I Need To Tell You Something…

As I was reading aloud a part of this post, Roger stopped me to say those words–“We fear the kitchen the way our kids used to fear the basement”–and I immediately laughed and then stopped and looked at him…and nodded my head.

It sounded true to me.

Because I believe we have become disassociated from our food supply and we are overwhelmed by all the conflicting information out there and we have relied so heavily on food-like products for so long that we are losing our interest and confidence in the kitchen.

I want to help change that. I pledge to help more people this year get back into the kitchen and take control of their health…one bite at a time.

But there is something I need to tell you about me. Something I had the opportunity to ponder over the weekend…something that may surprise you.

Here goes…

On Saturday, I was relaxing for a bit–scrolling through Facebook–before cleaning our place. I love cleaning my own space. I know people say that when you have your own business, you should hire people to clean for you. But I don’t. For people like me, I get a lot of my best work done while I am cleaning (it’s my thinking time!) and while I certainly may not always enjoy the idea of cleaning, I REALLY enjoy the result. Once I get started, I derive tremendous satisfaction from tidying up my space, placing things where they belong, and then dunking my hands into warm, soapy water before scrubbing and polishing my way through each room. When I am all done and I put my feet up with a cup of tea and a good book or TV show, I enjoy knowing that I have done the work–myself–to create a clean and comfortable space for us.

I realize this isn’t everyone’s perspective, and that’s ok. And please know that I am a BIG fan of those who own their own cleaning business or who work for one. I believe it is an excellent service for those who need it. But, for me, cleaning my home feels empowering, not demeaning.

It feels a lot like self-care.

And caring for myself is at the heart of my work. It’s what I live and it’s what I teach to others.

Just like cleaning my own home provides me with deep satisfaction, cooking affords me the same pleasure. Once I sit down to a meal I’ve made with my own two hands, I feel incredibly happy and proud of myself.

And that brings me back to Facebook. 

As I was scrolling through on Saturday, I came across someone asking for people to weigh in on using a food delivery service, as their goal in 2018 was to eat out less. This person had recently lost their spouse and was trying to find the desire to cook at home rather than eat out. I felt it was a GREAT goal, and so I applauded them on their decision and shared my thoughts with them.

My response was essentially that food delivery services can be wonderful for those who don’t have time to devote to shopping and preparing or who would otherwise order take-out or restaurant delivery, but that the cost can become a barrier for some and that the process of shopping for, preparing, cooking and eating meals–where we have done all the work–can feel incredibly satisfying. I said they can work well for those who are intimidated by cooking or who “hate to cook.”

I pondered my response after posting and thought about the words, “hate to cook”.

And I challenged a belief I have always held about myself, which is, “I love to cook”.

Because while cooking does come naturally for me (I can whip up a meal in very little time with very few ingredients), I realized something profound.

I do NOT always love to cook.

Like the way I feel about cleaning, I don’t always love the work of cooking (the shopping and washing and chopping and cooking and cleaning up) but what I do love is the way this act of self-care makes me feel.

I started thinking about what cooking means to me and I started thinking about cooking being a skill like any other and I also went deeper on it being a non-negotiable.

Because me must eat to live.

And the quality of our life depends–significantly–on the quality of our nutrition.

When people use the excuse that they “hate to cook” as the reason they eat out so much and are unhealthy or overweight or sick, tired and generally unwell, I challenge this belief that they hold about themselves.

Because I often don’t feel like cooking!! OFTEN!!! There are MANY days I wish I didn’t have to do it, and yet I still find myself in the kitchen, reaching for ingredients and putting a meal together.

Because not feeling like cooking is not an excuse for not eating well. We don’t get a “pass” just because we have decided that we “hate cooking”.

We don’t feel like showering some days. But we shower anyway.

We don’t feel like going to work some days.

But we go anyway.

Parents don’t always feel like disciplining their children.

But they discipline them anyway.

Just like my experience of cleaning my home, it feels good to do the things we don’t want to do–but do anyway–in order to feel self-respect and self-trust and self-pride. I mean, how else do we evoke these kinds of feel-good emotions? By only ever doing things we want to do? It just doesn’t work that way.

There are so many things in life we don’t want to do and yet we do them anyway because we don’t want to suffer the consequences.

So why do we not experience the impact of the risk-reward ratio when it comes to our food?

I believe it has a lot to do with us forgetting that there is a direct correlation between what we eat and how we feel. And how we feel impacts EVERYTHING we do! It changes how we think, how we behave, how we respond, how we look and how we feel–physically–in our bodies.

We tend to believe that a meal is a meal is a meal. We feel hunger and so we eat. We don’t often think about what we are actually putting into our bodies because we have become so disconnected from our food supply. We are regularly consuming food-that-is-not-food and we are getting sicker–mentally and physically–than we have ever been in the history of time.

They say that food is the most over-utilized anti-anxiety drug and exercise the most underutilized antidepressant.

I couldn’t agree more.

If we can get a little closer to our bodies, our hunger, our cravings and our feelings about ourselves as humans, I believe we can use food as a tool to show us what we’re made of–figuratively AND literally. Because, as you already know, we are what we eat.

And for those who believe that cooking is just “not their thing”, I want to encourage you to know that cooking can be incredibly easy; it does not have to be complicated (almost all of my “recipes” have 5 ingredients or fewer and take less than 20 minutes to prepare) and like any skill, anyone can learn to cook.

