Another year has come and gone and here we are again, left to determine which changes we wish to implement going forward. Now as cliché as New Year's resolutions tend to sound, they do hold a certain value. As we enter a new year, we feel as if we have a chance to turn a new leaf should we feel the want or the need. We feel a sense of refreshment and rejuvenation much like in September when school starts up again and life settles back into routine after the summer season.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight or get in shape. This is what floods the gyms after the holiday season and sparks the rice cake sales in the supermarkets. It still shocks me that we are convinced that a ridiculous amount of exercise is the answer to our potential figures. Of course, a moderate amount of activity is part of the puzzle but it's not the whole answer. The truth is that it is what we eat that makes the world of difference. Our diets not only affect our physical appearance, but our overall general wellbeing. I know you guys are sick of this saying but it's just so damn true..."we really are what we eat."
Now I know it's much harder in today's world to eat the ideal diet but with the right attitude and the desire to really make a change, I think we can tackle this. Believe it or not, a lot of us really don't mind the healthier meal alternatives. We understand and can feel the impact better food choices have on our health. However, most of us still rely far too often on take out or "healthy" fast food options as opposed to eating home cooked meals. As far as I'm concerned, making food from scratch is the best thing we can do for ourselves. When we cook and bake our own fuel, we control the ingredients, we appreciate our meals, and we embody this lifeline of a skill that is sadly becoming extinct as the years go by.
The biggest argument against home cooking is time. It's definitely not about money because we all know that eating out leads to an empty bank account quicker than online retail therapy does. However just as anything else in life, it's really all about priorities and time management. There is also another very common argument against home cooking and it's that some people just really don't enjoy being in the kitchen. Oddly enough, some do not like cooking at all. I would like to reach out to those individuals and give them some inspiration that may just get them to pull out the pots and pans.
Being in the kitchen can be very overwhelming. With all of the steps involved in making a decent tasting meal it’s no wonder that many people feel intimidated. After just one attempt gone wrong, so many of us just call it quits. A beginner’s goal should be to follow simple recipes and build up confidence. The time to experiment and add or omit certain ingredients is not now. Take note of who created the recipes that turn out well for you. Stick with that developer for a while. Odds are that they have a specific cooking style that matches your comfort level. They will also most likely use the same ingredients for the majority of their recipes which will make your life easier (and more affordable). After making a certain dish a few times, then is the time to shine. Make it your own and create some bad ass meals. Mistakes will happen, learn from them but never quit. I really am certain that once you feel confident in the kitchen, you will enjoy spending time in it.
CREATE YOUR SPACE
Most of us sleep better in a bed that has been made. Most of us appreciate a clean space to work. Well unfortunately, the same goes for cooking in the kitchen. Chances are that once that room is clean and organized, you will feel refreshed and inspired. A tidy pantry and well displayed cupboards go a long way. A little bit of décor with some accent pieces can help make the room feel brand new. Invest some time in your kitchen. Take a weekend and go through everything. Once you have made that space your own, you will be attracted to it. And before you get to cooking, make sure you have an empty space to get creative. No dirty dishes, no piles of mail on the counter, and no hoarded take out boxes. Create a clean canvas and you will be racing to put on your apron.
MAKE IT FUN
Time spent in the kitchen does not have to be boring. It does not have to feel like a chore. Use it a chance to catch up on the latest “This is Us” episode or watch a movie on Netflix in the background. I personally use my kitchen time as my singing time. I throw on my 90’s playlist and belt out all the best songs. I know many people who listen to podcasts while cooking and baking. It is also enjoyable when you gain enough confidence to make recipes your own. At this point, record the changes. Become a creator yourself and help inspire future self-acclaimed home kitchen chefs.
MAKE IT "ME TIME"
Spending time in the kitchen may take away from your “me time” so why not take advantage and add on to your current self-care routine. By gaining confidence in the kitchen and by making it as fun as ever-why can’t it count as “me time?” Hey, parents. What’s up? I hear you loud and clear. I hear your moans and groans just thinking about having to sacrifice more time and effort for the benefit of your loved ones. But listen-make it “me-time” and nobody will question you. Nobody can say a damn thing when you need half a day to yourself in the kitchen to prepare meals and snacks for you and your family. Should you want or need help, say the word-you are the boss. Should you want everyone to leave you the hell alone, say the word-you are the boss. If you have toddlers consider reaching out to other parents with toddlers to arrange a buddy meal prep partnership. Pick a day and trade off. One of you can watch the kids or take them out to play for a few hours while the other parent preps in peace and then trade. You can even exchange a couple of meals to give your menu a whole lot of variety. I will so be doing this when my daughter is old enough to actually play with other kids. Right now she is just interested in grabbing everything and everyone and shoving anything that sticks into her mouth.
REMEMBER YOUR GOALS
We are all human and all have those moments where we just want and need a break. You know those times where you want to sit in a dark closet and do absolutely nothing but eat a whole pizza to yourself….. or does that only happen to me? Anyway, what I am trying to say is that of course you are allowed breaks. You are allowed to eat whatever you want but cooking food from scratch was your goal and there must have been at least one good reason for it. Taking time off is allowed but quitting all together is not. Have your fun, take your breaks when needed and put that apron back on when you are good and ready. Your body, your family members, your wallet, and your consciousness will all thank you in ways you could have never imagined.