Confession. I don’t really like to cook.
Well, it’s not entirely right. I do enjoy the act of cooking, chopping, salivating, satisfaction. I play music. I get into it when it happens.
Who doesn’t get into salivating? Right? Um, yeah. Ahem.
But I don’t like cooking everyday, or even every week.
Let’s just say I like to cook far less times than I want to eat.
Not wanting to cook when you place heaps of value on healthy eating is a conundrum because it is an absolute fact that I function light years better when I put things in my body that are both full of life and free of poisonous-ness. I sleep better, work harder, feel motivated to exercise and do interesting things, I have ideas and act on them… basically every part of my life is radically better because of healthy eating.
Which means that some in-home food preparation (a fancy/trying-too-hard way of saying cooking) is a non-negotiable. It also means that getting good nutrition requires some streamlining.
Here are my staple easy things that keep me eating healthy enough of the time to give me the nutrition I need for a sweet life. Maybe you can use them too.
Smoothies are like the rocket boots of food. Future food. Remember when you were a kid and you imagined there would someday be a futuristic nutritional paste that was full of vitamins and eschewed the need to eat? Ok. I might have just made that up. Honestly, when I was a kid I imagined that someday I would be able to eat all the McDonald’s cheeseburgers and Twinkies I wanted. Also, nutritional paste sounds disgusting and smoothies are delicious. If your smoothie isn’t delicious, you are doing it wrong and we should talk. You should never eat anything that you don’t like. Life is too short. Anyway, smoothies are the rocket boots of food because they taste good and are a sweet vehicle for delivering loads of nutrition to your good body.
Drink vegetable juice. Again with the rocket boots. It’s just a straight shot of health. It is liquid plants. You may have heard of the all-trendy juice cleanse where you don’t eat, but just drink juice. You don’t have to do that. You can keep eating food. Just add juice to what you are already eating and see how much better you feel. How your sugar and salt cravings start to subside. Want to know more? Read The Healthy Juicer’s Bible by Farnoosh Brock. Note: Juicing at home saves money and is a very cool thing to do, but it also falls under the category of Overwhelming Food Preparation for me. So, I utilize the frequent buyer’s card at my local juice bar who does all the juicing and clean up for me, and I budget it into my monthlies just like the legit health care expense it is.
Soup cracks me up because it always reminds me of the movie Best in Show and that shit was hilarious. Soup is also one of my favorite foods, because I can pretty much just put things in a big pot and let it cook itself while I do other things. Soup is warm and satisfying and a big pot will feed you for more than a day. You can eat it with crackers, bread, fresh herbs, or pretty much any kind of good topping or condiment. You can add healthy things like those leafy greens everyone is always on about. There are also a lot of ways to make soup complicated and fancy. I don’t do those things. Here is on of my favorite soup recipes.
P.S. If you read the first line as “Soup crackers me up” we should probably be friends.
Salads are basically just prep work. You chop up some vegetables, which you can totally do ahead of time to make your whole week easier, and then put them in a bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of balsamic, and you are done. The trick to making salads a satisfying meal is to make sure you have plenty of protein, like seeds and nuts. I like to crumble falafel or veggie burgers into mine sometimes. Also, (healthy) fat. Avocado makes every salad amazing. I wrote this book about salad. You will fall in love with salads if you read it. Salads are like the skinny, dorky kid in high school who didn’t really talk much so you didn’t think he was all that interesting, but then that one time, when you saw him play the drums, you got inexplicably all attracted to him. That is how you are going to feel when you are saying to yourself, Who knew salads were so sexy?
Scramble a couple of eggs in coconut oil. Add vegetables like spinach, heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh herbs. Add a little chevre if you are feeling fou. This meal takes about seven minutes. And it’s not just for breakfast, you guys.
6. Cook Sometimes. Sometimes cook often.
The act of getting into the kitchen and trying something new to feed yourself is still invaluable. I find that few things can change my mood and sense of stability in the world as much as preparing food for myself. Sometimes that is soup or salad, sometimes something a little more labor intensive. It is really pretty special. So I highly recommend you do whatever it takes to traverse the learning curve and make some healthy kitchen habits happen. If you need a kickstart, you could join Feed Me Darling’s Health Club. It’s an easy-to-make-recipe subscription service with a dedicated shopping list and a lifetime membership to the coolest private Facebook community on the internet. Mostly, when you do cook something, make it a mini event. Put Love and Gratitude into the food. Cook with intention. Eat only things that are full of life. Definitely only things that taste good. Try cool new condiments to change flavors. Invite friends to share meals. Be super proud of yourself and send me pictures of what you made. I will be super proud of you too.
What I want more than anything is for you to take care of yourself because the world really needs your fresh jokes and great ideas. Stat.
What are your go to easy food staples? Leave a comment. Send an email. Hearing from you is awesome. Every time.
photo credits: smoothie – givemesomeoven.com, video: monica mccarthy, everything else: me.