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September 26, 2021
Self-care has become a very important topic of conversation. Our lives are hectic and busy, people are stressed out and burnt out, and mental health issues are on the rise in the form of anxiety and depression. A quick search online will give one endless lists with tips, ideas, and suggestions about how to manage stress and practice self-care. Everything from taking a spa day, to getting outside, to meditation, etc. are some of the most popular recommendations. Although these can all be great ideas, we also think a very important case needs to be made about why cooking is self-care.
And while granted cooking is better than not cooking at all, we don't exactly refer to self-care cooking as making a box of pasta with pre-made sauce and then calling it a day. (However, there are also sometimes those days.) Rather, we mean using whole ingredients and whole foods as a way to learn how best to prepare a meal that is nourishing physically and mentally. A home-cooked meal gives one peace of mind from an activity that benefits the physical and psychological health.
The food we eat literally creates the cells in our body and serves as our only source of fuel. Why on earth would that not also affect one's energy? So if you are busy, stressed out and tired, why would you not prioritize the simplest tool you have in your toolkit?
We are not suggesting one needs to be a genius in the kitchen or start trying to create elaborate meals from the recipe books of famous chefs. But, just by starting with one meal a day using whole foods, such as a colorful salad of one's favorite ingredients or a warming plate of roasted root vegetables, begins the formation of a small routine for achieving daily sustenance. There are many ways to start cooking as a means of self-care and it does not have to be excessively time-consuming or elaborately expensive. Give yourself a whole ingredient minimum for the meal preparation (recommendations are usually around a minimum of five fruits and vegetables per day). Using 2-5 vegetables goes easily in a salad or most warm-cooked meals such as a soup, stew, or stir-fry. But whether vegan, vegetarian, meat-eater or anything else in-between, the choices we make about where our food comes from and how that affects the preparation of it, are issues of self-care (as well as care for the environment). Cooking with whole and fresh ingredients nourishes the body and the mind energetically much better than opening a bag of any processed food item.
Additionally, chopping, peeling, feeling, and smelling the fruits, vegetables and other ingredients we cook with can be a sensory, meditative and soothing process. Plus, it helps us better connect with the ingredients as well as with the time and effort it takes to prepare them. This helps us better understand the connection between what we put in our body nutritionally as fuel for energy and what fuel and energy it actually took to prepare such a food that lands on the table.
We don't know about you, but whenever we cook an enjoyable meal or whip-up some homemade granola for ourselves or to share with others, it is a pleasurable experience. The more effort put into creating the best possible medicine for the body is absolutely satisfying the first and even last bites. Whenever it is homemade or home-cooked and others praise you for the meal, it is uplifting for the general mood. After all, so many adages claim the same: 'You are what you eat' or 'the way to a man's--er, person's--heart is through their stomach.' In fact, ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (aka the 'Father of Medicine') is attributed with the saying, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food;" which is pretty much saying real food trumps junk food and the preparation of such is like creating medicine for the body. Thus, PoM recommends cooking a beautiful meal for yourself (with or without guests) as this Sunday's Self-Care tip.
If you enjoyed this topic, please let us know in the comments so we can contribute more to it!
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