If you want to get healthy, make cooking your(next) hobby!
I’m going to get mildly provocative for a moment and just put it out there that I believe you need to cook if you want to get really healthy. And, the corollary of that is, of course, that this will involve spending time in your kitchen. Unless you have as much money as Oprah, and have your own personal chef.
I have discussed this belief of mine on more than one occasion with The Paleo PI, most recently at our last Autoimmune Protocol Picnic. I quite like talking with PI. He’s male, and I’m not. He lives in a different city to me. And, there’s almost 20 years between us. He almost always gives me a different perspective. And he happens to be a great guy…
PI reckons he’s not much of a cook. I think he’s a little on the modest side. He’s successfully cooked for me, after all.
And – like anything – cooking takes practise. The more you do it, the better you get. And, given I happen to have a few years on PI, I’ve had a little more time to practise!
I didn’t start really cooking until I turned 30. Until then, I just ate!
I’ve mentioned before that my Mum is a great cook. We ate very well as a family growing up. My Mum’s chicken liver pâté remains a firm favourite for all of us. My annual birthday meal request was always filet of beef with Mum’s béarnaise sauce, usually served with duck-fat roast potatoes and green beans. And, I am still mourning the fact that I will never experience one of her 100% homemade Christmas mince tarts again (made with the shortest of gluten-filled pastry). They are so, so, SO good!*
But me, I didn’t really start to cook until I turned about 30. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to eat. Still do! But, cooking wasn’t really my thing during my traveling 20’s. I was too busy to do much more than reheat.
And, reheating is not cooking.
Now, I can’t help but wonder if I had cooked more and eaten out less; if I had taken more notice of what I was choosing to put into my mouth; if I had been more mindful about my food choices, would I still have had the same autoimmune issues…?
I suspect the answer is: probably. It’s never that simple. But, it has definitely contributed.
I happen to quite like the actual craft of cooking. I definitely love eating good food. But, for me the real enjoyment is about the whole process – selecting the freshest seasonal and local produce at the markets, talking with the farmers (and sometimes the butchers) to understand where my meat comes from, learning about the nutrient density of the food I am ingesting, and the knowledge that the food I am preparing for those I love is doing them good.
And, occasionally, I like satisfying LM’s sweet tooth with a healthier version of traditional deserts and ice creams. And, in his case, this always means dairy free.
But, you don’t have to love cooking to make it your hobby.
You just need to want to make healthy choices. And, you can’t make healthy choices if you are always dining out or eating out of packets.
I dragged LM off to see That Sugar Film earlier in the week (I recommend the film!). Did you know that there is sugar added to approximately 80% of all products sold in an Australian supermarket? And that’s before we even start talking added preservatives, GMO foods, trans fats and other nasties.
Do yourself a favour and spend some (more) time in your kitchen this week.
Commit to it. If you’re not a cook, start slow. Start easy. Make some bone broth. Make a frittata. Make a Jamie Oliver Inspired Four Hour Lamb (If you leave off making the gravy, it only has 3 ingredients!)
Do you cook? Have you made cooking your hobby? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic!
*Maybe I’ll start working on a gluten-free version…?