This post could have easily been named “I don’t like vegetables”, since I find that these two phrases are often uttered by the same people.
I should start out by saying this- everybody’s definition of “cooking” is a little bit different. To some people cooking means making spaghetti or heating a Lean Cuisine. When I was in college, my idea of healthy cooking was putting some frozen veggies in the pasta sauce of my whole wheat spaghetti (sigh).
Since I went gluten and dairy-free three and a half years ago I have drastically changed the way I see cooking, as well as my culinary standards. I am no longer impressed by people who can make something taste good with gluten or dairy. Everything tastes amazing with bread crumbs, butter and cheese. Everything. Four years ago I would have eaten a squirrel foot if it had the right foot:cheese ratio. Chocolate covered ants probably operate under a similar marketing strategy.
The point is that real healthy cooking means being able to make something that doesn’t need to be drenched in gluten or starch, dairy, MSG, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. If you can invest a little bit of money and time into becoming a good cook you’ll be set for life, but it does take some effort.
Kitchen gadgets can help greatly in your culinary escapades. Here is a list of some of my favorite gadgets in order of must-have-it-ness. I didn’t include kitchen basics like spoons and pots and pans because every kitchen should have those already, however the first two made the list because quality really goes a long way.
- A good set of knives goes a LONG way- don’t buy the blocks of knives, as companies usually use the blocks to get rid of their lowest quality knives. Get at least one good vegetable cleaver and a pairing knife.
- The humble and often underestimated cookie sheet is crucial in your kitchen- get a good one that doesn’t get crusty and gross or burn your food.
- Food Processor (Grind nuts to make raw desert crusts, shred potatoes and more!)
- High speed blenders are wonderful for making smoothies, almond milk, coconut cream, nut butters, and more
- The Spiralizer is the ultimate gadget that can turn any fruit or veggie into noodley goodness! I love making raw veggie pasta with homemade pesto 🙂
Look, there is no way around it- it takes time to learn any new skill and it’s going to take time and effort to learn how to cook. If you don’t have the opportunity to receive formal culinary training don’t fret- you can still learn how to cook. Cooking is really one big chemistry experiment, so if you learn the reasons for why you’re doing what you’re doing you’ll be able to extrapolate that knowledge to other recipes and learn to cook on-the-fly. My favorite resources for learning the science of good cooking are:
- The Science of Good Cooking (GREAT Book)
- America’s Test Kitchen (for 30 bucks you get access to videos from all of their seasons!)
- Alton Brown
I have one word: Internet! Seriourly, as long as you have a computer (which you must if you’re here) you can’t honestly say that you don’t have any recipes. There are tons of recipe blogs and websites on the internet with more being added each day. I have found many great recipes and websites by googling phrases like “raw vegan recipes”, “raw vegan blog”, “paleo blog”, and “paleo recipes”. Also, type similar phrases into Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few of my personal favorite resources for recipes:
- The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen (great site and I have and LOVE both of their cook books)
- Just Eat Real Food (Pinterest) (Facebook)
- Practical Paleo
- Potlucks are a great way to meet people and sample a lot of recipes all at once. I have found several groups through meetup.com. Local (Raleigh Durham area) examples include this Paleo Meetup.
A lot of people complain that cooking is boring or that they don’t want to spend that much time in the kitchen. The easiest way to combat boredom in the kitchen is to put on music and totally jam out. If you’re not in the mood for music stand up comedy or even a book on tape is a great alternative. Last but not least (because it’s my favorite), I usually put on YouTube Videos when I cook. Sometimes this is health or nutrition related, like Michael Pollan or Gary Taubes. Oftentimes, I like to put on ridiculous or educational YouTube videos to keep me company. Below are some of my favorites.
- Wizard people, dear reader (Harry Potter)
- Epic rap battles of history
- Jedi Gym
- Mental Floss
- Crash Course
- TED Talks
- CGP Grey
- V Sauce 2
- Minute Physics
- Chad Vadar
- Sad Cat Diary and Sad Dog Diary
Of course, the all-time best kitchen entertainment is to cook with beagle helpers 🙂
I hope this post gives you some information, ideas or inspiration for how you can incorporate more healthy cooking into your life.
If you or somebody you know is interested in working with a functional medicine doctor please call my office at (919) 238-4094 and see if we are the right fit for you. Infinity Holistic Healthcare is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, part of the Raleigh-Durham “triangle” area.