Why I Cook From Scratch
If you have read my previous blog posts on subjects like ‘healthier alternatives’ and ‘sugar-free’ options etc you will know that I am not a fan of highly processed foods. This is not to say that I don’t on occasion eat them. I am not perfect. I hate the phrase clean eating; however, I make 80-90% of the food that I eat, and if I make it, it’s 99% organic.
The reason for this is A) cost. It’s actually cheaper than you would think to make your own food than to buy premade food for every meal. And B) the reason I buy organic is to limit the toxic load on my body of chemicals, pesticides and the impact of genetically modified (GM) food. GM food is already having a really negative impact on the environment and the bees which are so important! If they are killing off the bees and other insects, I wonder what the impact will be on the human race. I’m not a scaremonger or conspiracist, but here is a reason that our health has deteriorated so rapidly since manufactured food became the norm. Especially since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup.
So with all of this in mind, I make nearly all my food, so I know what’s in it. I also enjoy cooking. I’m not that good at it, it’s not beautiful, it’s not complicated or adventurous. But. It is full of essential nutrients to keep me as healthy as possible. Follow me on Instagram to see the sorts of things I make.
I spend around £30 a week on an organic Abel & Cole shop (and get extra bits and pieces when needed from other shops) which is basically everything for my meals for the week including snacks. My order always includes a veg box, a mixed box of fruit and veg for my smoothie and a bunch of bananas (as I have one mid-morning for snack), 6 eggs, yoghurt, milk, and butter.
A week tends to be: a mixed veg and fruit smoothie for breakfast, in the summer a salad for lunch made with various vegetables depending on what comes in my delivery and a dip I make out of fava beans or chickpeas etc, supper is a veg stew of some sort with toast from my weekly loaf of whole-wheat and spelt flour bread that my breadmaker makes. I might put the eggs in my lunch or have eggs and toast for supper. I also make snacks – muffins or ‘breakfast bars’ that I have in the afternoon. I also go through phases of making the Hemsley Sisters Paradise Bars and think I’ll make some soon for pudding, or I have a couple of squares of Green & Blacks 85% dark chocolate.
I know mine is an unusual diet for many and I’m absolutely not saying you have to eat exactly like me. But by doing this and buying dried pulses etc means that my meals don’t cost very much, and they are as healthy as possible. If you can’t buy organic due to cost, get the fruit/veg from farmers markets and bulk buy brown rice/lentils etc from supermarkets. You will be surprised at how little it actually comes to, and by bulk cooking it makes the meals even cheaper. It’s also a good way of making sure that you get loads of vegetables into your diet, which as you know, is vital.
Yes it takes a bit of time and energy and planning – I tend to cook for a few hours on a Sunday making everything for the week so it means that I don’t have to think. I get home and all I have to do is warm up whatever stew I’ve made and put some bread in the toaster. I have snacks to eat when I’m hungry that aren’t full of sugar/processed and refined parts of sugar/stabilisers etc. And if you have children you can get them involved! Get them to help cut up the vegetables, teach them about food and what things look like before they turn into soup etc and it also gets them away from screens!
I suppose I’m lucky in that I grew up in a home where meals were and still are cooked from scratch. I know that there is more to a meal than piercing a film and putting it in the microwave. I grew up on soup made from chicken stock which is now the trendy bone broth, and if there was a pudding, the pastry was also made at home. I learnt about food and cooking from the day I was born.
I hope this isn’t ranty or preachy or holier than though. It’s not meant to be. I am passionate about food and people eating well and eating food that is good for them. I get so upset when I see people, especially babies/toddlers/children eating food that has no nutrition in it whatsoever and is really not good for them. I just want people to be able to make educated decisions in the moment. And if that’s a slice of cake. Fine. As long as you know the impact and what it’s doing to you.
Cooking really isn’t that hard. I just throw a load of very roughly cut vegetables in a saucepan with water or tinned tomatoes or home-made chicken stock or a stock cube if I don’t have any home-made stock, and leave it to cook. That’s it! And then I cook some brown rice or have toast or bulgur wheat or something like that for complex carbs. I aim to use ideally use one saucepan a meal, maybe two. No more! It’s not impossible, it’s not difficult, it’s just about approaching food in a slightly different way. If you would like to nutrition/meal advice, contact me to book in for a consultation.