Because I’m so reluctant to cook, I need to use every trick I can to make it happen. While planning what to eat early in the day when I still have decision making energy seems to be necessary for cooking to happen at all, I’ve also found it helps to be inspired by the results.
Over the years I have absorbed a lot of information about healthy diets and nutrition and the “right” way to cook. I don’t think that information is incorrect, just that in the past when I’ve gone to cook I’ve felt a lot of pressure to cook the right way. But that leads to sometimes cooking things I’m not particularly inspired by, that feel like a chore to eat. Then after a while I get disheartened by the whole process and find myself procrastinating about starting dinner and then ending up so tired and hungry I give up entirely and reach for the takeout menu or eat something terrible (hello breakfast cereal).
It turns out a big aspect of my interest in cooking comes from how interested I am in eating the result, and one tiny thing seems to have had a big impact on that. And that’s how much oil I fry my onions in. Seriously. I was always skimping on the olive oil because Ohnocaloriesbadtoomuchfat. Then I tried using more oil (not like a tanker full, just a generous helping like the chefs on the cooking shows) and it was really satisfying watching them sizzle rather than steam, releasing all their delicious sugars… And the end result was really satisfying and tasty. And the next night I was kind of excited by the process of doing this again, and I made this really simple tomato based sauce and it was awesome because: oil. Because fat is delicious (also delicious – salt and sugars).
Take one thing at a time – you can improve gradually in achievable steps.
I am now separating eating perfectly healthily from eating more freshly prepared food that I make myself from ingredients. Step one is getting really into cooking and developing the habit of regular cooking. Then I can fiddle with what I cook once that’s been accomplished. And it’s not really the end of the world because what I’m cooking from scratch isn’t that unhealthy anyway, it’s just not the 100% optimal, virtuous diet food that I’ve been conditioned by society to see as the only thing I can eat.
Takeaway Lessons: If you want to cook, aim to cook things you find delicious, even if that’s not what you should eat. You will definitely save money and probably eat more nutritiously anyway, just by cooking from scratch. Forget your other eating goals for now.
I also need to be realistic about my current lifestyle and not compare my plans to some idealised fantasy I have about my life – I need to make small sequential improvements to what I actually do right now.