In “The First Step to a New You”, we looked at what it is that is holding you back from making lasting and significant changes to your health.
Now that you have (hopefully) decided to stop making excuses and start taking charge, let’s look at the root of the problem when it comes to health and wellness in the developed world–the kitchen.
It’s somewhat funny to me how we view kitchens in this country. On every home buying show I’ve ever seen-and thanks to my darling wife I’ve seen hours upon hours-every home buyer wants a nice kitchen. In almost every episode the buyers compromise on something, but never the kitchen! When it comes to kitchens, bigger is always better. And you can never have enough cabinets. And updated appliances are a real plus, too. Has anyone ever asked why the kitchen is so important?
The only room that rivals the kitchen in terms of endearing a home to a potential buyer is the bathroom. Talk about in one end and out the other, eh? But I digress.
So what is the big to-do about the kitchen, anyway? The obvious response would be that the kitchen is where the meals are prepared, so a nice kitchen is very important.
But are most meals really prepared in the kitchen?
Probably not as many as you would think.
As it turns out, we don’t cook as much as we think we do. According to the FDA, Americans spend almost 50% of their food budget on meals prepared outside of the home. 35 years ago, we spent 34%. I would make the argument that 34% is still way too much to be spending on ABC (Already Been Cooked) meals, but it’s much better than the half of our budget are spending now.
So for the average American, half of his or her meals are ABC. At least we are eating pretty well half of the time though, right?
Not so fast my friends. But first let’s remember, half is still failing at every school in the world; so even if half our meals are healthy, we still fail when it comes to good nutrition.
How many people who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s would consider hamburger helper a home cooked meal? What about Easy Mac? Lean Cuisine? DiGiorno? How many people in today’s world would call these foods home cooked? The fact that many in my generation consider opening a box and putting something in the oven or microwave cooking is mind-blowing. And just a bit scary. I feel bad serving pasta with canned sauce for dinner because I feel like I was too lazy to make a real meal. But for too many, penne with ragu is the fanciest thing they’ve ever cooked. And we wonder why our nation is so unhealthy.
It’s time to take action. No one is incapable of cooking. All it takes is a little effort. If you’re reading this, you obviously have a connection to the Internet. Ergo, you have access to the largest and most diverse cookbook in the world. You can literally google a list of ingredients you have available, and dozens of recipes will pop up. Pick one that sounds good and start cooking. But please, just start.
Creating a new, healthier you starts in the kitchen. It may not end there, but we need a place to start. as you start cooking more of your own meals, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel. You’ll consume fewer preservatives and salt, and appreciate the true taste of food like you never have before.
And besides, if we start making the majority of our meals at home, all that kitchen talk on the home buying shows might actually start to make sense.