Can cooking help maintain a healthy mind and psyche? I think it can.
I’m writing this during an unprecedented time that will go down in the history books, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. In efforts to prevent the spread of this contagious disease, many of us, Wildwood Grilling included, are practicing the act of self-isolation. As the food service industry is somewhat put on hold, we have inevitably been thrown into a position where cooking for ourselves and co-inhabitants has become a necessity.
I have a 4 year old daughter. Helen is like all kids her age, ever curious. I am an avid collector of cookbooks and she often picks one up, flips through the pages, and decides we need to make “that one”. After a rummage through the fridge and pantry she pulls out her little green chair, slides it up to the kitchen counter next to me, and we start cooking. We call this cooking adventure “Green Chair Cooking”. I absolutely love cooking with my kids and amongst other things find it calming, satisfying, and rewarding.
Cooking for yourself and others does several things to one’s psyche and wellbeing. Most of all, I believe it helps to quiet a busy racing mind by forcing us to focus on the task at hand, bringing us back into the present moment. When we are focused on the current moment, our worries can can gently fade, or at least be lessened.
There is a lot of truth to the saying that a healthy body is a healthy mind. When we do our own cooking, we are fully aware of the ingredients. We can cut back on processed foods and artificial ingredients by cooking from scratch if we choose to. We can also cook it just the way we like it.
Creativity contributes to our overall mental health by keeping the mind active and engaged. Cooking at home and staying away from quick runs to the store will encourage you to cook with what you have. This requires some level of imagination to make something that is delicious and satisfying to put on your table.
For some extra immune boosting ingredient ideas you can incorporate, check out this blog I wrote last week.
As we focus on food and rediscover the meditative joy that cooking can bring, we may just find that our spirits are lifted at the accomplishment of a delicious meal. So, pull up that green chair, fire up your grill or oven, and put something special on the table.