There is another new wave of cooking shows - documentary-style series based on books - unraveling cooking theories and styles. From Cooked by Michael Pollan to Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat, we are in love with food shows, but have we lost our love of cooking?
Cooking is the most basic way to provide nourishment and be in touch with our diet. Touch, smell, taste, sight, are all engaged while cooking. When preparing foods, we become acutely aware of the amount of food and spices we use in preparation. We become more engaged with the quality of the food, as well.
Once we start to dive into cooking, we begin to expand the foods, herbs and spices we cook with. We begin a journey across the globe. We not only seek new foods, but spices, herbs, and preparation methods. We discover the variety of salt alone when we start cooking. (Did you know, that according to Nosrat, Japan has 4,000 different types of salt?)
During the act of cooking and eating, we begin to recognize, or continue to unravel, what works for our own body. This bio-individuality is not readily available in prepackaged foods. By cooking, we begin to better understand what makes our body and mind feel healthy and good, and what foods and spices make our body feel sluggish and unhealthy.
Rani Polak, MD, Chef, MBA and Monique Tello, MD, share in their Harvard University Health Blog, Home cooking: Good for your health, "We already know that the more people cook at home, the healthier their diet, the fewer calories they consume, and the less likely they are to be obese or develop type 2 diabetes. A growing body of scientific evidence supports teaching patients how to cook meals at home as an effective medical intervention for improving diet quality, weight loss, and diabetes prevention."*
Cooking can become a calming meditative process. Like walking, cooking can bring our mind to a singular focus where we are able to chop, taste, and saute while digesting thoughts in a slow, calm manner.
Whether you begin by using recipes, or are an adventurous cook who moves with what's on hand, cooking can provide the artistic space to create something by hand. This artistic process, missing in so many of our lives, can satiate that part of our brain looking to create, providing a sense of fulfillment.
Along with drinking lots of water during the day, cooking can be one of the biggest ways to positively impact one's health.