Food Is Not Your Enemy

How Cooking Protects Us From Disease and Obesity

At the start of the 20th century, eating a meal out was a rare treat–only 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home, in fact. But now, 50 percent of our meals are eaten away from home. And when we are actually eating at home these days, many of those meals involve peeling a film off a microwave dinner.

It’s not such a mystery why this has happened. We’re busy! Most men and women are working full time, and there’s usually not someone at home cooking up a roast with three sides to have on the table by 6 p.m. Kids have to be shuttled around to sports practices and lessons. And it’s just so easy to not cook.

But not cooking comes with risks. Relying on fast food means high-calorie, low-nutrient meals. Takeout from the local Chinese or Thai or Indian place means huge portions and perhaps a lot of oil and who knows what else in the food. Frozen dinners tend to come with lots and lots of sodium and additives we’d be better off avoiding.

Taking the time to cook a meal with real, fresh, whole foods can make such a difference when it comes to your health and your weight, even if you cook just a few times a week (make extra for leftovers!). You’ll know exactly what’s in your food. You’ll have better control over your portions. And you’re more likely to make vegetables part of the meal.

These benefits will translate to weight loss and the prevention of the kinds of chronic diseases that come from eating too much sugar, fat, salt, and refined carbs (such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease). Isn’t all that worth some of your time? Plus, you won’t believe how much money you’ll save!