“The Heart of the Home is in the Kitchen”
If you’re starting to make more of an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, it could be overwhelming to figure out how to begin. However, the goal in mind is almost always the same for everyone. The destination most of us strive to reach is a place of total wellness: a clear, sharp mind; a strong, capable body, energy to follow our dreams, and time to spend with the people we love. Above all, we want to feel good in our skin and enjoy each moment to the fullest.
Wellness starts in the kitchen. When we get to the roots of preparing foods mindfully and with proper care, we cultivate a connection to our food and appreciate the process of nourishing our bodies. Culinary wellness is an effective tool for achieving optimal well-being because it integrates both the physical considerations and the emotional effects of our food choices and empowers us to support the whole being. I am here to guide you through making good choices as you shop for your groceries and get the most out of your cooking.
After reading this blog, I encourage you to read your ingredient labels carefully, stroll around your local farmers, get to know where your food is coming from, increase your social connectivity, and use these tips to optimize your wellness journey.
Food Industry Language
Food marketers are very aware and manipulative about how to make us purchase something. Over the last few years, we have come across many diet trends and health buzzwords that have made us susceptible to buying certain products. If you took a walk in the grocery store this week, I’m sure you probably saw many products marked with a sticker on it saying:
“Grain-free,” “Low/No Fat,” “Low Calorie,” “All Natural,” “Superfood,” “No Sugar Added,” “Made with Real Fruit” – the list goes on. The food industry is exceptionally good at what they do. Currently, processed foods account for roughly 60% of the American diet, or just under 1200 calories a day (Steele, Popkin, Swinburn, & Monteiro, 2017).
Some of these terms are regulated, others are not. When you see these claims, try to gauge whether these terms are valuable or if they are just marketing ploys. Turn the package over and read the ingredients. Choosing whole foods like fresh produce, whole grains, good quality meat, dairy products, eggs, and fish create a nutrient-dense diet. If buying these foods is a financial burden or you live in a place that does not offer healthier options, you can try growing a garden. If you are a SNAP recipient, research where you can use your benefits at an online grocery store like Thrive Market, which will improve your ability to access to organic, whole foods at affordable prices.
Meal Prep / Batch Cooking
When preparing a meal, find a recipe that excites your taste buds and gives you the most bang for your buck. Choose ingredients that can fit nicely into other meals, too. Maybe you choose eggs as one of your proteins so you can use them for breakfast, but also as a grab-and-go nutrient-dense snack during the day when your energy is dipping. You don’t have to prepare foods all the same way. Keep it exciting.
Here are some other ways you can improve your culinary wellness habits:
- Make a weekly meal plan to stop playing the guessing game of what you should eat daily.
- Make a homemade spice rub to use throughout the week.
- Make a double batch of soup and freeze half to use later.
- Purchase stackable glass containers with lids to batch cook.
- Prepare vegetables and other ingredients ahead of time. You’ll be more efficient! Have ingredients measured, cut, sliced, grated, seasoned, etc.
- Cooking in-season produce to diversify the nutrient profile
Some of my favorite meals to prepare in advance:
- Chia Seed Pudding
- Overnight Oats
- Any Frittata
- Harvest Bowls: prepped grain, leftover veggies, homemade dressing
I hope you have a better idea of how to make adjustments to your wellness journey. It should be a fun learning experience that offers you skills and further education. When you feel overwhelmed, go back to the basics or message me!!! I am always here to support you.