I have a confession. I am health coach but I don't really like to cook. Nothing in the kitchen comes naturally to me. The timing, the organization, the combining of flavors. None of it. I am messy and unorganized. I can easily use about 20 different utensils to prepare one simple meal. I have yet to figure out how all the spoons and forks are dirty by the time the dish is prepared and ready to eat. Now that I think about it, maybe this is one reason why I don't like the clean up process. Too many damn utensils to wash.
When I first started getting into nutrition and learning about real food, I went through a phase where I tried to convince myself that I enjoyed being in the kitchen. I spent time checking out food blogs and attempting new recipes. I tried to like it. I really did. I gave it valiant effort. But no dice. It's just not my thing.
But do you know what else I don't like?
- I don't like that most packaged foods in this country contain harmful and addictive substances.
- I don't like that sugar, a substance proven to be more addictive than cocaine and directly linked to many lifestyle illnesses, is in just about everything. And I also don't like that it is deceptively labeled so that we don't even realize how much sugar we are consuming. Have you ever noticed that the percentage of recommended daily allowance for sugar is omitted? More on this later!
- I don't like that the food industry markets highly processed junk food to my kids and that these products are placed precisely at a child's eye level in the grocery store so that my children want to buy them every time they see them.
- I don't like that there are food labs that determine a product's bliss point - creating the perfect combination of fat, salt, and/or sugar to ensure that I, as a consumer, find it highly desirable and crave it each time I see it.
- I don't like that so many packaged foods now try to sell "all natural" in an effort to make me think that I am eating something healthy. When, in fact, the product is often over processed and void of any real nutrition.
- I don't like that a 'cage-free' egg could mean that the hen who laid it lived her entire life inside a dark, crowded barn without stepping foot outdoors.
- I don't like that it costs more to eat well. Thanks in part to government subsidies and loads of preservatives that ensure long lasting shelf-lives. Two big factors that drive the cost of processed food way down.
The list could go on and on but the bottom line is that our current food system sets us up for failure. Over and over and over again.
But the good news is that setting ourselves up for success can start in our own kitchen. It starts by creating an immediate food environment that encourages us to make healthy choices. And it starts with voting with our food dollar and by making conscious choices about what we put on our plates.
I will never pretend that I have it all figured out. I am not a chef nor am I a foodie. I am not a mom who knows how to make cooking with her kids fun. Seriously, who are the women out there who can do this anyway?! Please come teach me.
I wear a lot of different hats in a day. Evenings get busy and the 5:00 dinner frenzy is real. In fact, this is what cooking in my house actually looks like during the aforementioned dinner frenzy. No organization. Messy counters. Multiple cabinet doors and drawers open (why oh why are they so hard to close?!). Music playing. Kids running in and out of the house. Doors slamming. You might call it chaos.
But it works for me and the payoff of getting into the kitchen is huge. Even though I am not preparing rock star meals, I am creating meals that contain ingredients that I feel good about and that make my body thrive.
And I like that. I like feeling healthy. I like feeling strong. I like not worrying about calories and fat grams. I like that I am finally able to effortlessly maintain my weight. And I like feeling like I am playing a role in creating a better food culture.
You might be thinking:
"But you have no idea what my schedule is like!"
"Easy for you to say - you're a health coach!"
"I hear you but I have no idea what to even prepare that will make my body feel amazing!"
If you are thinking along these lines then you have come to the right place! As a coach, I am here to support you and to help you make the changes to get you where you want to be.
This did not happen for me overnight. But the awesome thing is that I can look back to the time when I started this journey and see how far I've come. A journey of 1,000 miles truly does begin with a single step.
Helping people make long lasting change is something I am passionate about and a fundamental principle of my coaching practice. We all want the quick and easy fix. Trust me. I get that too. But it never works out in the long run. It is about sustainable change. It is about health. It is about YOU.
I'll leave you with this quote to inspire you to take that first step - whatever that looks like for you.