10 reasons to cook

Every time I scroll through social media or magazines, I’m bombarded with diet culture. Quick-fixes, cleanses, and fad diets promise to make us lose weight, finally feel good about ourselves, and bring world peace. Newsflash: there’s no quick fix that will make us healthy – at least not on a sustainable, realistic level.

I know so many people that lose the weight, only to put it all on again a year later. Or go broke off their pricey juice cleanses (shh, I used to be one of them). There is only one way to be fully healthy long term.

It’s not until we get into our kitchens and cook ourselves, for ourselves, that we can find our own version of sustainable health.

There are zillions of reasons why we cook. And these are sometimes as generic as wanting delicious food ranging to as personal as needing a specific medical diet that restaurants can’t serve. Pause for a moment and think about why you cook – or want to cook, if you aren’t already. What difference would healthy cooking make in your life? Maybe it would help you stay on a budget to reach your financial goals (you’re so close to buying those gorg leather booties). Or perhaps you like the sense of accomplishment you feel when you bring your lunches to work every day.

Your reasons for cooking are highly personal, as they should be! This is YOUR life, after all. But JUST in case you needed a reason, I’m sharing all of mine with you. Here are the 10 reasons why I cook:

#1 - Providing nourishing meals during busy weeks.
There is no debate that my week runs smoother when I have healthy batch cooked meals in the fridge. When I don’t have a minute to think about anything other than emails and projects, my prepped batches of food can be quickly mix-and-matched to dozens of meal combinations, keeping me satisfied, nourished, and fueled for whatever the week has in store for me.

#2 - Choosing the ingredients.
Eating out equals sneaky ingredients that I don't always want to consume. When I cook, I control everything that goes in to my meal -- from the quality of produce and meat, to the quantity of salt and seasonings. I can ensure my food is full of the good stuff and void of the bad stuff.

#3 - Nourishing my family.
I love, love, love nourishing Alex. It is one of my greatest joys in life. Before there was Alex, I had roommates, and I lived for sharing food with them. Spreading happiness to others through the food I’ve made makes the world go ‘round.

#4 - Connecting and reconnecting with myself.
Cooking time is my “me” time. I carve out a chunk of time all to myself. The repetition of chopping and the steps of a recipe puts me in a meditative groove. Some people find this alone time in the shower. I find it while cooking.

#5 - Creating community.
Cooking solo is awesome, and cooking with others is even better. Getting friends together, bringing food to a gathering, or heck, even bringing leftovers in to work for coworkers will bring people together around food. Community is everything, and food can be the best catalyst for nourishing those around us.

#6 - Supporting sustainable agriculture.
They say we vote with our dollars. The more we spend on vegetables vs. packaged foods, the more we support those farmers working hard to make a living and stay alive in the industrialization of our food system. Did I lose you? Watch “Food Inc.” on Netflix, or read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma – these 2 pieces changed my life and catapulted me into the world of whole foods.

#7 - Supporting local.
Local all the way! As Target, Amazon, and other huge corporations squash out mom and pop storefronts, I love keeping my local community alive. I’m a sucker for local produce and artisan goods, like GF bread, fermented veggies, kombucha, and chocolate.

#8 - Showering myself with self-love.
When I use my own two hands to cook, it takes on a whole new meaning of nourishment. I transform ingredients into love. I listen to what my body needs, and feed her that and so much more. Cooking allows me to take care of myself on multiple levels, ultimately helping me show up in other areas of my life.

#9 - Creating ritual.
Rituals are the practices that ground us in our busy lives. Whether it’s a delicious morning routine, meditation practice, or an evening bath, these rituals have a knack for feeding our soul. Cooking is my ritual, and it has become a sacred part of my life.

When I feed myself with nourishing, home-cooked, healthy meals, I’m not just helping myself stay alive -- I’m enabling myself to THRIVE. To feel oxygen in my lungs keeping my heart beating. To feel the beating of my heart sending blood to all parts of my body. To be fully present wherever I am. To be of service to others. To living fully in all areas of my life. Now tell me…who wouldn’t want that?

These reasons are just the tip of the ice berg. What I REALLY want is to hear from YOU! What are some of your reasons for cooking at home? I can’t wait to read what you share!