This is something very important I learned about food. The more time you spend with it, both in the selection process at the grocery store or farmer’s market, in the prep process as you wash and chop it, and especially in the cooking process—as you sizzle, spice, and meld all of those amazing flavors together—you gain a much greater respect for food. Now, how does respect help you fix your relationship with food? Well, if you respect something, you’re far less likely to abuse it, mistreat it, or waste it, right?
Think of it like a relationship you’ve been building with a superior co-worker or your boss. Maybe you’ve been working hard to get projects in ahead of time, come to meetings with fresh ideas, be more reliable in the workplace, or just come to work with a better attitude in hopes of being seen by that co-worker or boss as someone who brings value to the team. That takes a lot of time, patience, diligence, and commitment to build that relationship, to be that reliable, valuable person.
… if you respect something, you’re far less likely to abuse it, mistreat it, or waste it, right?
And, you do it, because the acknowledgement is something you want, something that will make you feel accomplished and good about yourself. You do that because you respect your boss and you want your boss to respect you. Now with all the time and conscious effort you put into that, would you decide to come to work one day super late, looking disheveled and tired as hell, miss a meeting and a deadline and give only the excuse: “I didn’t have time to do that?”
Absolutely not! Not only would it simply be mortifying because that’s not the person you are. You would never BE that person. But, it would also undo all of that very hard work you put in to impress your boss, unraveling a lot of the hard-earned respect you had gained. Now, stick with me for a minute. I promise I’m taking you to great, revelatory places:
What if food was your boss?
What if it was something you respected, and you wanted it to respect you? You wanted to impress it and show how committed you are to it? I know it sounds silly, but when you come home from a long work day, super late and tired as hell, you still would not want to be that person that when the boss calls you say: “I don’t have time to do that.”
No. For work, you make time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s the time that we MAKE for things that counts. You can make time to cook. Just like you can make time to do all of those little things you do to impress your boss.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s the time that we MAKE for things that counts.
Well, impress your food and let it impress you. As you would with a project at work: schedule time to make a meal plan and go grocery shopping. Try different recipes and methods that make you a better, more efficient chef. Just as you would as an employee, learn from mistakes and use the knowledge to better yourself in that regard.
If you can make time to be a good employee, you can make time to be a good cook at home. And, cooking healthy meals as often as possible will be the cornerstone of your new relationship with food. You don’t have to be five-star Michelin rated, but everyone can make the time most days to buy good ingredients and cook a healthy meal.
I stress this because if you commit the time to food, as we all do with work, you will find that you respect food more. If you spend an hour making an elegant, healthy meal, you’re not as readily going to shovel it all into your mouth in a mindless manner and try to go run it off or otherwise purge it.
You made that meal! It deserves respect!
If you cook a meal, rather than simply open some container and start eating, you’re far more likely to give each bite its due credit. I mean, that’s your work! You would want your boss to assess and consider it fairly and honestly comment or critique it. You can’t really critique a meal that comes out of a bag or a box, nor can you improve on it. Because you didn’t make the time to make it.
I’ve now learned I can change that. I can become that reliable, self-motivated person that works hard to improve myself (both on the work front and on the health front) so that I, too, show and deserve respect.
I hope you’re seeing where this is going. I’m confident many of you, as I did, struggled everyday with food, but that never stopped me from being a damn good employee. I worked far harder at work than I did on my own health and relationship with food. As a result, I disrespected food, which I have to admit to myself now was a massive showing of disrespect for myself. But I’ve now learned I can change that. I can become that reliable, self-motivated person that works hard to improve myself (both on the work front and on the health front) so that I, too, show and deserve respect.
“I don’t have the time” is a lazy man’s excuse. Prioritizing cooking can improve your life and mental health in so many ways.
Be a food boss. Don’t make excuses. Make the time for change.