the time you’re ready to pick the kids up from school you’ve consumed a fair amount of calorie dense but nutrient poor convenience foods and by the time you head home you’re crashing pretty hard. Moreover the kids are getting cranky, your partner’s running late home and the prospect of cooking seems about as appealing as wrestling a Bengal tiger. So, you keep the kids quiet with the promise of pizza on arrival and enjoy a plateful of steamy, cheese-dripping guilt when you get home.
It’s time to take back control
Stress eating, comfort eating and the ubiquity of convenience foods make it hard for even the best intentioned of us to make healthy lifestyle choices. If only there were some way you could break this cycle and start making healthier (but more satisfying) food choices. Well, you’ve probably already guessed that there is. You don’t have to join a club, you don’t have to invest anything, you don’t have to pay a subscription. Heck, you’ll probably find that you save yourself a small fortune. You don’t have to change your life or your lifestyle…
You just have to cook more.
But I just don’t have time to cook
When you have a stressful and busy lifestyle, this is likely your go-to excuse. We often have no idea how good we are at managing our time because we tell ourselves that we can. The truth, however, is that you do have time to cook. You just need to make the time (here are some ways in which you can do this). While it may take a while to find your rhythm and at first you will resent the imposition on your “me time” the act of cooking is surprisingly therapeutic. While finding the time is rarely easy in a busy household, there are some wonderful things that happen when you do…
It’s soooo much easier to get your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day
Many of us struggle to get the requisite intake of low calorie, nutrient dense veggies and fruits that we need to stay healthy. This is because the convenient foods that are so cheap and readily available to us have been specifically designed to give us as little nutrition as possible for our money and contain almost no whole foods and lots of harmful vegetable derivatives like (so unhealthy that it’s potentially lethal) high fructose corn syrup. Cooking for ourselves makes it much easier to take our nutrition into our own hands and pack as much nutritious goodness as we can into every meal. Not only does this make us healthier, it actually keeps us more satiated throughout the day while also keeping us at our most productive and creatively fecund at work (more on that shortly). As your colleagues look longingly at your rice stuffed acorn squash, they’ll be begging you to share your recipes and that vending machine will languish in the break room forgotten by your healthier, happier colleagues.
You become much more environmentally friendly
A life of reliance on fast food and pre packaged convenience foods is anathema for the environment. Not only will you be slowly poisoning your body with saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and all manner of artificial additives, you’ll also be toxifying the oceans with all that non-recyclable plastic waste that comes with pre-packaged foods or take out.
A home cooked diet that’s rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, on the other hand is not only healthier for you but far less wasteful. Indeed, if you buy your produce, meat and dairy products from local farmers markets your family could eat like royalty without producing any landfill waste whatsoever.
It’s important, however, to remember that more home cooking will put more pressure on your home’s plumbing infrastructure and could even have a negative effect on the local environment. Flushing those tiny bits of food down the sink when they should be going into the compost or waste disposal can cause a blockage, and pouring hot fats down the sink after cooking is just asking for trouble. These can cool and harden when they come into contact with water. According to experts in plumbing like Maplewood Plumbing and Sewer LLC this is one of the most common causes of drain blockage. If you box clever with your food waste and put your hot cooking fat somewhere safe to cool and harden before disposing of it alongside the rest of your waste, you’ll be able to better mitigate the effects of your diet on the environment.
You start to lose weight and feel great
Cooking yourself gives you complete control over your nutrition. You’re no longer picking the healthiest looking pre-packaged salad or wrap in the supermarket and hoping for the best, you’re planning and prepping meals tailored to your own nutritional needs and those of your family.
Thus, you can plan your meals while using an app like My Fitness Pal to ensure that your meal planning meets the micro and macro nutrient quotients to help you achieve your goals at the gym or in team sports. The upshot of all this is that you lose weight and feel great. But the benefits of better meal planning don’t stop at weight loss. You’ll also enjoy healthier looking skin, hair and nails as well as increased cognitive function, which brings us to...
You’re able to cook and meal prep your way to success at work
Cooking more gives you complete control of your nutrition, and thus allows you to prepare meals that not only taste exquisite but enable you to do better at work. Your brain is like any other organ in your body. It needs to be well nourished to function optimally. Fortunately, vowing to cook more at home is a great first step in accomplishing this.
Not only is the process of cooking and planning meals an aid to your cognition, it allows you to plan meals with the nutritional qualities that keep you at your best throughout the working day.
You wonder where all that money came from
It’s a widely held complaint that it’s expensive to eat healthily in this day and age, while reliance on low cost, high calorie convenience foods is much cheaper. But while widely held, this viewpoint is completely fallacious. Eating well can save you a fortune, especially when you eschew animal products for a plant based diet. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the assumed truth that healthy eating is expensive. As you rely less on take out, fast food and restaurants you’ll find that the savings just keep adding up.
You snack healthier at work
Your newfound culinary mastery will help you to break the addictive cycle perpetuated by snacking on unhealthy foods. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, a cookie jar or a bag of potato chips which will give you a quick blood sugar spike from which you’ll soon come crashing down, you’ll come to work prepared with satisfying and nutritious snacks to keep your blood sugar stable all day. Snacking on carob covered raisins, nuts, seeds and carrot or celery sticks will see you sail through your day with peak energy while your colleagues follow the cycle of spiking and crashing.
You see much more of your friends
As the ravaged of winter start to recede and we find ourselves coming out of our shells and wanting to live a little more socially, our newfound cooking prowess can reap huge social dividends. You’ll be throwing more and more dinner parties, cocktail parties and barbecues as you grow in culinary confidence that your home cooked soirees become the stuff of legend.