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Coach Mary Tasty Tips #10

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Hi gang.

It’s been a good couple of months writing to you guys about some of the important basic terms and concepts of nutrition and their adaptation to your daily lives and workouts. I hope they were informative enough without being too boring or overwhelming. Today I am taking a different approach to this post, and I think I will keep doing it occasionally; today I will be taking a more personal attitude and write my opinion on a subject that is very closely related to nutrition: cooking.

Last week I was away on vacation in London and, as most people that go on vacation, I stayed at a hotel/hostel that did not have a kitchen. Seems pretty standard for a vacation right? Anyways, I was away for a week and had to go and eat out for most of my meals with the exception of breakfast. Once again, pretty standard for vacation time. Well, I came back to Dublin a couple days ago feeling like I had put on a few pounds, and I didn’t like that too much. I was on vacation so I didn’t care as much as normal about what I was eating, but the reality is that, even if I were trying harder, it would have been hard to eat healthy in those circumstances. I think it is incredibly hard to eat healthy and/or the appropriate amounts when you have to rely on restaurants for most of your meals.

This then made me think of all the people I know, and the many more that I don’t, that do not know how to cook and have to rely on restaurants, frozen meals, and meal deliveries every single day of their lives. The old school tradition of learning how to cook from our parents (mostly our moms) is unfortunately outdated, and children become adults without learning this very important skill. This then adds to the idea that we don’t have free time to learn important skill like cooking later on in life, and that we should resort to doing what is easiest and most convenient, which is to pay for someone else to do the cooking for us. No wonder so many people have such poor diets!

The way I see it cooking has two big advantages: first, it is way cheaper than eating out, and second, it is much easier to have control of the food we eat and therefore, eat relatively healthy. I think the first advantage is pretty much self-explanatory, and most people would benefit from it. As an example, if I go to the grocery store and butchers to get all the food I need for the week, I spend around 50-60 euro per week, which adds up to a max of 250€ per month. On the other hand, if I go out for every lunch and dinner, and if I spend on average 10€ per meal, then it can add up to 140€ per week, and over 500€ per month. That is a huge difference at the end of the month, and even bigger at the end of the year. These are obviously the two extremes of the picture, but I think it gives you an idea of what I mean. Find a good balance between the two!

The second advantage may not be as straightforward as the first one because, unfortunately, many people are not too worried about the quality of their meals.  However, if you care about this, you know that the contrast between home cooked meals and takeaway/restaurant food is just as big as the price contrast. Most meals you get at a restaurant are not only cooked with added fats, oils, sugars, and empty calories, but their portions are also much bigger than the size of a normal meal. And whatever you don’t eat from that portion ends up being thrown away and wasted, which in my opinion is very sad to think about. Regardless of how much you care about following a particular diet, cooking and eating home cooked meals are almost always healthier. So there you go, start cooking your meals if you want an easy way to make a positive change to your normal diet.

I guess my point with this post is that we should all make an effort to learn how to cook, even if only the most basic meals. There are only advantages to it, and you may even find yourself enjoying it; next thing you know, you will be hosting dinner parties and having at-home date nights. Oh yea, and feel free to send me an invitation for those dinner parties, I love to cook! J

 

Coach Mari