But for the most part, I cook because I want to take care of myself. Nourishing myself is–in my opinion–the most profound way to show myself love, respect, and trust.

So while I often don’t WANT to cook, I do it because my desire to live in a healthy body is greater than my desire not to cook.

And while I think it is AMAZING that we have so much more choice now when it comes to food being delivered to our doors (that isn’t restaurant delivery!), I believe that we have outsourced so much of our food supply to the point that we can forget how empowering it can be to take care of ourselves. And while food delivery services can be an excellent way for someone who doesn’t know how to cook to become more comfortable in the kitchen, sooner or later, we still have to make our way into that room.

If we are going to enjoy good health, we must know how to cook food. From scratch. Using real, whole ingredients.

And it takes practice to be able to cook the way I do! It’s not like I was born with this gift of being able to cook! I have learned to cook. Yes, I started young, watching my mother in the kitchen (and she allowed me to experiment at an early age), and, yes, I have a natural interest that helps me get creative, and I attended college for culinary management when I was in my early twenties, but cooking is both an art form and a skill.

And both can be learned.

Here are some of my top strategies for helping those who feel fear or resentment or overwhelm when it comes to cooking. It may also help those who are grieving or depressed and have very little appetite or interest in food:

  1. Breathe. Remember that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Making a meal can be as easy as combining a few good ingredients. Keep focused on why we need to eat–it is nourishment. Food delivers essential nutrients to our bodies that help us feel better. Our bodies need to be nourished.
  2. Get Help. If you don’t have confidence in the kitchen or if you don’t want to do the shopping, prepping or planning, you might try ordering from a food delivery service where they specialize in local, fresh, organic foods delivered right to your door. These services can work well for very busy people, and they often include recipes on how to cook with the food you receive or, in some cases, your order is based entirely on the recipes you want to make, so you get all the necessary ingredients. This way, you can gain confidence in the kitchen naturally.
  3. Build Your Toolbox. Try one new recipe a month and make it once a week until you’ve perfected it and no longer need to follow the recipe.
  4. Keep It Simple. Make recipes that require only a few ingredients. Grilled salmon with lemon. Cauliflower rice. Grilled asparagus. Roasted spaghetti squash. Lentil soup. Grilled chicken breasts.
  5.  Make a date. Grab a friend and venture out to a cooking class or local service that allows you to cook onsite, using their tools and equipment (in Ottawa, we have Supperworks). It can be a fun and supportive way to get your feet wet!
  6.  Batch Cook. Double or triple a recipe so that you have lots of leftovers that you can enjoy throughout the week or else freeze. This way, you only find yourself in the kitchen once, but you eat several times.
  7. Have fun! Cook with a friend and have them teach you their favourite, easy (and healthy) recipe.
  8. Just Eat. And for those who are grieving or struggling emotionally and who simply don’t have the desire to cook or eat, remember that your body needs nourishment even when (especially) you’re feeling low. Try making sure you eat breakfast soon after waking up. Even a couple of scrambled eggs or an easy smoothie will work. Then, remember the importance of food on your mental state and eat something every few hours. Vegetables are great. Costco sells a quinoa salad that is very nice and even freezes well (if you are a family of one or two). Or buy a veggie tray and add them to greens with a chicken breast for an easy lunch or dinner. Make a hearty soup and enjoy it for several nights. The point is, no matter what you are going through in your life, you need food. You must eat. And you may surprise yourself with how much better you feel after you’ve eaten. Plus, planning, preparing, shopping and cooking can help get us out of our current mindset when we focus on other things for a time…xo

The truth is that not everyone will develop a strong desire to cook, but that shouldn’t matter more than the desire to give your body what it needs so that it can function well.

And I believe that in order to function well–and live vibrantly–we must eat real food.

It is my heart’s desire that 2018 is the year I help more people get back into the kitchen! I want to encourage and inspire people to know that while they may not always love the act of cooking (but they just might!), that it is the absolute best way to re-connect with their bodies and show themselves tremendous love and care.

I want this for you.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.


P.S. I just launched my 14 Days of Wellness by email, so if you’d like to receive the daily intentions, sign up over on the right. Simply enter your name and email address to begin receiving the messages today. Let’s make 2018 YOUR year to care fiercely for your body! It’s free, with no diets, products, challenges or catches…just a chance to remember how amazing your body is–for 14 days.

P.P.S. Speaking of health, on April 21 & 22, 2018, Roger and I, along with our team, are hosting The Healthy Brain and Body Show for the second year. We are so pumped to bring this show back even bigger and better! We would love to see you there as an attendee, where we will have so much cool stuff to show you. We can't wait to explore, connect, learn and shop at the show WITH you! Please say hello if you come. Roger and I will both be there the entire weekend. It would be a thrill to meet you. 🙂

And if you--or someone you know--might be interested in being an Exhibitor with us, feel free to send them here where they can view/download the Exhibitor/Sponsor Package. Note that we have SOLD OUT of Sponsorship spots and we are over 70% sold out of booths!

We can't WAIT to serve you, so remember to save the date! 

P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. Plus, as a thank you for joining, you will receive my 14 Days of Wellness. http://sarahtalksfood.com/



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