Tips To Help You Enjoy and Stick To Home Cooking?

Japanese girls cooking

Credit: Katerina Holmes

Almost any expert on nutrition will agree on the fact that cooking is the most efficient way to eat healthier. So what is the deal with cooking? Well, there is no doubt that when you start cooking for yourself, you will be less likely to feed on processed food.

The ideal is to avoid processed foods as much as you can, which seems like an impossible thing to do in our current society. Processed foods are like addictive drugs.  Most Processed foods have fewer nutrition values and highly pack with  Sugar, salt, and fat. Our brain seems to enjoy more and more of these 3 ingredients, even though too much of them in the body is harmful. U.S top killer diseases like diabetes or coronary heart disease can be directly linked to a processed-food-based diet.

The good news is that this addiction can be overcome by adopting a healthy lifestyle and it will cost you even less money.

The most important aspect of this healthy lifestyle is cooking your own food. Yeah, that’s right! 🙂 🥗

I find it controversial that we love cooking (cooking videos are one of the most video categories with a lot of views on social media), but the majority of us (at least in the U.S) don’t actually cook much. Most people will tell you they don’t have the time to cook on a regular basis or they don’t know how to cook.

Don’t blame us, our modern way of living has forgotten the values of home cooking. Cooking seems to be so old fashion for most millennials like me and the younger generation. Even older generations seem to have given that up too.

But if you know the benefits of cooking your own foods, I think you will always make cooking part of your routine no matter how busy you are or your skills at fixing a meal.

Think of cooking as a long term investment for your health and wellbeing

A couple enjoying time at the beach

Credit: Anna Shvets

What you eat today will decide how you feel tomorrow. Did you know the top 10 killer diseases in the United States are tied to poor diet? For example, Coronary heart disease takes more than 300,000 lives each year, and diabetes kills more than 70,000 people.

Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive cancers can take years to develop in our body. They are usually related to a poor diet and often show up symptoms when they are more advanced and get too complicated.

Poor diet is mostly linked to eating processed and restaurants. Keep in mind that the food industry is a for-profit business. Their business model is to start with cheap food, processed it as much as possible, and making it attractive with salt, fat, and sugar. Not saying that there are no good guys out there,  but it is always good to be mindful of that.

You are in control when you cook at home for yourself. You know exactly the ingredients you are cooking with. Many food experts recommend those whole plant-based foods are the best choice for cooking. Not only plant-based foods are pack with valuable nutrients,  but they are also less in calories.  As a result,  your body will likely get all the necessary nutrients to stay healthy preventing you from many diseases down the road.

Processed foods are a bad food source because most of their nutrients will be removed in the processing.  They are then filled with sugar, salt, and fat to make them tasty. Foods are processed so they could last longer on the shelf before they become perishable. Nutritious dense foods usually will go bad faster because they are more attractive to bacteria and fungi.

Another good side of eating more plants and nuts is that you will increase your fiber intake. Fiber is important for our digestive system and the gut microbiome. (you can learn more on gut microbes here)

Think of cooking as a way to save money

A piggy bank

Credit: maitree rimthong

Cooking can be a good way to make you save money. Fresh whole foods like tomatoes, onions, kales, and other vegetables usually cost less than ingredients that are processed. Even with a small budget, you could cook more meals for weeks. These fresh ingredients are usually more perishable than the processed ones, so stores will want them to go faster to avoid losing money. In consequence, they will be more in sales and at a discounted price.

If you don’t cook much,  you could find yourself spending a lot on every meal you buy. It will also be harder for you to control your monthly food budget.

I remember my college years, I was able to slash my monthly food budget from $200 to $100 by cooking home food instead of eating out.

Think of cooking as an enjoyable activity

A family enjoying home cooking

Credit: August de Richelieu

Before I fell in love with cooking, I thought of it as a burden that could not fit my lifestyle. I was too busy with school and other activities that cooking was something at the bottom of my priorities.

One thing that triggered my desire to start cooking was that I was living in a food desert area in St. Louis, Missouri. A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, in contrast with an area with higher access to supermarkets or vegetable shops with fresh foods, which is called a food oasis.

Not only I would spend time and energy to go buy food, but I was also not a big fan of the fast-food restaurants and other types of restaurants in the area.  There is nothing worst when paying for food that doesn’t taste good and less nutritious. 😤

When I finally gave cooking a try, I quickly noticed that it actually made me feel better. The time I spent cooking actually helped me relieve all the stress I had from school and life in general.  When I was cooking meals,  I forgot about all the lengthy homework that was haunting me. It was a little like going to the gym feeling. I never look back again and since then cooking has become part of me.

It is true that cooking can be very exhausting and messy, but to help enjoy it, think of it as a hobby that could help you break your routine. You could even play your favorite songs while cooking to make it even enjoyable!

If you are living with your family, delegating cooking tasks to each other could lift the burden and hard work. Plus, it is an efficient way to reinforce bonds with your loved ones and teaching cooking culture to the little ones.

Why Do I Feel Sluggish During Winter?

