...Everyone shouldlearn to cook! Everyone shouldlearn to cook, because it gives us a vaster knowledge of the things we cook in a daily basis, and makes us think more mindful about what we eat and consume. Cooking makes you choose better and healthier choices on what you should eat, and as well as promoting healthy thinking and eating, and making you a more organised and confident person in what you do. You see, to the uninitiated, kitchens can be daunting and confusing places full of dangerous, sharp, and oddly shaped objects. But once you learn your way around the kitchen and start shaking a frying pan, you feel a wonderful sense of freedom. Suddenly you are able to experiment at will, or in situations where you are tight on time you know you can always conjure up something nutritious, tasty and inexpensive. People think that to make great tasting and healthy food takes time, or costs too much. Well, it isn’t true. It does take some planning though and some experimentation too. Learning how to plan a week’s meals in advance will save you money and time as well. If you learn to make tasty meals from scratch using whole foods, then no longer will you have to rely on ready meals and takeaways. You realise pretty quickly that good food can be just as convenient and quickly available as most of the junk food alternatives. Becoming...
"It's completely transforming," says McCarthy, author of "Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting." "I often tell people, 'Do you want to feel better? Do you want to have more energy?' Because great health starts in the kitchen."
Trust me: As a frequent restaurant patron, I feel your pain. But nearly every nutritionist I've spoken to has echoed McCarthy's sentiment.
"There are so many reasons ... ," celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder says before launching into a long list.
Here are the four big ones:
Vegetables look much more appetizing when you're standing in the middle of the farmer's market than when you're staring at a fast-food menu. Instead of being led by hunger -- and glossy hamburger photos -- you'll choose more often what's best for your body.
"That step of picking up your own food will cut out more and more processed foods," Snyder says.
And healthier choices at the grocery store lead to healthier meals at home.
People who cooked meals at home at least six days a week consumed fewer calories than those who frequently ate out, a study published recently in the journal Public Health Nutrition found.
"When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all," study author Julia Wolfson told the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Unless you're BFFs with the chef, you probably have no idea what's actually in that restaurant meal you're eating.
Do they use olive oil or vegetable oil to cook the meat? Is there added sugar in the sauce? What about food coloring? Is the spinach organic or covered in pesticides? How much salt is in that soup?
Cooking at home eliminates the guesswork. It also eliminates the chance that your food will contain an allergen or ingredient that could make you sick.
Think about it this way, McCarthy says: You're not going to go to a gas station that doesn't label its pumps, and put diesel into a car that takes premium gasoline. "But humans do that all the time. We put the wrong fuel in all the time."
Eating has become just another chore on many people's to-do lists, Snyder says. "Get your shoes shined, pick up the dry cleaning, order food."
Cooking opens your eyes to not just what's in your food but also how you eat it. After all, who makes a six-layer lasagna from scratch and then eats it while zoned out in front of the TV?
Eating mindfully means you savor each bite and recognize when you're full -- both of which aid digestion, Snyder says. Sitting down to regular meals with friends or family can also help improve your relationships.
"Cooking brings you back to a nurturing home space. It creates an environment that's supportive and helps you fight stress," Snyder says.
"If you can read, you can cook," McCarthy says. "I don't think you need talent because there are so many amazing cookbooks out there."
Start simply -- with a breakfast smoothie or one dinner a week. Then build up your repertoire. Though you may dream of mimicking your favorite "Top Chef" techniques, grilling a few chicken breasts and steaming broccoli is fast and nutritious.
"The simplest foods are the healthiest," Snyder says.