I like to cook. That’s easy for me to say now, since I cook 95% of the meals I eat. Two years ago, I made a deal with my husband that I will start cooking our meals. I’m happy to say that i’m proudly living up to that promise, and I have significantly expanded recipe list beyond the three meals I knew how to cook. It’s been an awakening, a delight, therapeutic, enlightening, gratifying and above, all satisfying. I’m sure there are more adjectives I can come up with to describe my foray into cooking, but i’ll stop there. You get the picture.
Food, juices, smoothies and the like have been on my cooking list. I experiment. I toss in. I whip up. I simply cook whatever, and it’s been awesome. I make my meals fun. I duplicate foods my girlfriends make. I take a recipe and add a twist of my own. I come up with new ones, all on my own. And no, I don’t want the be the next best chef, I’m simply thrilled that i’ve discovered the art of healthy eating and joy of cooking, and that it’s right in my kitchen.
So on Instagram and Facebook, I’m not posting food and passing it off as my own. I’m actually posting food that I make. Of course, sometimes, I post food that I buy, is very rare, but I’m so proud of my foods too. They look and taste good. Yes, they’re social media worthy. And even they weren’t, I’d still be proud of them.
It’s easy. Really. Just start cooking. Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Focus on what you know how to do and build around that. Don’t set your sights on top chef’s specialty. Start with the simple things and work your way up. Rice, beans, baked fish, steam veggies, raw salads. They are all simple meals to prepare. Jazz them up with tid bits you like and Viola! On to the next.
For me it became really exciting and rewarding when my family appreciated the meals, when their faces lit up and the asked for seconds. Nothing beats watching those satiated faces complimenting you on your effort. I remember baking a red snapper fish last summer, and my daughter and her friend guzzled down three quarts of it. I had to take the last quart off the table and save it for my husband. That kind of action makes you want to cook forever.
♦ The benefits of cooking your own meals are endless. One of the most important for my house was the excess weight that my husband and I lost. The extra pounds simply left us. No effort. Gone. I’m still working on my 11 year old. She’s getting there, slowly. We weren’t over weight, but there were some pockets of fat that weren’t too desirable, especially on my husband. He’s now down two pants sizes, from a 38 to a 34. I’m down from a size 6 to a size 4. I’d prefer to be a size six, so now i’m packing on the protein to build muscle, so I can get back to that size.
♦ You choose the ingredients that appeal to you. And if you eat knowledgeably and organically, it will alleviate the worry of what’s being used to prepare you meals. That makes the process of eating even more reassuring, and you’ll find that you’re more at peace while preparing and while partaking in the meals.
♦ Be patient with the process and cook for the right reasons. Don’t cook to lose weight. Cook to be healthy. Part of being healthy is losing weight. But, don’t be paranoid about losing weight, and get on the scale every week to see how much weight you’ve lost. Enjoy the process of preparing your meals, shopping for foods, figuring out courses and preparing them. Everything else will fall into place. I promise.
I know all this sounds so corny and clique. I come from a family filled with good cooks, though they don’t always cook the healthiest of meals. I didn’t cook much because I wasn’t afforded the opportunity to do so. My mom and dad would wake up 5am and cook all the meals. Of course, my siblings and I were fast asleep, or pretended to be, and when we did roll out of bed, say 9 am or later, meals were all done. All there was left to do was eat. As I got older, the excuse of being a busy professional took over. But there’s no such thing as too busy. Make time. Plus, you’ll be doing you and your family a healthy favor.
Do you cook? Do you like to cook?
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.