The Importance of Your Kitchen

September 18, 2016

I was extremely fortunate to grow up with a mother who loved to cook.
I was raised eating homemade meals pretty much every day. I believe this instilled my love of eating, but it also has made me realize the value of preparing food yourself.

I didn’t develop much of an interest in cooking until I started living a plant based lifestyle. I knew that if I wanted to eat healthily, I couldn’t rely on restaurants or pre-made meals at the grocery store to help me do that.The best thing about being so passionate about this lifestyle, is I WANT to prepare my meals. I want to eat wholesome, life-giving breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks! Even though this may require a bit of time, I know I will be much happier in the long run if I make the space for it.

A lot of Americans don’t feel as I do.

According to a report on Bloomberg.com, Americans are spending more money dining out than they are on groceries, for the first time ever.

In March, sales at restaurants and bars surpassed those at grocery stories for the first time since the Commerce Department started collecting data in 1992.

 

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I wasn’t entirely surprised at these statistics as it seems to be the norm as far as social interactions and group/couple entertainment goes. I, however, have been finding a lot of fulfillment and health benefits to preparing my own food lately. I wanted to share with you, my top 5 reasons as to why I see the importance of spending a little more time in your kitchen. Here they are!

1. You are worth it!

This is by far the most important reason. You only have one body on this earth and what else do you really need to do other than taking care of it?!

Our society doesn’t foster this idea, instead of telling you that your job, career path, school or social media accounts are more important than taking time for yourself. I’m not saying that these others things are not important, however, I’m simply saying that your body and your wellness should come first. Then you will be able to succeed more wholly at all other avenues of your life.

Take time out of your day to make sure that you are being properly nourished and hydrated.

Prepare the night before school and work. Wake up a few minutes early to pack your food for the day.

Eat a big breakfast.

Make lots of smoothies.

Get excited about what you are going to make for dinner.

Be passionate about your body!

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2. It’s healthier!

Even though there are a lot more vegan options popping up in many restaurants, you still can’t be entirely sure where the products are coming from. Most restaurants don’t have organic

Most restaurants don’t have organic produce and vegetables and you don’t know how they are cooking your meal. For example, the restaurant that I work at is not vegan, but they have a veggie burger option.

After eating it, my stomach felt awful and my digestion was off for the rest of the day. I came to the conclusion that the oil they cooked the burger in was probably processed oil.

When I make my food at home, I use coconut oil, hemp or avocado oil. I know my body can process these correctly. There are a lot of vegan processed foods out there, that I try to avoid to maintain my health.

You can be an unhealthy vegan. I find that cooking for myself, I am more apt to use fresh and soy free ingredients because I’m controlling what I buy.

Part of being vegan is being mindful, and in being mindful you need to know where your food is coming from.

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3. It’s a stress reliever!

I look forward to preparing my food. I plan what I’m going to make for dinner early in the day and am excited about what I’m going to create.

Most of me and Marty’s meals are quite simple, but they require some kind of assembling or thinking about flavor combinations. I feel very at ease as I chop my veggies, season my sweet potatoes or stir my rice. Cooking or preparing food is a creative act.

I feel very at ease as I chop my veggies, season my sweet potatoes or stir my rice. Cooking or preparing food is a creative act.

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Homemade Tabouli!

The kitchen is your canvas and you have the power to invent and construct anything you want! And with the added confirmation that you are going to fill your body with exactly what it needs. I feel a sense of calmness and quiet and my stress seems to fade away.

4. It’s cheaper!

As you know, going out to eat is expensive!

Marty and I often find that when we dine at a restaurant, we spend the same amount on two meals that could have been enough ingredients at the grocery store for over four or five meals. Once we cut eating out from our budget we were saving a lot more money.

On average, we spend about $120 on groceries, a week, between our local farmers market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. We buy a lot of the same ingredients each week and split the cost of whatever we spend. I think this is a very reasonable amount to be spending on two people. There are many ways to reduce your grocery bill, especially if you are mainly buying local fruits and vegetables or if you shop at places like Trader Joe’s.

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Sesame Ginger Jackfruit with sweet potatoes and mushrooms!

5. You learn to find other ways to entertain yourself!

Our culture thrives off going to bars and eating out. It’s our way of socializing. It’s something to do.

Once you eliminate this from your life, you will start to find other ways to spend your time.

Sometimes while our food is cooking, Marty will put music on and draw.

Sometimes we will read. We might just sit and talk about our day, or watch a Youtube video together.

I have been finding that I get more reading done and thus am learning so much more now that I have decided that it is okay to be home more often that not. I’m nourishing my mind while waiting to nourish my body. I’d say it was a win, win.

I would like to add, that I am not completely against restaurants. I have worked in them for years and I genuinely enjoy finding a great place to eat. There are a few great places in or around Long Beach, that Marty and I will make special trips to, if we are craving something or have the extra money.

However, I feel that Americans have been over doing it and our health has significantly decreased because of it. Again, I think it all comes down to the idea that your body is a sacred place and you should treat it as such by eating foods that are going to help you and make you the best version of yourself.

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Foods that the earth has given us!

Have a happy, healthy day 🙂

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