I love food. I love eating it, I love cooking it, and I love learning about what it does inside our bodies. So why is it that every time I have a conversation with my friends about which housekeeping job I would outsource if I could, I always say the cooking? I have been thinking about this a lot recently, and this is what I came up with.
Cooking for a family sucks. You have to do it three times a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, FOREVER! That is a serious amount of cooking. Plus there is the planning, grocery shopping, and prepping to add to the equation. Then factor in the customers. I have a fickle, outspoken, and picky four year old, and a two year old who still won’t progress beyond homemade baby food and hummus. Their desire to eat my food is also inversely related to the amount of effort I have put in – the greater my effort, the less their desire. This always results in me taking their refusal to eat as a personal affront to my culinary skills, leading to a grumpy mama. Then there is the added requirement to make the food healthy, nutritious, varied, colorful, the right shape, the right temperature, and be displayed on the correct plate (which changes daily) – it is a logistical nightmare that, frankly, would take up all my time if I didn’t have a million other things to do.
Ultimately, keeping a family properly fed (or, for that matter, keeping yourself properly fed, whether you live alone, with a mate, or with a whole brood), is a huge undertaking that is often not appreciated by the recipients. And because this is unlikely to change any time soon, one of my summer resolutions has been to change my mentality about cooking for my family. So I have decided that, instead of thinking about it as yet another housekeeping chore, I will appreciate it for what it really is – the critical task of establishing and sustaining the health of my entire family, of which I should feel immensely proud.
Good nutrition is hugely important in laying the foundation for good health later in life, as well as maintaining existing good health, and preventing many chronic diseases. Here are just a few things that eating nutritious food does for our bodies:
(1) Enables our bodies to grow and develop properly.
(2) Provides us with the energy needed to go about our daily activities.
(3) Allows bodily tissue to be repaired.
(4) Keeps our skeletons strong.
(5) Fights free radicals and other damaging foreign bodies.
(6) Helps prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
(7) Helps children achieve optimal bone mass to help prevent osteoporosis in later life.
(8) Reduces the risk of developing many cancers, including breast (in women past menopause), colon, rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, and kidney cancer.
That is a pretty formidable list of what eating healthy food does for our bodies. So next time I am feeling unappreciated, overworked, frustrated, or uninspired while preparing meals for my family, I am going to look back at this list and remember that the food I am making is helping keep my family fit, healthy, and strong.