If you’re a foodie or a chef at heart, this won’t be news to you. But over the years, I’ve found that time spent in the kitchen preparing a meal is so good for the soul! While the healthy meals we create are nourishment to our bodies, the act of cooking is truly food for the soul. I’m not talking about a meal where you microwave a couple of frozen meals or reheat leftovers and eat standing over the kitchen sink. I’m talking about the process, or recipe if you will, of creating a meal from start to finish and savoring every bite. The key ingredients of this healing recipe are nutrition, mindfulness, creativity, gratitude and some joy.
Before you cook, choose healthy, fresh ingredients that will nourish your body and tantalize your taste buds. The cleaner the better, meaning go for organic, free-range and grass-fed whenever possible. And if you can shop locally, you’re in for even more of a treat. The fresher the ingredients, the higher the nutritional content; so if it was grown or raised nearby, it will pack a bigger health punch.
The trick to getting the most out of your cooking experience is cooking mindfully. Pay close attention while you peel that zucchini. Notice the texture as you work with the ground beef or turkey. Soak in the sweet smells of citrus as you slice. Tackle one task at a time and complete each one with focus and intention. You’ll be amazed at how soothing and fulfilling this is!
Creativity fuels our souls in such a unique way. Playing with materials, in this case foods, and experimenting with new methods expands and excites the mind! Through experimentation you may discover your perfect secret ingredient! Play with presentation, too, and give it some flair — a sprig of rosemary as garnish or chocolate sauce drizzled in perfect zigzags across a cobbler. Have fun and give yourself permission to play.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m big on gratitude. Gratefulness begets more things to be grateful for! As you prepare your food, think about all it took for it to ultimately arrive at your table — from seeds, to the picking of fruits and vegetables, to the transportation modes, to being shelved at the grocery store, to you purchasing it and putting it into the state it’s in now. Be thankful for the farmers, the truck drivers, the grocers and for food from nature, organic options and the modern conveniences afforded to us for cooking. There is so much to be thankful for! Feel it in your heart as you prepare and consume your meal.
Last but not least, this recipe calls for joy. Allow yourself to feel the happiness of being well nourished or sharing a meal with family and friends. Soak in the warm scents, crisp vegetables and creamy textures of your creations! Enjoy your food and friends, and sprinkle that happiness all around your table.
There is power in the kitchen. Allow it into your life at your next mealtime. And be sure to contact me for more tips on the power of healthy food, mindfulness and living a life of wellness.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.