One of the most effective marketing strategies of the food industry has been to collectively convince us that “we don’t have time to cook.” Basically none of us have enough time for anything these days, so if someone came along and said “hey, you don’t have enough time to breathe, let me do it for you” we would probably sign up, no questions asked! And so we let a bunch of drug pushers take over our food preparation and keep us addicted, sick and miserable. The “no time” belief has become so firmly entrenched in modern culture that we hardly even question it anymore. I see it in action every time someone hears about the changes I have made to the way I eat. Almost without exception they say: “Oh that is so great, but I just don’t have the time to do all that!”
I completely understand! For most of my life I have believed the “no time” lie with as much conviction as anybody. Preparing my own meal, let alone a meal for anyone else, was the absolute last thing on my agenda. I lead an extremely busy, pressured life just like the rest of you. I probably would have continued believing the lie until my dying day if it were not that the state of my health finally forced me to make time. If you don’t have time to cook you better consider if you have time to manage a chronic disease like diabetes! Trust me, a few minutes of food prep pale into insignificance compared to the stress, inconvenience and time wasted on managing a totally avoidable, lifestyle induced illness. And then there are the insane number of hours of exercise I am going to need to do to get all this blasted weight off my body! Exercise is great, but the amount I need to do to effectively lose half my body weight is daunting, to say the least. When a personal health crisis forced me to reconsider my time and how I spent it I suddenly realized how ridiculous the “no time to cook” deception really is. It struck me that if I continued to buy into this myth, I better make time to be sick, exhausted and ultimately prematurely dead! A few minutes of cooking a day is a small price to pay for years added on to my life!
Here’s the thing: after a bit of initial reorganizing and re-education, preparing food from scratch at home is not nearly as time consuming as the food industry would have you believe. In fact I am prepared to race you on the time it takes for just about any fast food option you can think of and a home cooked meal, and in many cases I believe I can not only equal your time but beat it.
Here’s an example. Timed my last trip through a McDonald’s Drive through:
10 minutes to get in the car and drive there.
20 minutes to get to the front of the queue and place order.
10 minutes in the “waiting” bay for my veggie burger to be prepared.
10 minutes waiting for them redo part of the order they got wrong.
10 minutes to drive home.
Total time: 1 hour
Time taken to prepare lunch yesterday:
2 minutes: Get ingredients and cooking utensils together.
10 minutes: Cook Quinoa Pasta
While pasta is cooking: Chop artichoke hearts, pink oyster mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and sauté in a pan with Coconut Oil. Season to taste with herbs and spices and a pinch of Maldon salt. Grate an ounce of Mozzarella Cheese.
2 minutes: Strain pasta and plate up with veggies and cheese. Sprinkle generously with Alfalfa sprouts for extra crunch and yummyness!
Total time: 14 minutes
So the pasta won hands down, not only on time, but also on flavor and even on cost! And it goes without saying that it was much higher in nutrition and lower in calories than the burger and chips from MickyD’s! It was so delicious in fact that I think I will have the same for lunch again today but I honestly don’t care if I never eat another meal from McDonalds in my life!
What about having your take aways delivered to your door, you may ask? Certainly an option if you are willing to add on the delivery cost and tip. But guess what, I also have my food delivered, and not only one meal at a time but enough for a whole week! After a bit of googling I found this wonderful service that delivers in my area: The Ethical Co-op. My last order included a family sized box of organic vegetables, kale chips, flax seed crackers, organic coconut palm sugar, raw chocolate, pink oyster mushrooms, spelt bread and amaranth. More than a week’s worth of food for less than the cost of having pizza delivered for a family of 4. (Luckily the price of healthy food in my country still compares favorably to that of fast food.) You might not be lucky enough to be able to conveniently buy healthy food online and have it delivered to your door, but then again maybe you can and you just don’t know it yet! Certainly worth researching and you may be surprised to discover a wealth of local, alternative food vendors right in your neighborhood!
So you can make a great big ordeal out of cooking if you want to, but it really isn’t necessary. After a day or so of cleaning the junk out of my kitchen and restocking with the good stuff, the rest has been surprisingly easy. Here are some tips that have made it a breeze:
1) Maintain a shopping list of foods you use in your diet and restock as needed so that you have the right foods on hand and are too broke to buy any junk food!
2) Stock up on BPA free tupperware and Ziploc bags and save your glass jars for easy food storage.
3) Spend a little extra time on the week end preparing food for the week that will keep in the fridge or can be frozen.
4) Google for recipes and local food suppliers.
5) Try at least one new dish a week to grow your repertoire.
If you do all of the above I promise you that you can walk right over to your own kitchen and grab a fabulous meal in 5 to 10 minutes during your work week, or spend an hour on something fancy on the week end if you feel like it.
So there you have it, one ridiculous lie of the food industry debunked. I am off to throw together the most fabulous berry smoothie you will ever taste. Wish you were here – I might even consider sharing!