Matt Preston has one of the best jobs in the world, getting paid to eat delicious food!
Whether you fancy yourself as a Masterchef or just a Mastereater (that’s me), cooking at home has so many wonderful benefits.
It’s easier than you may think and some of the reasons may surprise you!
What started out, as a necessity for our family, has since become one of my greatest loves.
Before I knew it was a legit thing, I had been playing Ready, Steady, Cook in my kitchen for years. I had a few ingredients, didn’t want to go to the supermarket, limited time and a hungry family, so I would rustle up something delicious.
Even when I wasn’t into cooking, I was into cooking shows. TV shows like Jamie Oliver’s tv series, Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules. They have brought out the Masterchef in many of us as well as the (rather untrained and intolerant) food critic in others.
1. SAVES YOU MONEY
I really enjoy when we go out for dinner because it isn’t something we do all the time, however cooking is something that has taught me to enjoy those dinners more and now I find it hard to pay for something I know I can cook better at home.
This was a big factor for me, especially when I had all of the kids at home; home cooking was a necessity not a choice. We have a big family so buying loads of takeaway was not a ‘go-to’ option for us.
If cooking currently isn’t your thing, start by picking something you love and cook that just one night a week. Then you could start expanding your repertoire, it can become really enjoyable, and also make you feel great.
Spending only $30-$50 per week on takeaway and pre-packaged foods may not seem much at the time, you could save a whopping $2600 a year! What could you buy with that? Or where could you go?
It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, keep your ingredients simple and build your staple pantry items up over time. Grab yourself some favourite recipes and off you go!
It is lovely (and necessary) to have a night off cooking, and that’s when a night of leftovers, or that extra meal in the freezer can really save you. Menu planning may sound boring but it will save you money, time and energy in the long run.
For many of us, the most dreaded question once 3pm hits is, “What’s for dinner?” It can give me a feeling of both disdain and confusion. Although I always feel a sense of pride, like I’m winning at life when I can give an answer right off the bat. Alternatively, if I have no clue, and haven’t done the meal plan thing then I feel my jaw clench, my blood pressure elevate slightly when someone in my house (usually my 15 year old) utters those words to me, and then has no solid contribution other than her personal fave meals – Mexican or curry. She would happily eat them every day, seven days a week. Me, I like variety, and would dearly love Gary or George to pop over and whip up a little degustation menu, a tasting plate or even a cheese toastie? Because let’s face it, sometimes we just can’t be arsed.
And just like Ready, Steady, Cook that started it all for me, there are also some great apps now where you can punch in what ingredients you have and it will give you meal suggestions, or there’s always the Encyclopaedia of Google Britannia.
2. IT’S AN ACT OF LOVE
Everything tastes better with love in it! Whether you are cooking for one or ten, conscious cooking and eating, and blessing your foods, is one of the most important acts of self-love.
Nurturing ourselves by lovingly and consciously preparing food, sitting down and mindfully eating it and feeling grateful for it, can help reduce stress and increase self worth.
Cooking can help create a more loving relationship with your food and your physical body.
Blessing anything increases the vibration of it, so blessing your food will not only increase the vibration of your food, but you as well, as you eat those foods.
Standing up is never a good idea when eating and make a conscious effort not to rush thru shovelling your meals like a Gobbledock. You deserve to take time to eat, and enjoy the process, when we do this, our digestion is grateful, we eat less and the food tastes so much more delicious.
Food is one of our most primal and basic survival acts. By blessing your food and taking the time to prepare it, you are committing to an act of self-love, and by serving such food to others sends a powerful message that you care for them.
3. IT’S GREAT FOR YOUR HEALTH
Eating home-cooked allows you the integrity of knowing exactly what’s in your food and where it came from. This is really important for anyone with sensitivities or intolerances. Taste is definitely a factor too! The pleasure centre in your brain fires off the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin when we eat delicious foods. This is the same hormone that is present when you have sex, so why wouldn’t you want to eat yummy food?
We are in the midst of a food revolution! With many (me included) really starting to take control of their diets, thru education, we are seeing more and more studies and documentaries revealing how many illness and conditions are linked to the foods we eat. For every food we are told to eat, there are 5 ‘professionals’ telling us the harm those foods are causing.
So the BEST way I’ve found to combat this is by listening to my own body and noticing the foods are that are inflammatory in my body and things I am sensitive to, and it changes.
We have become a gluttonous society, eating ridiculous amounts of everything, and now thankfully, we are becoming more educated and asking more questions than ever before. People are actually caring more and more where their foods are coming from, and are learning the impact of eating processed foods, excessive sugars and how our foods and crops have changed throughout the years. Knowledge is power people!
Cooking has also inspired me to grow our own vegetables, which taste so much better and also saves us money. Again, start simple; maybe you could start with growing herbs or with the veggie your buy the most?
4. IT BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS
In cultures all over the world, cooking is a shared experience. I know when our dear friends from Peru are in my kitchen, it is a mutually loved time that we spend together, sharing, teaching and learning. It also helps to break the language barrier, and it’s super fun, with the awesome reward of sharing the food together at the end, almost like a ceremony.
It’s such a beautiful way to build relationships.
I loved cooking with my Nans and now I love spending time with my kids in the kitchen and they really enjoy it too. The added bonus is they are far more likely to try new things and eat foods they have prepared themselves, and also feel a sense of achievement too.
We have always been a dinner table family, with the odd exception. It allows conversation and I find the kids share things about their days that I wouldn’t otherwise know.
It also teaches manners and respect - something my 5 year old needs. She also likes setting the table and getting waters for everyone so it also instills a sense of responsibility in her.
Also having so many distractions coming at us in any given day, that the family meal is a time to be fully present.
And if you don’t have kids, kudos to you, you get to eat your meals hot every night with an always-appreciative audience. It is important for you to sit with your roommate, partner or self and make some effort. Sit at the table without the computer, tv, iphone and light a candle, do something that allows you a trigger that meal time is for enjoying, not rushing. Your taste buds will thank you for it and so will your waistline!
5. IT IMPROVES BRAIN HEALTH
According to a 2012 UK Daily Mail article, cooking foods from scratch can literally help create neural pathways in our brains. This is because cooking requires and promotes creativity and inventiveness and regularly engaging this part of our brain helps to build these pathways.
Cooking evokes our cognitive skills, such as our strategic abilities, even problem solving when we need to improvise and don’t have all the required ingredients’ – I do this often!
Cooking also sharpens our hand-eye co-ordination, perception skills and spatial awareness, attention and concentration, as well as short-term memory.
Cook your way to brain health! Bon Appetite!