What is the most important thing I can do to improve my health today?
Good question, and I get it almost every week from someone I know, and it was really simple to come up with the answer, too.
Unfortunately, the answer is different for everybody, since we all start at a different place, but just as “all roads lead to Rome,” here, all answers lead to better health.
The #1 easy change to improve your health today
Because it’s going to be different for everybody, I can’t resist making a list. I jotted down ten things, just off the top of my head. I’m going to start with my #1 recommendation, then each week I’ll give you a new one.
It doesn’t really matter what you cook (allergies, intolerances, etc. aside), just cook.
Use a cookbook, make it all up, whatever.
Buy your raw ingredients, add your own spices, chop your own vegetables, pick out your own meat.
Take it all home, cook it, serve it, and eat it.
Recently, a Cambridge study found that people who cook more are far more likely to be healthy and longer lived than those who don’t.
I think there are a lot of good reasons why this makes sense, and among our own clients, the ones who cook more have an easier time getting and staying fit, losing weight, and keeping healthy. Cooking seems to equal success.
The bottom line, is that when you cook, you have control of your ingredients, you can control the amounts that you make, and you can decide the cooking methods.
Our clients, family, and friends who cook at home tend to eat more vegetables and fruits, more protein, and healthier fats. Those who cook seem to be healthier, slimmer, and make more progress!
So, I challenge you to cook more of your meals. If you eat out or eat boxed or packaged foods quite a bit, this week I want you to replace 1-2 of those meals with home cooked meals.
Remember, a meal can be simple (chicken, veggies, and salad), and need not be complicated. Don’t get caught up in the idea that you need to create a several course gourmet meal, or recreate the kind of meal you’d get in a restaurant.
Choose something you’d like to eat (I’ll say asparagus). Now, choose a protein source that goes with it (chicken sausage?). That might not be enough (you’d have to eat a lot of asparagus…), so I’m going to pick a chopped veggie salad to go with it (chopped tomato, cucumber, colorful bell pepper, and salt). It’s summer, so you might add a cob of corn.
Chicken Sausage with Asparagus, Corn, and Chopped Salad
We can do this with on large covered skillet or wok, plus a second pan for steaming the corn.
Chopped salad – Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers (peeled, if desired), and the bell pepper. Toss in a bowl with salt to taste. Let it sit at room temperature until it’s time to eat.
Corn – Heat an inch of water in a covered pot that’s big enough for all the corn. Shuck the corn (pull off and disgard the husks and strings). If you have a steamer basket, use it, but don’t worry if you don’t. Add the shucked corn to the pot, heat until the water is boiling, and cover and steam for about 5-10 minutes.
Sausage – Saute the sausage until done (many chicken sausages are fully cooked, and just need to be reheated), then move it to plates to rest (it will stay juicier if you don’t immediately cut it).
Asparagus – Add some water to the pan, and deglaze it (scrape the stuff off the bottom of the pan). Add the asparagus and cover and steam it for about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon or spatula, move the asparagus to the plates.
Serve – Add a cob of corn to each plate of sausage and asparagus, and serve with a bowl of chopped salad each.
Can you cook 1-2 times more this week?
Cooking at home 1-2 times more this week isn’t an overwhelming thought, especially if you think about it ahead of time (like now), make a list, and have the ingredients handy.
Cooking at home with a plan will save time, save money, and keep you on track with your goals for fitness, weight loss, and health.
Let’s do this! Go forth and cook!
Next week, I bring you #2 easy change to improve your health.
#1 – Cook