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Three Steps to Becoming a Better Cook

Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.
~Chef Marcel Boulestin

mid section view of a woman cutting vegetables

Have you started making healthy food choices, but are confused about how to cook these new foods? Are you wondering how to pull it all together? If you’ve started along a life-enhancing path, you may have some questions about how to cook wholesome, delicious meals for your family. In this article, we’ll explore ways to overcome your concerns about cooking.

Now that you’ve embarked on a healthy regime, you may have some “challenges” around preparing meals. To help you become a better cook, follow these three simple steps:

1. Whenever possible, use fresh organic, locally grown ingredients

A dish will go only as far as the ingredients used. Your taste buds and sense of smell will help you discern whether you are using the best ingredients. Fresh vegetables that are organic and locally grown not only taste and smell good, they also look vibrant and alive. Taking shortcuts, like using processed and imitation ingredients, make your dish look and taste artificial and lifeless. The natural approach applies to whole healing as well. Unlike processed foods, fresh ingredients have more nutrients and life force energy that help support organ function.

2. Set aside 30 minutes each day to prepare food

By setting aside half an hour each day for food preparation, you create an intention to respect the food in a more loving way. The chef’s mental and emotional states affect the outcome of the cooking process. The stress of rushing through food preparation imparts agitating energy not only to your family but also to the dish you are cooking. Cooking is a sacred activity and must be treated with loving energy. Preparing food with love sets the tone for the meal, which brings peace to whoever eats it.

 3. Make it fun

No one said you had to suffer to eat well. Here are three things you can do to make cooking fun:

  • Cook foods that you like. We all enjoy eating foods that we like, and cooking these foods makes sticking to a healthy meal plan more enjoyable.
  • Trust yourself to experiment with seasonings and herbs. When you try out new flavors, your curiosity and sense of wonder are stimulated. Like children, we can “play” with our food and come up with new flavors that enhance the dish.
  • Share your food with others. Taking pride in what you accomplish is the fuel for future endeavors. When you share your joy of cooking, you’ll feel good and will want to continue to spread the love. Also, friends who taste your dishes will ask you about the ingredients, encouraging you to develop your knowledge about the food and the cooking process.

Cooking is more than just combining ingredients together on a plate. A healthy meal is symbolic of the loving energy the chef contributes to the food. By understanding this, you can transform your meals from ho-hum to Hallelujah!

(Dave Cunningham contributed to this article.)

Ready to jump start a healthy New Year?

A systemic cleansing and detox is definitely the way to go after each holiday. It is the key to fighting high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and other health-related illnesses.
~Lee Haney

Want to rev up your health after all the holiday partying and overindulgence? You may want start the new year off right by adding a few changes to your daily routine. A big lifestyle change can seem overwhelming at first. However, really simple changes to your menu plan are not hard at all and help you feel so much better about yourself and what you are doing.

If you want to revive your energy and get started on the right foot, there are a few things you can do right now. Here are three simple things you can do to rest assured you are doing a good job:

1. Rebalance with whole grains

One important benefit of eating whole grains is the high fiber content which helps your intestines stay healthy. One whole grain you can incorporate into your daily routine if you are on a time crunch is 1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal every morning. Starting your day with oatmeal, like steel-cut oats, is ideal for a 24 hour bowel cycle. This will help establish a regular rhythm and rebalance your intestinal function.

2. Cleanse with vegetables

Colorful vegetables not only provide important nutrients, they also help cleanse your body of toxins. Be sure to include these three vegetable categories:

  • Dark greens, like kale chips, are important in your diet for necessary minerals. They also have upward, rising energy which cleanses the liver, helping you feel vibrant and refreshed.
  • Sweet vegetables, like carrots, onion, and parsnip, provide natural sweetness to help curb sugar cravings. These vegetables stabilize blood sugar levels and support spleen and pancreas function.
  • Seasonal vegetables, like winter squash, have the perfect energy you need to harmonize with nature. Eating foods cooked according to the seasons helps you adjust to your environment for a stronger immune system to resist diseases like cancer.

Including one cup of vegetables from each category to your daily regime can help stimulate digestion and cleanse your system.

3. Ground yourself with beans

Low fat, high fiber beans are ideal for maintaining body weight while strengthening intestinal function. Switching from animal protein to vegetable protein in beans helps the body cleanse fatty deposits and prevent heart disease. Beans also have grounding, stabilizing energy which counterbalances destabilizing foods like alcohol. Because long term consumption of animal protein weakens the kidneys and depletes your energy, eating one cup of beans every other day in place of animal protein can help generate more vitality.

A fresh New Year begins with a fresh new you and that means overhauling your health from the inside out. So, no matter what you have planned for your menu, include whole grains, vegetables, and beans and know that you are doing a good thing for you and your family.

Can you incorporate healthy cooking into your jam-packed holiday?

May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Want to find time during this hectic holiday season to cook healthy meals? If you find meal planning overwhelming, you are not alone. It’s all too easy to give in to the temptation to toss a frozen dinner into the microwave. But the reality is, it’s easy to incorporate healthy cooking into your holiday routine.

Here are a few tips to take the stress and anxiety out of planning daily meals for your family and friends.

1. Healthy cooking begins with preparation.

The secret to preparing nutritious, delicious meals in a hurry lies in the preparation. Before you even get out the cutting board and the knife, think about what steps are required to prepare your meal. Cooking can’t begin until the prep work has been done. But once the foods have been soaked or cut, the cooking process itself takes only about a half hour to fifty minutes. Once you retrain your thinking to focus on the prep instead of the cooking, the process goes much faster. Then you can just go into the kitchen and whip up a quick meal, because all the ingredients and components are ready to go.

2. Leftovers are your friends.

The biggest mistake busy home cooks make when planning a meal is not knowing how to use leftovers—repurposing food that has already been cooked in a different, creative way. You can even take it a step further and set aside time on the weekend to precook food to use in your meals during the week. Then when you’re crunched for time, you can whip up a quick meal on the go (and save money at the same time).

3. Design your menu around the largest meal.

If you’re having trouble designing a meal plan, tackle your largest meal first. From there, you can create smaller meals for the rest of the day. For example, if your biggest meal of the day is dinner, begin by listing all of the foods and ingredients you’ll need for that meal. Then your meals for breakfast and lunch will seem much smaller and easier, and won’t take as much time. This helps make the whole process less overwhelming. So instead of getting intimidated by facing three meals a day, just focus on the largest meal and then build the rest around that. Then designing the other two meals, such as porridge for breakfast and maybe a hearty soup for lunch, will be a much easier and more manageable task.

When you follow these basic steps, you’ll not only incorporate healthy cooking into your holiday routine, you’ll also be able to focus on what’s really important– celebrating the holiday season with family and friends.

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