Most of us feel to need to hibernate when winter months hit.😴

The beautiful sunny, warmer, and long days are long gone, replaced by darker, colder, and shorter days.🥶

It suddenly becomes a herculean task getting out of bed in the morning. When you finally succeed in the challenge of getting up early, come Mid-day fatigue which rises to another level. At the end of the day, you are thinking to go to the gym but only you realize that it is becoming an impossible task – even though that was something you rocked during the summer and fall.

Days after days, the same routine repeatedly. This makes you feel not the best of yourself. Then you may wonder what wrong with you? Well, chances are you are just suffering from winter related-fatigue.

You are not alone feeling this way during the winter times. There are even scientific reasons people feel more tired during winter than they do during other seasons.

The goods news is you can take control of your body with steps to stay energetic and fight fatigue, even during the darkest days of winter.🙂

1. Welcome in some sunlight

A person playing in a sunny day

A person playing on a sunny day. Photo Credit:  Pexels

I live in New  York City in an apartment where I get little natural light from the sun in my room. So I usually go outside more often to get some sunlight whenever is a sunny day. It’s such a beautiful feeling and life pleasure!

If you can get enough sunlight in your living space, make sure your space is lit with sunlight as much as you can. Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you get up, and get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible.

Sunlight is closely tied to human biology. Have you ever wonder why everyone enjoys a nice sunny day?☀️

Melatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. When we are in dark, our body produces more melatonin, which leads us to feel more fatigue and tiredness. It is like our internal light switch.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “the change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood”

2. Eat the right food

A vegetable meal

Photo Credit: Buenosia Carol (Pexels)

Food is with no denial of the ingredient that binds us together!  No matter your culture, race, ethnicity, or national origin, we all enjoy eating.😊

But eating the right foods for our well being is another story. Food is so yummy that we can easily go out of control with it. So it should be wised to know what to eat and to have just a little bit of discipline with foods.😁

According to the Nation Health Service (NHS), “Once the summer ends, there’s a temptation to ditch the salads and fill up on starchy foods such as pasta, potatoes, and bread. However, you’ll have more energy if you include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your comfort meals.”

It’s advised to avoid foods containing lots of sugar. “They may give you a rush of energy, but it’s one that wears off quickly.”

Also, prioritize eating foods rich with vitamin D because we tend to be deficient during winter. This is due to the fact that we usually get less sun exposure.  Vitamin D can be found in oily fish (mackerel, tuna, and sardines), mushrooms, and fortified dairy and non-dairy substitutes.

You can also get it from dietary supplements. But note that there is a limit to the daily intake of vitamin D. Talking to a physician or having a blood test can better inform you of your vitamin D level.

A blood test revealed that I was low in vitamin D earlier this year. My doctor then prescribed me some supplements that really helped me out.

3. Stay active

A photo of me at a park in Brooklyn, NY

A photo of me at a park in Brooklyn, NY

Eating well to stay healthy is only one part of the equation. There is another commitment in the deal we must do. And that is to make sure our body exercises regularly.

What’s simple as that?🤗

Movement is necessary to maintain and maximize our mental health. Doctors are recommending movement as medication in almost every condition as science supports its efficacy. A doctor interviewed by Wellbeing magazine discussed the importance of exercising. ” Exercise is the magic pill,” says Michael R Bracko, chairman of the American College of Sports Medicine’s  Consumer Information Committee.

Though, the spread of the COVID-19 doesn’t appear to slow down or go away anytime soon. A second lockdown is looming, making things harder to go to the gym or stay longer outside.

Many gyms will certainly shut down or have limited opening hours in case of the second wave of government restrictions.

Chilly temperature and lockdown are two perfect ingredients to make us feel lazy and not to do anything. Instead, the comfort from our couch or bed will attract us more and we may want to stay in for a longer time.

Luckily, there are still some fun and easy ways to stay active at home with various workout equipment. And they can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. 😊

On a side note, I would like you to know that I have been recovering from an ACL sprain since March 2020. Home workout equipment like resistance bands has been very helpful to get me fit. Despite they are used for low-impact exercise, they are great to build muscle.

Please note that you should talk to your doctor if you thing have an underlying condition that may cause you to feel low energy during winter

Bellow some home workout equipment deals with some going more to 50% off the original price. You might want to check out!

MoKo Resistance Bands with Handles

MoKo Resistance Bands with Handles

Deal ends Nov 21, 2020, 12:00PM

$15.56  (68% off). Get it Now

CIXI Resistance Bands Pedal Tension Rope with Handle

Deal ends Nov, 28, 12:00PM

$9.99 (83% off).  Get it Now

Jump Rope for aerobic exercice

Deal ends Nov, 24, 12:00PM

$9.56  52% off). Get it Now

Primasole Yoga Mat

Deal ends Nov, 26, 12:00PM

$13.73  (45% off). Get it Now

MOOND  Fabric Resistance Bands

Nov 17, 2020, 12:00 PM

$13.29 (56% off). Get it Now