Do recipes stress you out? I was recently working with a new client and we got into a pretty deep discussion about what seemed to be holding her back from eating healthier. As we got digging deeper it became apparent that it wasn’t from a lack of knowledge (she had a pretty good grasp of what were healthy vs. unhealthy food choices), and it wasn’t from a lack of desire (she was inspired and motivated to eat healthier). What was really holding her back was something I had never really thought of before but something that made complete sense and left me wondering how many others felt the same way.
Recipes were completely stressing her out! So what ended up happening was a complete “shutdown” and “yep” a complete reversal back to old habits; quick fix, no fuss, pre-made “junk” foods filled with a bunch of crap her body didn’t need!
She thought that in order to truly change her eating habits and eat healthier she had to fully embrace everything that was part of that process; including making the countless great looking recipes she was coming across on great health and food blogs. She scoured the “net” finding great recipes, saving great recipes, buying all of the ingredients and excitedly returning home to cook these great recipes….. only to end up disappointed and frustrated when her fabulous recipe didn’t quite turn out how she had expected it to.
Her creations didn’t look quite as beautiful as the pictures displayed on the websites she had taken them from and they didn’t taste quite as “scrumptious” as the authors had claimed they would. So she ended up with wasted food, feelings of disappointment, frustration and failure. She would spend a great deal of time reviewing the recipe in an attempt to figure out just where she went wrong; what ingredient did she miss, did she add too much of something, did she stir it too long, did she stir too little? Did she overcook it? Did she undercook it?
These recipes were STRESSING her out and when she became stressed she became overwhelmed and when she became overwhelmed she shut down and when she shut down she reverted back to her old habits and when she reverted back to her old habits she felt bad; she felt like a failure and even worse, she felt really unhealthy.
So after figuring all of this out we had an even deeper discussion, one that centered around the simple fact that:
WE DON’T HAVE TO BE GOURMET COOKS (OR EVEN REALLY GOOD ONES) TO EAT HEALTHY
In fact we can become healthy eaters; choosing really good, natural and nutrient-dense foods while cooking simple meals. Meals that we enjoy making, that we make well and that taste just as delicious as the many recipes she came across on the many websites she visited.
So if recipes stress you out, the following tips may be as helpful for you as they were for her (she is now happily cooking up a “healthy storm” in her kitchen… stress free!)
Just keep it super simple… Yes KISS more often in the kitchen!
If you like chicken then cook the chicken! You don’t have to make a fancy chicken dish with a dozen different ingredients, you don’t have to stuff it or coat it or whatever else a recipe may call for you to do to the chicken. If you enjoy making a fancy chicken dish then by all means go nuts but if you don’t then don’t…. just cook it simply all by itself in a roasting pan or a slow cooker and spice it up with just one favourite spice, two, three or a dozen.
The most important part about eating the chicken is choosing the best chicken that is free from hormones, antibiotics and other toxins we don’t want in our body
So whatever meal you are making, make it the way you feel most comfortable making it and if that means simple then that is absolutely fine! If that means no recipe to follow then that is absolutely fine too! If that means a great “no-cook” meal then that is fine as well! And if, for you, that means experimenting and cooking up some great looking and great tasting recipes then that’s just fine too!
Just keep in mind that good food and preparing good food isn’t suppose to leave us feeling depleted, frustrated and totally stressed out (it kind of goes against the reason we are eating healthy in the first place, right?) We want to be healthier, feel healthier and as good as our food choices may be; feeling bad about ourselves and feeling completely stressed is not going to benefit our health and wellbeing.
Don’t compare your cooking outcome to the pictures you see on the countless health and food websites/blogs… the pictures you are seeing on these sites, for the most part, have been “staged” to look as deliciously tantalizing as possible.
The author has most likely spent a significant amount of time staging the food just right on the plate, making sure the lighting is just so and has taken multiple shots just to get the perfect looking one (and has also no doubt used some type of editing program to make it look even better). The author also, no doubt, had many “flopped” attempts at this great looking beautiful dish (but they don’t talk much about that reality)
A good way for you to test out this theory is to take the next meal you make and “stage” it on the plate, snap a bunch of photos, edit your favourite shot and compare the outcome to the actual meal sitting on your counter. I’ll bet it looks “prettier” in the photo, right?
Does this sound a little familiar to you? … hint…. It’s the reason that I don’t look in fashion magazines or compare myself to models
So whatever way you decide to prepare your food, just remember that simple is ok. What is most important is that we are choosing good quality, fresh, local, in-season, natural and nutrient-dense foods.
Sending A Wish Your Way For A Well BALANCED Day,
I think that I should add a little message to all the amazing health writers and food bloggers out there (before I get bombarded with messages)…. This post is by no means meant to diminish or insult the hard work that you all do everyday. I love looking at beautiful pictures of good food and I love reading the descriptions of how good they will taste, how they will make my taste buds dance like they’ve never danced before! But… if recreating your fantastic recipe leaves the person feeling depleted, frustrated and completely stressed out then it just makes sense for that person at that time to “not go there”.
I am pleased to announce our commitment to Canadian Feed the Children, an organization dedicated to providing support to children and families in Canada as well as internationally in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda.
We have committed to donating a portion of our monthly sales to Canadian Feed the Children to help provide children and families in need with such things as increased access to nutritious food and quality education, and community support. Together we are creating a healthier and brighter future for children around the world.