There is something so special to me about a home cooked meal, an intimate moment in the kitchen between you and the ingredients. I’ll be honest, home cooking isn’t something I've always romanticized - quite the opposite actually. I didn’t start religiously cooking for myself until I transitioned over to a fully plant based diet. I was never someone who enjoyed being in the kitchen, but my diet shift made eating out more difficult and therefore, I naturally was forced into preparing my meals at home in order to enjoy a satisfying, nutrient dense meal.
As a result of becoming more mindful of the way I eat, I've developed an appreciation for cooking and can now see the true value in it. When I cook for myself, it gives me a sense of freedom, confidence, empowerment, and self love. Whether I'm cooking for myself or others, my moments in the kitchen have had an overall positive impact on my life.
Cooking at home can be exciting to some and stressful to others. Convenience, money, food access, time, and one’s cooking skills can all play a role in why someone primarily cooks at home, orders in, or goes out to eat. Yet, no matter how you view cooking at home, home cooked meals have been proven to be better for your mental and physical health.
From a health and wellness point of view, cooking at home gives you full control over the ingredients you consume, portions, calories and even cooking techniques. In general, as a customer you do not have an accurate and detailed idea of the ingredients being used at a particular establishment, including the amount of salt being used, the types of oils, the sourcing of the ingredients, the hygiene of the kitchen, or how they are preparing the food. On the contrary, when you cook, you have full control of what goes on your plate.
Cooking at home is a great way to connect with friends, bring the family together, and deepen your relationships with loved ones. Food is a symbol of love. When you share moments in the kitchen with others, it's been shown to increase your mood, create a sense of belonging, and it brings back the tradition of breaking bread and social engagement. The simple act of talking to a friend or loved one over the dinner table can play a big role in relieving daily stress and elevating one’s quality of life.
Don’t think that you have to make every meal at home, I am a firm believer in balance. Cooking at home just a few times a week to begin with can reap rewards. For those who aren’t excited about cooking, the more you prepare your own meals, the better you’ll get. When you’re making a meal from scratch, you get to discover and experiment with different ingredients, seasonings, and cuisines. Eventually, you may find that ordering out becomes an occasional treat rather than the norm and cooking at home can be something exciting and worth romanticizing.