Getting Away From Fast Food

There’s a common misconception that fast food costs less than food prepared at home. That’s partly because of massive corporate marketing budgets and campaigns from food companies that influence our thinking. Actually, cooking food at home costs less per person than the typical $5.00–$7.00 fast-food “value” meal.

So Why Aren’t People Cooking More?
If healthy home-cooked food costs less than fast food, why isn’t everyone cooking at home? Here are some reasons:

We’re out of practice. One of the big reasons people think fast food is cheaper than slow food is that we’re not cooking as often.The path toward fresh, healthy food being affordable and easy for everyone is cooking. It’s getting in the kitchen if you’re able to.”

We fear it. Cooking is easier than most people think—especially inexperienced cooks. However, in our sedentary culture, we watch so many cooking shows that cooking may seem like something only expert chefs can handle. But cooking is something that’s really simple that people have been doing since the beginning of time and building into their lives. Part of it is just getting over that fear.

We overcommit and under plan. We’re all working more hours, and it’s tough to find the time to cook, it doesn’t take long. Fifteen minutes a day can get you healthy, affordable food. But it takes a little bit of planning—and that’s key. You have to think in terms of ‘Let me see if I can prepare a big pot of something on Sunday that I can eat throughout the week. What are the things I can freeze?’ All of that really helps.”

Educating Yourself
So, if you’d like to cook more frequently, try these ideas:

Get in the kitchen. You have to practice cooking to become proficient. If someone you know is a good home cook and understands how to create a healthy, simple meal, make a cooking date. Select the recipes, shop together, make the food together, then sit down together and eat what you’ve made.

Hire talent to help you. Hire a personal chef or a local culinary school to lead a cooking class for you and some friends. Make it a social event where you not only get to participate in the food preparation (for practice), but also eat the results. Ask the chef to keep things basic, healthy and inexpensive.

Learn to prep and plan meals for the week. Try cooking in bulk at home once per week (Sunday is usually a good choice) and freeze or refrigerate the food for quick reheating during the week. For example, roast a chicken and a large pan of root veggies, bake a handful of sweet potatoes, and make a large pot of chili or soup. Wash, chop and dry all of your produce for the week. With these tasks done, you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less.

Learn basic knife skills and invest in at least one good knife. Nothing makes cooking more pleasurable (or miserable) than a good (or bad) knife. If you’ve never used a professional-grade knife, take a basic knife skills class or search YouTube for videos on the topic.

Every success story was accomplished by executing a thought out plan. Failing to prepare is preparing to Fail.

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Lose 10 Pounds In 10 Minutes!

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If that sounds too good to be true, how about: Lose 18 Pounds in Four Days! Is this still too hard to believe? Then, you might want to Lose Five Full Inches of Ugly Belly Fat in Just 30 Days! Better yet, simply swallow a Weight Loss Pill Clinically Proven to Melt Belly Fat!

These and many other claims scream at you from all corners. Magazine covers, infomercials, Google searches, and billboards all pitch quick and easy results if you take this pill or follow that diet or buy this new book. The ads are always filled with fit-looking models chosen to sell a product they have, almost certainly, never used or a diet book they have never read. In fact, can you keep a dirty, little secret? They have all added time in the gym and watched their diet extra closely in the weeks prior to the commercial shoot.

That’s their secret.

The secret to permanent weight loss isn’t a secret if you consistently exercise and follow a diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains and nuts and seeds. So why do you have less than a 50/50 shot, according to studies, of maintaining your exercise program beyond six months? Frustration over a perceived lack of results is the number one reason. The hard truth is many of the benefits of exercise are not as easy to spot as Buns of Steel.

Increased energy: The right combination of exercise and nutrition creates a hormonal environment conducive to fat loss, increased muscle strength and increased energy. When your body is working at peak efficiency, your energy levels soar. As a result, everyday things become easier to do.

Increased Self-Esteem: Choosing to begin and continue a fitness program – even when you don’t feel like it – is an amazing way to increase self-esteem. You look better and are more confident, which empowers you in everything you do. You’ll find the self-discipline required and learned through regular exercise spills over into other areas of your life.

Increased Mental Focus: Did you know that the latest research shows that exercise helps keep the brain sharp well into old age? Anything which involves mental acuity (focus and concentration) is improved. You also stand a much better chance of avoiding such diseases as Alzheimer’s and senility.

Decreased Risk of a Heart Attack: By exercising regularly and making positive changes in your diet, you lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and greatly diminish the chances of having a heart attack. One reason is because the action of your muscles pumping blood back to your heart actually stretches the heart, thereby increasing its efficiency even when you are not working out.

Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis: Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it by building bone tissue. In short, the stress lifting weights puts on your bones causes them to adapt and get stronger, just like your muscles.

Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer: Estradiol and progesterone, two ovarian hormones linked to breast cancer tumor production, are lowered in the body by exercise. A woman’s body is most susceptible to these hormones during the time between ovulation and menstruation. Habitual exercise can actually delay ovulation until later in the menstrual cycle. This reduces the time she must fight these hormones. Fat has long been known to be a catalyst in the production of estrogen (estradiol). Regular exercise burns body fat and decreases the rate of estrogen production.

Increased Strength and Stamina: Your body interprets exercise as stress and adapts to handle that stress with less effort. These adaptations benefit your heart, lungs and central nervous system, while also affecting your muscles. The degree to which adaptations occur is dependent on the type of exercise and the intensity of your workout.

Reduced Depression: The production of Endorphins (feel good hormones) is increased through exercise. Nothing improves mood and suppresses depression better than those endorphins.Decreased Stress Levels: The worries and stresses of everyday living (commuting, work demands, the candy bowl on your secretary’s desk) can stick with you long after the work day is done. Exercise is the perfect natural therapy that can change your mood. You’ll sleep better too.

These are the obvious results we must praise, and find strength in. If we compel ourselves to defeat our demons, change our bad habits, live that lifestyle that we only dream of, and laugh at the face of failure, maybe just maybe, we might get lucky and make a dream come true.