No Time To Cook Your Meals? Consider The Effects On Your Health
Rationalization and excuses are easy to make. I know, for myself I should be exercising more, but, I have at least a dozen of excuses not to. It’s really easy to get caught in some kind of cycle, where constant justification and excuses becomes a person’s reality. Some of our excuses may be caused by factors such as lack of time, skills or money. But what if our constant apologies become unhealthy? Do we stop to consider the potential lasting effects that our choices may have on our physical well-being? When it comes to food and health, the two are directly correlated to each other. There can be major consequences in making excuses with our eating habits. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect in my decisions. I may like cooking, but not to the point where I think it’s fun to do it every day. But when ever I get the thoughts that I have no time to cook my own meals, I have to stop and consider the effects on my health, if I choose the alternative. Studies show that there are varies reasons why less and less people are cooking at home, but the top three reasons are, no time, no interest and not enough skills.
Recently, one of my daughter-in-laws mentioned about an online “discussion” she had on a blog regarding grocery budgeting. She explained that her comment was, “…by cooking at home from scratch she could stick to their tight food budget”. A person, who also had read the same article, made this following comment to her “…good job mom, not a lot of people take time to cook…”. Immediately I thought of how often I have heard the excuse, that people don’t have time to cook their meals. I know of parents, who work full time and have places to be, but still take the time to cook. I also know of people who would have the time to cook, if it were a priority to them. I’m not here to judge or criticize anyone. That is definitely not my place to do so. But I have to often seen where rationalization in particularly of food choices, have led to physical challenges. Sometimes the effects don’t get immediately manifested, as my doctor once said, “eating habits usually catches up with everyone, eventually”. No restaurant or prepackaged meal company is going to care about your health, the way you would. And in reality cooking at home takes lot less time than driving to a restaurant for pick up. Most of the time, I can have a meal on the table in 30 minutes. Probably nothing fancy, but it’s much better alternative for my health than drive thru.
Don’t Like To Cook
According to a study recently done by Harvard Business, only 1 out 10 said they loved cooking. Unfortunately this research also shows the decline in everyday cooking in our homes. Sometimes not liking to do something can translate to “not having the time”. I know I used to use that excuse when it comes to exercise, until I heard of family members getting up at 4 am to hit the gym. Well, guess what? my body does not function that way! Now, I tell people all the time, I do not enjoy exercise but I love walking in gardens and parks, and that’s what I do! Because I know the value of being physically active, I have figured out a way to get moving. There is no right or wrong, if the end result is the same. I’m sure that even if only 10% of people love cooking, I dare to say, at least 90% love eating. Which should be a good motivator for us all to seek solutions, to simplify home cooked meals. The study points out, that as technology is progressing, the grocery industry has and is changing gradually, but for some not fast enough.
“Honestly, Don’t Know How To Cook!”
Anyone who feels this way, I hear you! I know what it’s like to not know how to cook. Several studies show that most people, especially the younger generation feel very lacking when it comes to cooking. And this is a great contributing factor in why people don’t cook at home. But allow me to compare cooking to learning how to swim. First it’s all scary, and you might have to use a life jacket (YouTube 😉 ). Then you learn the basics of swimming (avoid drowning steps). From thereon you start building up your skills. When it comes to swimming, I kind of stayed in the basic level between avoiding drowning while having some fun with the kids. And that may be the case for some, just gaining basic cooking skills. In reality, most of us aren’t professional chefs, but neither is the guy who is cooking in your average restaurant. They are cooks that follow instructions, so they can make a living. I know this, because years ago I worked in the restaurant industry. Thanks to modern technology, today everyone can learn how to cook right in their own kitchens (wish Google was around in the 80’s).
