Monday, May 9, 2016

Jamie's Thoughts: Why You Need to Learn How to Cook on Paleo


When I was in college, I used to think that I was too much a modern woman to learn how to cook. I wasn't the only one.  A friend of mine would often quip that she had never. touched. raw chicken?!? You can probably guess that my then-diet consisted largely of take out and pre-prepared foods.  It's no wonder I ended up gaining 15 pounds in college...

I write this post to all of you who may believe that cooking is not your thing.  To all of you--men and women alike--who may think cooking is just for housewives, moms, and grandmas.  Oh or restaurant chefs.  To all of you who think that you are too busy to cook---Here's the deal:  You are human.  You are on this earth.  You should know how to feed yourself.  And by feeding yourself, I don't mean peeling back foil and putting a plastic dish in the microwave or heading to the drive thru. I mean home cooking.  Otherwise, you're ceding control over your own health.  

Let me tell you something.  If you are working on trying to improve your health, I can think of no better way than to properly nourish your body. Well that and getting sleep and exercising.  But i'm getting off track here.  I think I've used this analogy often, but it's like putting fuel in a car. With bad fuel, your car might not run at all.  Or it might run inefficiently.  Or it might break down entirely.  And so it is with food. 

Unfortunately, in this country, we've become so far removed from food sourcing and food preparation that taking ownership of nourishing yourself with whole, real food can feel daunting.  We've grown up in an era where fast, processed food is king because only it can keep up with the pace of our insta-tweeting, screen-obsessed, text-messaging crazed lives.    And slow food, well slow food just can't keep up with that kind of lifestyle.  

I've learned to nourish myself and to cook in tandem because one habit supports the other. Without cooking food that satisfies my palate, I'd never make it on Paleo.  When you learn how to cook food you love, food you love even more than McDonalds or whatever your vice may be, food that suits your palate, that's a very powerful place to be.  When you learn that you can make a dish that's better tasting and that makes you feel better than eating a candy bar --good decisions naturally follow.  

I'm not suggesting we all need to become chefs. But I do believe that if you are new to Paleo and trying to navigate this lifestyle without doing any cooking whatsoever, well, that's a recipe for disaster (Sorry for the pun!)  Google some Paleo recipes that look yummy to you.  There are so many options out there.  Try them, and then repeat until you have some dishes in your repertoire that can keep you going without feeling like you are suffering or doing without. Once you learn how to make whole, healthy, nourishing, enjoyable food you love, you'll forget about those donuts.  Go bake yourself some Paleo muffins instead.  

I know that this blog post is a dose of tough love. But I have to say that cooking has been integral to my health journey.  Absolutely essential.  I now find my cook ups wonderful, therapeutic times that I really enjoy and am so grateful for.  You may never feel quite that way about cooking, but I guarantee you'll find your Paleo journey will get a lot easier once you take control of feeding yourself.  

Happy Monday!  --J