In 2014, it was reported by the USDA that the average American was spending only 37 minutes a day preparing, serving, and cleaning up after meals.
Clearly, that’s not very much time at all – and it’s probably a safe bet that anyone who is managing to fit all their daily food preparation into a window of that size is not doing a lot of cooking from scratch. Certainly nothing very intricate, anyway.
All told, the statistic is likely to be bad news for a wide variety of reasons. Here are some reasons why it’s worth spending more time on food preparation.
Because the food you eat really does play a fundamental role in your overall health
On some level, we all understand that the food we eat is fundamentally important in determining the state of our overall health. Even if we don’t pay much attention to our own food preparation, the growing popularity of healthy dog food brands and other pet products still underscores the point.
It’s one thing to know, in an abstract sense, that your risk of experiencing a certain disease 20 or 30 years down the line is heavily impacted by your ongoing nutrition habits.
But, the reality is that what you eat today doesn’t just determine the state of your health many years down the line. It will determine the state of your health right now, and will influence how energetic, positive, and resilient you feel on an everyday basis.
Simply cooking from scratch is one of the best ways of making a positive change in your experience of everyday life.
Because cooking is a great thing to be mindful about – and it can help you to appreciate the small pleasures of life
These days, it’s quite common for virtually everyone to find themselves feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and preoccupied in a variety of different ways, almost regardless of the specifics of what might be going on, on any given day.
Cooking is a timeless activity that can really help to bring you back to the present moment if you let it. “Mindfulness” is something that everyone talks a lot about these days, and the “mindfulness” movement is fundamentally about getting people to bring their awareness into the present moment.
When you give yourself permission to slow the pace a bit, and really engage with the process of preparing a delicious meal, you may well find yourself gaining a newfound appreciation for the small pleasures of life.
Because the food you cook is something that you have direct control over
In addition to feeling overwhelmed in terms of being stressed and separated from the present moment, it’s also quite common for people to feel as though they don’t have anywhere near as much control over their lives as they might want, as a rule.
Society continues to grow increasingly complex, and there are always news stories to make you feel fatalistic and helpless to one degree or another.
Cooking your own meals from scratch is something that you have direct and total control over. By taking cooking seriously, you can go a long way towards regaining a sense of autonomy in your life.