Do you like cooking? Even if you don’t let me show you a few ways how cooking can bring balance into your life.
Cooking is a very simple task that you perform every day without thinking much about it. Unless you are a professional cook you do not think about cooking as an essential part of balanced living. I did not think about it until recently.
The other day I was cooking my husband’s favorite dish – spaghetti with marinara sauce. It is a very basic recipe that is extremely easy, healthy and tasty at the same time. While I was cooking I realized that at that moment I was balancing my life. Cooking is an essential ritual for balanced living.
Cooking develops creativity. Take a few basic ingredients and think how many different dishes you can fix. The possibilities are practically endless if you really think hard about it. You can use a cookbook at first when you are an inexperienced cook but later try to use your creativity to come up with new ideas for supper. If you train your mind this way then it will be easy for you to come up with interesting ideas in business or your everyday life.
You put love into every meal. Think about your childhood and how your mom used to fix your favorite dish. Even if you order the same dish at the most expensive restaurant or try to follow the same recipe your mom’s creation will still taste a million times better. The difference is the love that she always puts into her cooking.
When you cook you can give your family the best tasting food and put your heart and love into every meal. Nothing is more pleasant than a smile on your child’s or your loved one’s face when they eat their favorite meal that you fixed for them.
Cooking is calming. You take everything one step at a time, you concentrate on the present moment of cooking, you do some monotonous activities (like chopping or stirring) that calm your body and mind. Cooking is like meditation because you can quiet your mind.
Create delicious meals. Healthy and tasty food is an important part of balanced living. Humans are programmed to like foods that are not healthy (chocolate cake, ice-cream, chips, French fries) but when you cook yourself you can transform the unhealthy recipes into healthier versions. Instead of having French fries you can fix roasted potato wedges and instead of using a cake mix you can fix your own chocolate cake without gluten (if somebody in your family is allergic to it) or with half the fat. When you cook you can choose the best ingredients for yourself and for your family and avoid all the chemicals and trans fats that are commonly used in precooked meals.
Cooking clears your mind. While you are chopping celery you are chopping off negative thoughts. You can feel new ideas and plans cooking up in your head. You can organize your thoughts and find solution to the problems you’ve been thinking about lately. I come up with half of my blog post ideas while I am cooking (the other half I get while running) so you can use cooking to come up with new ideas for your life.
Cooking gives new experiences. If you want to break the routine (which you should do to feel in balance) then having a little adventure is always the best way to do that. You can have adventures in your kitchen almost every day that won’t cost any money (other than the cost of the ingredients of course) but will bring plenty of new emotions. Try new recipes, new cuisines, new ways of cooking, new tastes and feel the excitement of discovery.
Cooking brings family together. If you are busy all week long and you do not get enough time to spend with your kids or your loved ones then you can have a great time cooking together. You’ll have enough time to do some catching up on the news in each other’s lives, you’ll laugh and talk together, and you’ll experience new things and learn to help each other. There is no better way to teach your kids about healthy eating than to invite them to a cooking party. They’ll be more willing to try new things (like green veggies that they do not normally like) and appreciate healthy foods.
You can also have a romantic cooking date with your partner. A few months ago my husband and I tried to fix our own sushi rolls. We had the best time in the kitchen together; it was a romantic date that was absolutely awesome.
Cooking lets you be alone. If you have kids then you can ask your spouse to take care of them and have some alone time while cooking. Even if you do not have kids you can still enjoy this time without any people around you. This is your time to reflect on your life and to enjoy silence.
Cooking is a mindfulness practice. If you are not mindful while cooking then you risk slicing your finger open or burning the entire meal (I did both ). Even if you do not meditate or practice mindfulness in any other way, cooking is a basic ritual to get you in the habit of being mindful of your life.
Cooking is exercise. While you cook you usually stand a lot, lift heavy pots and pans, move around the kitchen, bend and squat. While you cook you definitely burn more calories than when you order take-out or eat at a restaurant. I usually do some squats, stretches or lunges while I am waiting for the water to boil or for the pancakes to turn brown. Even 5 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all.
Balanced living is not about some difficult spiritual practices or grand notions. Balanced living consists of simple everyday activities that you can turn into sources of inspiration for your everyday life. Cooking is one of those things but there are others like working on cars, cleaning the house, working in the garden and many-many others. If you want to live a balanced life you should start paying more attention to your everyday tasks and treat them like sources of inspiration rather than boring routines.