Ask Away Blog: Making Food and Mental Health

Making Food and Mental Health

Thursday, November 3, 2022

 
If you’re the main food decision-maker in the house when it comes to who eats what and when it can feel more like a chore than something that is going to help you feel good.

But there is a huge difference between cooking for pleasure, baking bread, and making delicious desserts, and the regular breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that you need to take care of every day.

Cooking and baking have been linked to having good mental health, and there are even movements that involve culinary therapy, baking with mindfulness, and therapeutic cooking.

So what does making sourdough, banana bread, and a chocolate ganache have to do with good mental health?

Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash



Organization

When the rest of your life is busy - it can feel like a lot is getting away from you. One thing about cooking and baking is that you need to get a little organized to make sure everything comes together as it should. You’ll need to plan what you’re making, check that you have the ingredients, and where all the tools are too.

You don’t need to have a perfect system - all you really need is some space and time to make the most of it.

The organization is great for people who struggle with clutter and business.

Food relationship

Our relationship with food can be complex. Eating too much, not eating enough - making unhealthy choices and then feeling guilty about it. It’s tough to manage and something that we can do to manage it, or at least explore why we might feel that way, is to cook and bake.

We gain more control over what is in the food, and we can learn a lot about the ingredients and how they work together.

Some people were never taught cooking skills, which can make cooking well a challenge, something you have to learn later in life.

Enjoyment

Many people who start to learn to cook or bake find deep joy and satisfaction when other people enjoy their food. It is made with care and attention, and even though we shouldn’t get our sense of self-worth from it - feeling good about giving other people food that nourishes them is a big deal.

While time constraints can mean we don’t have time to make everything from scratch when we do have time - making something from start to finish can make an incredible difference.

Accomplishment

The first few times you make something, you might be working on the flavors, trying to make sure you don’t add too much or too little of something. Then eventually, you’ll get it right, and when you do, there is a huge joy in that accomplishment.

The better you get at it, the more of your choking goals you will achieve. It is an exercise in reducing procrastination and replacing it with positive action, aiming for something, and achieving it is great for our mental health.

One thing that is always recommended when it comes to mental health is finding a suitable and enjoyable creative outlet - and cooking and baking can be just that!

Start with something easy like these: Three Ingredient Brownies Recipe.



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