Making Cooking Fun Again

From Dr. Mark Hyman, Author of Eat Fat, Get Thin

Super busy lives mean many of us shy away from cooking. Juggling to-do lists, demanding jobs, children’s busy schedules, and perhaps less-than-stellar skills in the kitchen, cooking seems to slide way down on our list of priorities.

My lofty goal involves shifting people’s perception about working with food and creating a meal. We have raised a generation who don’t know how to cook and live instead on processed or fast foods. And quite frankly, it’s killing us.

If you’ve read any of my books or blogs, you understand the value of shifting away from sugary, processed foods to whole, real, fresh foods to reverse diabesity and manifest abundant health.

Once you make that transition to real, whole, fresh foods – and it’s a huge but crucially important shift – the next step involves preparing those foods.

Cooking gets a bad rap. I’ve heard all the excuses: It’s time-consuming, inconvenient, or difficult. Who has hours to chop ingredients, monitor cooking times, and do all the other herculean work that preparing a meal can seemingly demand?

Driving through a fast-food restaurant or stopping by your favorite grocery for a healthy, prepackaged meal may not be more economical, but it sure saves time. I can’t argue with that, but I do want you to stop and consider how you use your time.

Here’s the reality. Americans spend more time watching cooking shows on television than actually cooking. We are raising a generation of Americans who don’t know their way around the kitchen, where 50 percent of meals are eaten outside the home, and the ones that are eaten at home are usually reheated, factory-made science projects that resemble food but aren’t.

And as you now know, this convenience is killing us.

Contrary to what the food industry would have you believe, real food can be inexpensive and easy to prepare. Cooking ultimately becomes a revolutionary act, one that we can all participate in.

Whether you’re a kitchen newbie or a pro chef, I’ve found these seven strategies make a solid foundation to start a revolution – a fun one, at that – in your kitchen.

Change your mind about cooking. When you view cooking an act of love that you share with your family, you strengthen bonds, teach important life-extending skills to your children, and enrich and nourish your bodies and your souls.

Keep staples nearby. Foods like nuts and nut butters, non-dairy milks are all hidden gems in the middle aisles of the store.  Thrive Market makes a great place to buy these and other quality staples, delivered to your door, at 25 to 50 off retail prices.

Choose frozen. While fresh foods in the produce aisles are ideal, frozen berries, vegetables, and other foods make longer-lasting alternatives. You can stock up and have on hand in your kitchen for healthy, easy meals when you can’t get to the market or these items are out of season.

Reclaim your kitchen. Establish your kitchen as the ground-zero family meeting place and establish it exclusively for cooking and socializing.

Re-evaluate your time. Time is the biggest excuse why many of my patients don’t cook. Keep a journal for one week to monitor your time. You might be surprised at how you spend your time.

Make mistakes. If you’re new to cooking or your skills have gotten rusty, don’t aim for perfection with your first recipe—aim for experimenting and practicing. Start with one of my more basic recipes with few ingredients and work your way up to something more complex.

Get everyone involved. Enlist help from family members—drag your kids away from their video games and ask them to measure ingredients, pull food from the fridge, or even chop veggies if they’re ready to take on this task. Decide on meals together to get everyone excited about what’s in store.

By purchasing real foods and cooking them yourself, you’re going to transform yourself, but you’re also helping to transform the food industry one small choice at a time. The problems are global, but the solution is local – as local as your fork!

I encourage you to start your own family traditions around cooking and enjoying meals. I’m always looking for ways to help you do that and make cooking easier. Are you with me to start a food revolution?

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