There’s a growing awareness that processed foods with all their additives and subtractives are harmful to humans. Yet often after running errands and dealing with children’s fusses and my own tiredness, it was just one more overwhelm to go home and cook the dinner I had planned. So the drive-through window at McDonald’s was an irresistibly easy solution to hungry bellies right after soccer practice.
So there were those years of fast foods. And grocery stores continue presenting more convenience food choices, often much cheaper than the healthy choices. All alluring until I had pneumonia, then a year later, strep throat, and after that the tough times with anxiety and insomnia. Traumatic and not bouncing back.
The good news is that there is a huge arsenal of foods, herbs, drinks, supplements, and people who have either overcome huge health challenges or people who are brave health professionals stepping away from traditional medicine to help people get past dire diagnoses to become healthier than ever. I certainly feel better this year than the past few, even though I know I’ve still got a way to go.
I love to read amazing testimonials of people with high blood pressure, thyroid issues, cancer, ADD/ADHD, or diabetes, finding hope and restored health through a diet of real foods, unedited by monosodium glutamate, etc. Of course there are other components to health recovery such as exercise, good sleep, getting rid of toxic relationships and embracing those good for us, meaningful work, a purpose in life and a faith that works. But food is a huge piece of the puzzle.
So if you’ve neglected your kitchen as much as I have in the past, it’s not easy to get in there and cook. Seems I had to heal my perspective on the kitchen. Growing up I had little time in the kitchen learning to cook, so when I had children of my own to feed several times a day, I wasn’t ready for that. The kitchen was a place of drudgery, especially because cooking alone. All I knew was moms cook solo so that’s what I did. A Rachael Ray model of enthusiasm would’ve been a boon about that time.
However, deciding to cook and eat my way to better health wasn’t easy. I was dealing with adrenal fatigue. Walking into the kitchen just made me feel really overwhelmed at times. I felt like I was on the Titanic, about to go down. I felt ashamed. Learning to be kind to myself and becoming grateful to be in my kitchen to prepare simple and delicious meals kept my boat afloat.
Cooking now is more pleasure than it ever was. I’ve caught on to the joys of real foods, so I’m not going back to kitchen doldrums. If I do start to feel overwhelmed with dirty dishes and too much to do, I just decide not to be overwhelmed and go gently about my work. Don’t stir up unnecessary frustration, self-pity, or worry-hurry about getting it all done. Not going there. Negative thinking is overrated, isn’t it?
And the solution to overwhelm is easy! Enlist the help of others in the household, or a friend or even guests invited to supper love to help. Some of my favorite moments this past year were having my husband, granddaughter, and myself standing in front of 3 chopping boards and wielding knives to chop carrots, onions, celery, and garlic so we could whip up a pot of soup. Our own “Chopped!” edition.
Like a magnet we come to the kitchen for companionship, sustenance, a sense of belonging more to ourselves and each other. Even little ones can putter on the floor with a bowl of water and some measuring cups, experiencing the wonders of pouring from one object to another, a sort of pre-training for all the magic of cooking days to come.
The kitchen is the heart of the home for many of us. I’m thankful to have healed my poor, neglected kitchen by giving it a lot more love, attention, and presence. Heal the kitchen, and the soul and body begin to heal too.