How Much Time Do You Spend in the Kitchen?

Wow. At the recent Institute for Functional Medicine Annual Symposium, I heard a statistic- the average    American spends 27 minutes daily cooking. But- we watch food shows on TV that are 30 to 60 minutes long. We have allowed the preparation of our food to become an industrial process while we can watch someone else prepare it and lament that we have no time to cook.

Studies are showing that calorie counting isn’t actually that important, as long as we make sure to eat healthy food choices that WE prepare for ourselves, and for each other. Why is that? Well, 80% of the food that is processed and prepared for us has sugar added to it. When we prepare it for ourselves, we stop unintentionally buying so much sugar. When we prepare whatever bread we are going to eat, we’ll likely eat less bread just because it’s not that easy to make. If we take a moment to actively consider how the food we choose to prepare for ourselves and our loved ones is going to nourish our bodies, we are likely to optimize our food choices.

If you ask me about growing up, or about holidays at my house, my memory flashes to the kitchen. My uncle Bob would bring his guitar into the kitchen and we’d all be singing Christmas carols or folk songs or Elvis ballads while Mom directed each of us in some preparatory task. On a more mundane level, my sister and I spent a lot of time solving the problems of the world, with Mom’s help, while we prepared the evening meals.

So what is the take home message here? Turn off the TV- stop watching someone else cook and get into the kitchen and COOK! Cook with the people that will be sharing in the meal. If we make an effort to get the entire family in the kitchen, working together to prepare our meals, we’ll add extra ingredients that you can’t buy in food that’s been processed outside of your home: Gratitude. Intention. Mindful choice. Love.