Saturday, August 18, 2012

Importance of cooking at home

Last Fall, I spoke at a local church group with the intended topic being general "heart health". After I completed the talking points that I had brought and wanted to cover, I spent an additional hour or so answering questions which strayed far, far away from heart health. At one point I ended up explaining why you might get a tingle in your legs from sitting on the toilet for an extended period of time. Another major topic of questions was diet and how to find and eat the right foods. Since my wife and I cook all the time and we eat well, I had some practical advice for them. One tip, if you stock your house with healthy foods, fruits, and vegetables, when you get hungry, that is what is immediately available and you are more likely to eat it.

I was reminded about this experience when I came across an article in American Medical News discussing a collaboration between Harvard and the Culinary Institute of America. Together, they sponsor conferences, some of which are aimed at getting doctors to better understand how one goes about actually "making" food. So, while few of my patients want or need to take classes from a culinary institute, it certainly makes sense for doctors to have practical cooking advice so they can tell patients how to eat more healthy and cook at home for themselves. By cooking at home, you know what you are putting in your food, you have more control over the contents, and you can depend on yourself to reduce sodium or added sugars and fats. A survey done by Whole Foods in 2009 that found about 1 in 5 Americans rarely or never cook at home. The survey does not provide detail on how much "cooking" is done by the other 4/5ths (does microwaving count as cooking?)

After sharing my favorite smoothie recipe last week, perhaps I should share some of our family favorite recipes....

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