When I think about what my turning point was a few years ago when I started following a healthy lifestyle, I can hands-down say that the best thing I ever did was get back into the kitchen. I truly believe that the best thing that you can do if you want to start being and feeling healthy long-term, is to start preparing your own meals at home.
Now before you throw your hands up and start complaining to me with excuses like you don’t have time or you don’t know how to cook, I want you to consider a few things, and then please read-on for my tips on how you can start eating more home-cooked meals without too much stress and anxiety. This is something I feel really strongly about, and my message to you today is emphatic because I really do believe this makes all the difference!
Not all food is the same
The thing is, when you regularly eat food that hasn’t been home-cooked, whether it be from a fast-food joint, your local take-away place or a 5-star restaurant, you are sabotaging your health efforts. Even if you are choosing something “healthy” off the menu, this food is not equal to that which you make yourself.
That might seem like a pretty huge call to make, but when you think about it, when you eat meals from other places, you don’t know what has actually gone into making that meal. I don’t just mean the ingredients, which of course is a major one. I also mean energetically- the kind of thought and care and love that was put into making that meal.
Let’s look at the food itself first. Do you know about the quality of the ingredients being used by the chef or cook? Are they organic, or just the cheapest quality foodstuffs that could be found? How has the food been prepared? What kind of oil was used- high grade or low quality? How much salt has been added- usually fast-food and takeway meals contain high quantities of sodium- and I am sure that they haven’t used good quality salt.
The energetics of your food are important
The energy that goes into making food is also important. When something is just slapped together by the teenage kid who works as a cook, there has been no love put into that meal. Trust me, I was once that teenage kid!
This kind of meal becomes only food to sustain yourself with, not to nourish your body. Even at a good restaurant, I can guarantee that in the majority of places, the energy of the environment where that food has been prepared has not been a nice one. I’ve worked in enough professional kitchens to know that they are hectic places where the main priority is getting the meals made as quickly as possible.
What it comes down to is that food is not just about nutrition; it is also about the experience it gives to you and the energy it creates in your body. When food is made with kindness and love then that kind and loving energy makes up some of the energetics within that food. Why do you think it is that nothing ever beats your mum’s home-cooked meals? Why is it so great when you have a meal prepared for you by a friend or loved one?
Basically, when you buy your own, organic, high-quality groceries, and prepare your own meals using those ingredients in a relaxing and loving environment, you know exactly what has gone into making that meal, and it will nourish you much better than any other kind of meal will.
Think I am talking a whole lotta woo-woo? Then I dare you to try.
Start increasing the number of home-cooked meals you have each week, I guarantee your health will improve exponentially, and your financial healthy will also improve along with it!
But I HATE cooking?
So what to do if you have no idea how to cook or just really hate cooking. I totally get this. Let me just say that whilst I am a raw food chef, I have NOT trained formally at a culinary school. I haven’t always been an amazing cook, it is something I have learned and taught myself. I’ve attended cooking classes all over the world, I’ve studied cook-books and read food blogs, but most importantly, I’ve just gotten into that kitchen and I have practiced.
Yes, I have burnt things and ruined dishes and there are some things I make that my husband and I will eat, but we both will agree it wasn’t my best creation. But the most important thing is that I have tried.
I also know what I am good at and what I’m not. I don’t consider myself a great baker- this is not in my zone of genius when it comes to culinary skills- but I can make a mean soup/stew and I can whip up a raw food dish in minutes. So this is what we eat a LOT of in my household. I stick to what I am good at, honing my skills and techniques along the way.
You don’t have to be perfect. Get the idea of being the next Nigella or famous cookbook author out of your head. Your meals Do NOT have to look or be gourmet. Stick to my principle of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart) and you will do great.
My recommendation is to stick to something simple for breakfast and lunch and to learn how to make 6-7 easy, quick and tasty dinners that you and your family loves. That is all you need for now to have enough variety in your week to have somthing different for dinner every night. You might even like to make it part of your routine- Tuesday night is spaghetti night, Friday night is home-made pizza night, Sunday is roast vegggies, for example.
An easy, nutritious meal can be as simple as chopping up a heap of veggies and chucking them into the wok with some coconut oil and soy sauce and stir frying them. So easy yet tasty and healthy! If you hate chopping, buy the pre-chopped vegetable packets from the supermarket if that is easier for you, and even go with frozen vegetables if you wish. I DO draw the line at pre-prepared frozen meals though, because that is NOT home-cooking!
But I don’t have time to cook
And for those of you who don’t have time, well, I have to say bollocks to that. I am a very busy woman too. I work in an office in the mornings, build this business in the afternoon and evenings, I try and keep up my hobbies and interests and maintain a social life.
Yet, I can manage to make 95% of my own meals (it would be 100% but I like to give myself Saturday nights off). I make my own breakfast, make my own lunch and prepare dinner for me and my husband every day.
Get into a routine
The way I manage it is by getting into a routine. I have the same thing for breakfast every day- a green smoothie which takes ten minutes max to make. I prepare a salad for lunch most days which also takes about 10 minutes to make. Dinner I allocate 30-60 minutes each night to preparing.
I plan out ahead of time what I wil make each night (this takes no more than 30 minutes to do over the weekend) so that is already organised. I make sure I do a grocery shop each week (not fun but just one of those things….) so that I have all the vegetebles and other ingredients I need on-hand.
I wash everything before putting it into the fridge so that the veg are ready to prepare right away- this saves heaps of time. You can watch my quick video on YouTube where I show you how to do this.
Create some systems
I double batch, which means I make double of a recipe (this takes no extra time) and then the extra becomes dinner for another day (put it into a container in the freezer), or even lunch for myself and/or my hubby for the next day. These things are easy and do-able ways of making food prep quicker. Can you honestly tell me you can’t spend 1.5 hours a day making healthy, tasty and nutritious food for you and your family?
I truly believe that everyone has the ability to be able to cook if they try and when they practice. It is just abut following the procedure. Find some recipes that don’t have crazy ingredients or look really complicated. Follow the recipe. Don’t try and substitute the ingredients or follow the method in a different way. Just make it exactly as it says and after you have successfully made that dish a few times, and are feeling more confident, then you may try and stray a little.
Build healthy habits
If you still think this sounds overwhelming, start small. Begin with making one dinner a week at home, then the next week increase that to make lunch every day as well as one dinner…then the next week do lunch every day plus two dinners….and so on, gradually getting into the groove of it. You might find my meal planners useful in giving you ideas for what to cook when. To encourage you, here is a free copy of one week’s worth of recipes and a meal planner.
I also recommend doing my Lighten Up Detox, as a way to get into the habit of making meals for yourself ever day, with the support of a group of other women to help you as you learn. Or come along to my Uncooking 101 class and see just how quick and easy it can be to make a heap of quick and easy (yet delicious) raw food meals. It will change the way you look at food prep forever!
I should say at this point that I’m also not saying you can never, ever eat out again. But when you DO eat-out it should be a treat, maybe once a week, not the NORM. If you are eating out for at least one meal a day, then maybe take a look at how you can decrease that. If you are eating out for 2 meals a day, you definitely need to review your patterns if you want long-term health.
I really think that unless you are willing to start from the home and your kitchen, that it is impossible to get healthy and be healthy long-term.
There is something so special about creating a meal yourself which you can then share and enjoy and be proud of making. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore- get your kids involved when they are old enough, and get your partner helping you too. It can be a really fun, team-building, soul-fulfilling activity and your body will love you for it!
- What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with me? Do you have any other tips for preparing your own meals at home?