There are lots of reasons why you might hate to cook…
- You have no time
- You’re overwhelmed & exhausted
- You have a (chronically) messy kitchen
- You feel oppressed, harried, unappreciated
- You have difficulty nourishing yourself
- You don’t know how
- You’re spoiled
- You have a complicated relationship with food & eating
- You have no plan
- You devalue domestic work
- Your notions of progress do not include menial tasks
- You have cooking/kitchen trauma
- You’ve never seen it done & it seems mysterious or unnecessary
Most of these were true for me. Some still are. I still have a thorny relationship with food, but I’ve improved my rapport with cooking. I’ve been writing this blog in my head for a year because I think that if I can learn to not hate cooking (most of the time), you can too. And if we can learn to not hate cooking, we can ace this paleo thing and transform ourselves. Because I loathed cooking – as in, there was nothing about it that I liked.
Some of the reasons I hated to cook was that I was eating crap food, and that was keeping me in a dispirited state. I wasn’t eating at Mickey D’s or subsisting on donuts, just the standard, nutritionist-recommended food that fills our grocery aisles. In fact, I was a health food-eating fat person: wheat-free breakfast cereal, beans, rice chips, fruit smoothies, bins of cashews, protein bars, spinach ravioli, and soy lattes. I now know the food I was consuming was both the cause and the result of my chronic lethargy, as well as my animosity toward cooking. I was too drained to cook, so I spent as little time cooking as possible, which kept me eating the sad, crap diet that ensured I’d be continually depleted. It’s called the Standard American Diet (and it is really, really SAD).
I ate SAD food (with a vegetarian twist) for many reasons: I had no time; I felt overwhelmed & exhausted; I had a messy kitchen (because I had no time and was exhausted); and on some fundamental level, I had difficulty nourishing myself.
I had a self-worth problem that was ‘cured’ (in minutes!) and exacerbated (for years) with carbs. It was a tidy little enslavement that I was unknowingly perpetuating on myself. But mostly I ate SAD food because I thought I was doing the right thing. My reasons weren’t excuses. I can totally imagine a fanatical trainer at the gym telling me I was overweight because I was lazy and just needed to get off my butt. But I wasn’t lazy. I was working my butt off at my day job, raising my kids, never getting enough sleep, and going uphill both ways in a carb-focused/SAD-loop of fatness and depression. I was demoralized because of the food I was eating, and the food I was eating was keeping me demoralized. That was my SAD-loop, and I looped that sucker for decades.
YOU ARE NOT FLAWED! I have to emphasize that because I used to think I was flawed. I tried so hard. Ate gluten-free. Went to yoga. Kept myself perpetually insatiate, always craving, went to bed hungry most of the time, in an attempt to feel better and lose weight. I hated cooking, but I cooked anyway – with a superabundance of kids and extremely limited money I had to.
I will not lie. Getting off the carb-centred tilt-a-whirl that has hijacked our bodies is enormously and utterly hard. But it’s also completely doable, and once you’re off the SAD-loop, you’re free.
And when you’re free, the whole world wants to get down with you.