“Corporations cook very differently than people do.”
So said Michael Pollan, the author and activist, in “How Cooking Can Change Your Life,” a phenomenal talk given in London in 2013. If you’ve read any of his work (e.g., the fantastic Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which also has a young reader’s edition, and Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation), you’ll recognize the themes: the invasion of food additives and their potential impact on health, the rise of industrialized cooking, and the decline of homemade meals since the 1950s.
In most cases, Pollan and I see eye to eye. Although for me the emphasis is placed upon culinary medicine, that is, using food to help prevent and control common health conditions. We’re completely aligned in the area of cooking, specifically on the point that you can never do too much of it.
A study by researchers at Emory University suggests that Americans eat fewer than 70 percent of their meals at home. There is also a low percentage of fresh, whole foods purchased, compared to the disproportionately high sales of frozen, already-cooked meals.
To help boost your health, strive to cook at home more often. From choosing your ingredients, to preparing and cooking for nutrient preservation, home cooking allows you to have complete control over what goes into your body.
Cooking at home also allows you the ability to manage food allergies and sensitivities, as well as portion sizes. Furthermore, regularly preparing and eating healthy home cooked meals will help train your palate to enjoy healthier fare, while improving your creative cooking skills.
Cooking more can require some adjustments in your schedule, but making time for it will reward you in spades. You’ll save money and improve your health.
If you’re short on time, try setting 1-2 days aside each week to do cooking for the week. Cook in large enough quantities that you can enjoy your home-cooked food as left-overs. On your cooking days, clean, prepare and package raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery or chard for quick grab and go snacks. Remember to store food in glass whenever possible.
If you are at a loss on how to start cooking at home, check out classes offered locally. If you are in a very small town, consider placing a classified add for someone to teach you or check out any one of hundreds of online cooking websites and videos.