Cooking Helped Me Feel More Sane About Food

You certainly don’t have to agree with me, but most of the time, I enjoy cooking and preparing food. It’s not just because my family has an Italian background, but also because it has contributed to me feeling more sane about food. It might at first seem counter-intuitive that being around a bunch of food actually helped me trust myself around it more, but it’s true, it did. This can still be something you can consider as a possibility, even if you don’t like to cook…even if you don’t exactly have a functional kitchen. A lot of times, I don’t make my meals from total scratch, but through throwing together a variety of items that are in different prepared states…

The act of thinking about and preparing my own food has helped me to gradually get to a place where I felt like I’ve gotten to know what works for me and what makes me feel best. Having a better idea of what I put in my body has allowed me to then pay more attention to how certain things make me feel and influences my choices for next time, or even when I do end up eating out and deciding what to order.

Having that direct connection with what I am about to eat through preparing my food makes it easier to be much more conscious when I eventually eat and dig in. I am also more likely to make something exactly how I want it and recognizing exactly what I want wasn’t always the easiest for me (it includes a lot of listening to and knowing yourself). Going to the grocery store, trying out new recipes (or combinations of things-rice and beans with veggies, anyone?), the whole process made me feel more in control and like I was taking care of myself at the same time. It took a little while, but I realized that I deserve to make myself good food, that I like, that also makes me feel good. (Say that to yourself.)

When I was in college, it was a challenge to try and figure out something that was tasty, cheap and relatively quick all at the same time. With this in mind, however, I felt like I had really accomplished something when I made it work. I also found that I would binge or overeat less when I made my own food.

I also find that if I eat out all the time, I don’t feel so great in general. I often retain a lot of water (so much salt!), crave more sugary foods and just eat more food than I probably need to overall. I think this is true for most people (“normal” with food or now), but not everyone really pays that much attention sometimes. It’s certainly fun to go out and try new places, be social with people, or be lazy and order take out, but often it also feels great to have a satisfying, simple meal that I put together myself.

Just yesterday, my roommate and I made a summery meal together. We put on music, took turns chopping different items and sang and danced around our kitchen (OK, our kitchen is so small, we mostly just wiggled). It was really relaxing after a long day and we made a healthy and delicious meal that I felt connected to because I had put in the time to make it myself.

We all have busy, busy lives, so even if it’s not everyday, taking the time to make something for yourself can help to make some small, but important changes.

Do you like to prepare your own food? Do you find you feel more connected to it when you do, or does it not make a difference? Any favorite things to make? -Morgan

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7 Responses to Cooking Helped Me Feel More Sane About Food

  1. I love cooking and have become very skeptical about eating out. There is hardly a concept of fast, slow food out there and it’s laden with hidden BAD ingredients. Also, I don’t trust myself in a restaurant. I always overeat and order the sweet stuff. My husband and I get caught up in our work, and so we try to make breakfast or dinner our time together. One of us will set the table as if in a nice restaurant and the other will cook a nice meal. Sometimes we cook together. Both of us are in our own start-ups, so it’s hard to take out this time every night, but we aim for it three times a week. Though, my focus is healthy, simple yet delicious meals. So cooking time varies from 20-40 minutes. There is a huge satisfaction of cooking at home and friends have become envious of our lifestyle choice. Maybe, everyone craves home cooking, but opt for eating out due to perceived convenience?

  2. Astrid says:

    Oh my goodness, I adore cooking and baking so much. My relationship to cooking has improved my relationship to food. My favorite things to cook are plantains, burgers, pizzas, chicken, oatmeal, really anything that I can try to make from scratch in a healthy and wholesome way. Cooking has helped me in my recovery. Food is now fun and nurturing. I do love good restaurants, but a lot of the times I find myself thinking that I would have cooked it differently. But this is just inspiraitonal to try to recreate the dishes on my own. It has made me super self aware.

  3. Heather says:

    I find this topic both intriguing and uncomfortable.

    I’m definitely not comfortable with cooking food and I think this could be for the following reasons:

    I remember my Mum shoving us away as children if we wanted to help. My boyfriend asked if I think she might have been eating secretly at the time, and it really made me think this might have been the case. Any suggestions for baking were turned down as being too messy and too much of a hassle. I guess this created the notion of me not being trusted around food.

    When suffering with anorexia, I never cooked, to my knowledge. I ate things that meant minimal time in the kitchen and largely, ‘snacky’ type foods as opposed to meals. The less time near, food, the less likely I would be to eat. I couldn’t trust myself around food.

    Nowadays, I am able to eat a whole new range of foods, thanks to my kind and patient boyfriend (and my willingness to try!). We sometimes cook together, and I quite enjoy this. I do still find it so scary, worrying that the food will come out all wrong, or that I won’t like it, or that I might have been better off buying something as I might have wasted money, that I can’t let myself cook all that much yet. I hope I can one day as it’s something I will want to do for my future husband and children.

  4. Katie says:

    Reading the book In Defense of Food made me really want to cook more and enjoy the ritual of nourishment.

  5. Kate says:

    Great topic Morgan!

    Once I stopped dieting, I lost interest in cooking. I didn’t have the time (I was in the middle of grad school and I just couldn’t handle meal planning/shopping/cooking/cleaning while trying to do homework) and while I enjoyed cooking, the act had never been about pleasure to me. I had to cook to stay within my daily calorie allotment and more often than not I would cook something that I didn’t enjoy and feel obligated to eat. Then, feeling unsatisfied, I would overeat or binge.

    I’m trying to get back into the habit of cooking. This time, I’m going to make sure I try to prepare foods that appeal to me. I’m also going to dress up my table to further enhance the experience of eating.

  6. Veronica says:

    I LOVE to cook. Unfortunately I’m not any good at it but I am slowly learning. I would have to agree with you though because like you mentioned you can make the food any way you want. You can alter it to your needs and liking. Right I don’t cook because I live with my family and I am the type of person who likes to have the kitchen to herself when she’s cooking.

  7. Michael Moss says:

    I think by cooking your meals yourself you can take much more interst in what you consume. And they do say you are what you eat. It’s too easy to just buy a processed meal, make it quickly and scoff it down. I find that the more I cook the more healthy the food I eat is and this in turn makes me feel much much better.

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