How To Take The Stress Out Of Cooking & Make Your Food Holistically Healthy
Do you ever wonder why some food tastes better than others? Or think about who might be preparing your meal when eating at a restaurant? Oftentimes friends or students will ask me, "Why does your food taste better than when I make it at home? I follow your recipes exactly!"
There are two thoughts that come to mind:
- How were you feeling while cooking?
- What was the quality of your ingredients?
The reason I ask is because those two elements of cooking—your mood and the ingredients you use—are pivotal for how yummy your food will taste. Since I thoroughly enjoy being in my kitchen, and cooking is one of my happiest daily rituals, I infuse joy into every dish I prepare. I also shop mostly at farmers markets to feel good about supporting local seasonal quality produce. Happiness permeates each meal I create. Even on challenging days this is the same, because cooking brings me back to peace.
Becoming mindful about your emotional state while cooking is the first step toward unlocking your inner chef!
If you are struggling with finding a sense of peace and happiness while you cook, then here are three easy steps to help you walk into your kitchen smiling:
Step 1: Set the mood.
One of the first things you can do before entering your kitchen is to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Is there a sense of happy, or after you open your refrigerator do you think, "UGH, what the heck am I going to eat?"
I get it: You may be tired or having a stressful day. How will you muster that inkling of joy when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed? First, we know that Rome wasn't built in a day, so be patient with yourself. It will take time and practice to change how you feel about cooking. But don't give up! Take the time to nourish yourself.
By adopting a new attitude toward cooking, not only will you see the great benefits from nutritious and delicious food, but you will feel the effects soon after...
Get juicy and create an environment rich in happy.
Our bodies, and almost everything around us, are made up of energy. We digest feelings, stressors, and food with each breath and bite we take. Between our families, the media, our co-workers, and even the person at the checkout register, our energy is affected by everything we do and everyone we come into contact with.
Look at your kitchen. Is there something you can do to positively spark your senses when you enter it? It could be a photo of someone or something you love, an inspiring quote or a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Maybe paint your kitchen walls an inspiring color. Is there a need to rearrange or reorganize any clutter that's crowding your space? Do something to help turn yourself on—flip your switch from negative to positive and grateful.
And then challenging days happen. We all have them. But how do we get out of the mood quickly so we don't digest the yucky vibes that can actually permeate our food? If help is what you need, ask for it. If there is another adult in the house or a willing child, let them sous chef or prep. Find the fun in cooking together (couples, think of it as foreplay).
If you are cooking for one, don't fret. Don't grab a bag of chips or order pizza on a Friday night in. Think of cooking a delicious healthy meal as a way to love yourself. You are worth it. If you aren't alone but are cooking for a family and are feeling resentful because there isn't anyone to help you, don't order in! Just say, "F#*k it."
Sit down on the floor, take a moment to regroup, take some deep breaths, and then ground yourself.
It's in those moments that we search for our sense of humor, find peace, and get back up. We aren't always perfect. We try our best and muster up whatever we can to make our sweet self and the family something to eat. It doesn't matter if your dinner is a bowl of mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, or a grilled cheese sandwich. The fact that YOU made it and ate it together is truly what counts.
Let your energy be infused into your food. When beginning to cook a meal, take note of how you are feeling. If every day you're feeling frustrated about cooking, or angry about your job, those negative feelings can be infused into your food. Becoming mindful about your emotional state while cooking is the first step toward unlocking your inner chef!
Step 2: Get close and personal with what you eat.
I want you to care so much about what you feed yourself that you infuse all your meals with love. The ingredients you choose, as well as where you shop, matter. A lot.
The food we eat contains energy and affects how our bodies feel after we eat it. Some meals bring euphoric pleasure right away. For me these times are when my taste buds are ecstatic (I call these moments mouthgasms). Then there are those times you eat something, and it's like eating tasteless cardboard, and you can't spit it out fast enough. There's more to food than what we see in the beautiful display at our grocery stores and within pretty packaging.
Amazingly, there are many things that affect your food's energy right from the seed. Think about the quality of the seed: Was the seed genetically modified? What practices did the farmer use to grow it? Is the water supplied to the seed chemical-free? How was the health of the soil?
Food that has been produced with chemicals, irrigated by agricultural water (ag or reclaimed water), and/or grown in nutrient-depleted soil, then highly processed all before it hits the shelves has a totally different energy than the food grown with completely different methods.
It's that feel-good energy that we want infused into the food we make.
Food grown without chemicals, in clean well water and nutrient-rich soil—with minimal processing—holds a far greater energetic vibration than typical store-bought food. It has also been proven to have a higher nutritional value with greater benefit for our bodies. Eating the highest quality food with the maximum energy is paramount for our health. That's why I choose shopping at a local farmers market, so I know how our food has been grown.
Step 3: Dance
We all have our strengths, and cooking just might not be one of yours. However, we all need to nourish our bodies. My feeling is, why not have some fun while doing it? Let's get our happy on in our kitchen and dance!
A fun way to shift our mood while cooking is by turning up the music. Let go of any inhibitions, shake your hips, back away from the counter, and rock out. I've done this with my kids a million times. We turn on some Motown oldies music and dance in our kitchen. By moving your hips, you're actually releasing stuck energy. (I once learned from a craniosacral therapist that belly dancing actually releases stress.)
Our hips represent forward motion, so if you're feeling a bit stuck from your day, or perhaps about cooking, let the music move you. Do a few hip rollers, breathe, and feel whatever emotions and stress you might be experiencing slip away. Fire up your happy! It's that feel-good energy that we want infused into the food we make for ourselves, our families, and our friends. Encourage others to come dance with you in your kitchen. (Self-conscious non-dancers, no one is watching! This is the place to let it go!)
Happiness can be shared in the food we eat. As I share this food for thought about cooking, energy, and high-quality ingredients, explore ways that you can get juicy and find joy being in your kitchen. Bless your walls with a luscious vibrant color, light a sweet-smelling candle, and create a kitchen altar. Become the queen bee of your kitchen castle.
Happiness will lift your vibration and ultimately your energy to a whole new level. This amazing energy will nourish your body with the highest, most positive vibrations possible. Curry Girls Kitchen believes wholeheartedly that food IS love. No one will ever know what made him or her feel happy; they'll just go to bed feeling the good vibes.