In a world where every kind of food is readily available, the question is why bother to cook for yourself? There are many reasons we don’t bother to cook for ourselves. It seems that buying food cooked by others can make life simpler. It is easy to just phone in for a take-out or just get in the car and drive to a nearby restaurant. You may well ask, isn’t cooking for myself just going to add extra work to the busy day? Cooking means shopping, cleaning, doing the dishes, as well as using limited time. The question remains, why cook? My answer is love. Making your own food is an expression of self-love. It is a way to nurture your health and your psychological well-being. Additionally, it is a way to show your love towards your family and friends. The preparation of food is a fundamental part of being human, and if you take ownership of this basic nurturing act, you will be doing something really good for yourself and those around you.
Love is a key ingredient to life. Loving yourself helps to promote well-being and physical health. Well-being includes various beneficial attributes, including: resilience that is the speed of recovery from adversity, the ability to have a positive outlook, to recognize goodness in others, to be able to have attention and focus in the present, to be present with other people, and to be able to practice generosity. I contend that cooking and eating home-cooked food support the attributes of well-being.
If a recipe doesn’t work out as intended, it’s okay. You can learn to fail and then to succeed, to recover from failure and gain resilience. When chopping and following a recipe, it is necessary to be focused on the task at hand. Some tasks require more patience and focus than others, as I discovered recently when working on preparing a pomegranate and exposing all the tiny, juice-filled seeds. The act of sharing home-cooked meals with others is rewarding, and it is an opportunity to be present with others; there is a kind of intimacy to sharing food that you have cooked or cooked with others. And sharing food you have cooked, in the preparation of which you have spent your time, skill and effort is an act of generosity. Acts of generosity cultivate well-being.
Cooking for yourself is associated with improving physical health. If you are trying to lose weight, cooking your own food may help. I recommend a whole-food plant-based diet. But evidence suggests that there is no one diet that is better for weight loss than any other, so instead of trying to follow a particular regimen that may not be pleasurable or palatable, eat whatever you want just avoid ultra-processed ingredients, and make sure that you cook your food yourself. When you cook you need to plan ahead. Planning ahead means that you can spend time thinking about what appealing to your taste buds, but also what might be good for your health.
When you make your own food, you are more likely to use whole ingredients with less fat, salt and sugar. Eating nutritious food (such as fresh vegetables and fresh fruit) is beneficial to your health. If you cook most of your own food you are likely going to eat fewer calories than people who eat most of their meals out. You will certainly know what has gone into the food that you are eating. You will know how much salt, how much fat, how much sugar etc.