Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Secret to Eating Healthier for Life

...Now that I have your attention...I am feeling inspired to share the one habit I feel everyone must acquire in order to be truly healthy: cooking at home.

Before you dismiss this statement in a flurry of memories of triple fudge cheesecakes and double cheese lasagnas of meals past, let me explain. At home, you have the ultimate control over what you eat. You choose exactly how much oil or butter or salt or sugar to add (or to leave out). You can pile your plate high with broccoli and tofu or raspberries and Greek yogurt. When you dine or grab take out, you have no idea how much oil or salt or MSG got loaded into the dish you are about to consume. Typically, the calorie counts will be two to three times what you expect. It often doesn't actually taste that good - that "delicious" sensation you are experiencing is solely a reaction to all the fat, sugar and salt you are eating. You also don't appreciate a meal as much.

I feel like so many of our maladies nowadays are caused by disconnection. Disconnection from loved ones, our physical bodies and especially food. When food is simply something to be ordered and consumed, we forget how nourishing it can truly be. We want food cheaper, faster and richer. Our waistlines are bulging, our energy is lagging and we feel miserable when we should be feeling amazing.

To cook at home, you don't have to be a fancy cook...or even to love cooking. If you can boil water, you can make a simple pasta with some olive oil, garlic and baby spinach. This might not taste like much...but give your taste buds time. Add a little crunchy sea salt to enliven the dish. The more you eat simple foods at home, the more the flavour of real, natural foods will come alive. Consider this an investment in yourself and your family's health. 

I thought I would share some of my favourite things to help inspire you to get connected with your food and get in the kitchen. Remember, it doesn't have to be fancy. Often, it is better if it isn't. Make a ritual of preparing good quality food simply and enjoying your nourishment. 

If you haven't discovered my recipe blog that I write with my friend Heather, check out one of our favourite snacks here. To make the idea of cooking a pastime and not a chore, it doesn't hurt to treat yourself to a few pretty (or functional) gadgets. And if you can read, you can cook...but this cookbook is especially helpful for those new to the kitchen. This cookbook is a great one to introduce you to beans...one of my favourite foods. And if you really want to make cooking an event, sign up with your spouse, roommates or girlfriends for a cooking class or if you want to get fancy, a lesson in patissierie francais. And of course, you can't talk about a cook at home revolution without talking about one of my food heroes.

Stroll out to a farmer's market this weekend, pop open a bottle of wine and have a leisurely afternoon with friends in the kitchen.

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