How Our Food Choices Effects Our Health
My concern is, will our bodies be able to adapt to all the modern innovations on the grocery aisles? Or are good old fashion home cooked meals still the best option for our health? We know that food can act as medicine for our bodies. On the other hand it can act as a tool to destroy cells and give our bodies the wrong fuel. My husband has taught me what happens when you fill the car or an equipment with wrong fuel – NOT GOOD! Filling our bodies with the wrong fuel can lead to varies diseases and conditions. So basically, the food we eat, results in how our bodies operate on daily basis. If then, the key to happy and a long life is health, why wouldn’t we prioritize in maintaining that gift? There has been study after study done about the benefits of home cooked meals. Some of the benefits are, we consume less calories, have greater control of what we are eating and it’s better for our environment (less waste). Having a greater control over what we eat can be crucial if you have any food sensitivities, allergies or any other restrictions.
Here is my confession in consuming more calories while eating out. I remember being 16 years old and making my first trip over to America from Sweden. I couldn’t believe all the “All-you-can-eat” places. Was it for real!? Pay $5 (in the 80’s) and eat until you drop. Hate to admit, but being a teenager and all, I took on the challenge. Worst part of it all, is that I didn’t learn my lesson well. It took years before I discovered all the negative consequences such as overeating (especially low quality foods) can have on our bodies. As much as I love this country, and I really do! regrettably the food culture of cheap, fast foods in restaurants as well as the grocery aisles are killing people every day. That said, I need to add, that this epidemic of overeating junk foods, have in the recent decades, become just as wide spread in the rest of the world. Leaving most of us vulnerable to the idea that eating out is the “cool thing” to do. Of course eating out on special occasions is totally “cool”! but when eating “take-out” becomes the norm, that’s when we start seeing the real cost on the body.
Cooking from scratch may take some skills and time, but it does not cost more money. On the contrary, if you want to save a dollar or two, start cooking at home. This is only true though, if you make your own chicken nuggets and your own spaghetti sauce. In other words, prepackaged foods are both expensive and unhealthy for us. If time is money, and you don’t have the time to “slave away” in your kitchen, then consider this thought. If you don’t stop long enough to cook a healthy meal for you, you might one day spend all your time and money in gaining back your health. And if you are still young and strong (Captain America lives with Wonder Woman) then remember, bad health does not ask for age or financial status. According to a study done in 2016, partially due to lifestyle choices, multiple health conditions are on the rise around the world, along with health care cost. One may wonder of the long-term financial implications this will have in our individual communities and as a society in whole.
Cooking At Home – A Lifestyle
Cooking at home has other benefits in addition to better and healthier food. It also provides an opportunity for children as well as adolescents to interact with adults. I hear parents complain that their kids won’t eat their cooking, “they (the kids) want convenient food”. That’s right! at times, I was that kid who complained about my mom’s cooking. Allow your children in your kitchen. Let them experience fresh produce. Have them help and experiment with you. You might be surprised how cooking can evoke feelings of mindfulness with your loved ones. Let children be creative in the kitchen, along your side. There might be a trend of younger people wanting to cook less and less at home, but perhaps for some, they were never given the opportunity. This includes even involving your spouse. I am fully aware that convenience has become the most important factor in our modern way of living. As families and individuals, we are the only ones that can slow down our lives enough to enjoy a bite of home cooked meal, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I think about that often, how it takes me/us sometimes 45 min-1 hour to cook, and literally 10 minutes to eat. And you know what? that’s totally okay!
So why do I care about all this? Because I believe that food should be fresh and natural. Modern conveniences have brought many awesome things, such as refrigerators and freezers. Also in the past 60 years, freeze-drying has become a positive advantage in making food preparation easier and more accessible. But to try to replace the basic human needs, such as home cooked meal, with the modern innovations may end up having some major negative impact on our health. We are all individually responsible for our health and well-being. No one needs to work harder than the other. There are tons of easy, quick and healthy recipes out there. Figure out what works for you and your family and stick to it. Honestly, it’s really hard for me to think about what to cook every day, and to do it. I know there are all kinds of smart ways to keep track and give suggestions. Cooking at home does not have to be complicated or fancy. Easy is good and simple can be tasty. Make time for home cooked no matter how inconvenient it might be, in the end your health will thank you for it. And there is no greater motivator than that.