My two older sisters are chefs, yet there was a time when my cooking ability was the butt of family jokes. My one sister thoughtfully gifted me a copy of The Joy of Cooking when I moved into my first apartment, but I found the classic tome terribly intimidating. I still recall scratching my head and wondering what exactly the phrase “fold in the remaining ingredients” was instructing me to do.
A History of Being A Reluctant Cook
I avoided cooking during the better part of my 20s. After my son was born, I became determined to provide more healthy home cooked meals. Thanks to the aid of some user-friendly cookbooks, I became a passable cook in my 30s. However, unlike my sisters, preparing meals has never been my primary focus. I am an artist/graphic designer and educator by profession. So despite now being in my mid-forties with a grown son and a nearly grown daughter – regardless of years of conditioning – I continue to be surprised at the end of each day when I need to pull my mind from my latest project and make dinner. I’ve developed strategies to combat this challenge, which, if I’m being completely honest, include persuading my husband to cook or declaring a ‘fend for yourself night’ among other time saving options.
Formerly Fearful of Produce
In addition to being slow to grasp the finer nuances of meal planning, I also experienced moments of bewilderment when confronted with all but the most basic whole food ingredients. This wasn’t much of a problem when I considered ice cream to be a food group, but when I hit 40 and the scale passed a number previously only associated with pregnancy, I decided perhaps I should learn the difference between Kale, Collard Greens and Swiss Chard and what the heck one might do with those piles of green things in the produce section. I changed my lifestyle and adopted a whole food plant-based way of eating. Shortly thereafter my daughter was diagnosed with a wheat allergy so I added gluten-free to the mix.
Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher
I learned that making tasty wholesome meals doesn’t have to be time consuming or intimidating. I know from experience, as well as from my daughter’s struggle with food allergies, that good nutrition really does help you look and feel better. I have maintained a healthy weight for over three years and the teacher in me wants to help others achieve similar goals. Believe me – if I can do it, so can you!
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