How to learn to LOVE to cook: Beauty in food
Beauty = Healthy = Delight = YAY!
I wasn’t sure what to write about this week, and then I made this smoothie for breakfast. I turned the blender on and was almost immediately wacked with delight in how colorful it was. WOAH!!! I don’t mean to sound silly or dramatic but it was BEAUTIFUL!!! The deep pink and red with hints of green and yellow… oh my goodness!!! Smoothies with homemade granola are breakfasts in the Paulson house several days a week, and this morning the sunrise colors in my blender only made me more excited for one of my go-to favorites. In that moment I realized what this week’s post was going to be about… JOY! Are you surprised?
Finding fun, creative, playful ways to get sweaty is one of my favorite things to do, but I get an almost equal amount of joy out of eating really good, clean foods. The reality about health is you can work out all you want but if you don’t partner that with eating well, you probably aren’t going to get the results you desire.
Unfortunately, when stress gets high and time gets squeezed, a large majority of the people I know give up their healthy eating habits in exchange for “easier and faster” meals. In fact, the number one reason I hear for why people don’t eat healthy meals is that “eating well just takes too much time.” Eating whole, unprocessed foods certainly does take more time than microwaving a TV dinner or whipping up some Hamburger Helper. That’s true. But I invite you to change your mindset around food, meals and cooking and lean into joy!
Here’s what I mean. Have you ever cut into a red pepper and been totally delighted by how the teeny-tiny seeds make the most beautiful pattern? Or been amazed by the rainbow of colors in the produce department at the grocery store? What about being stopped in your tracks by the colors in your morning breakfast smoothie? If the answer is yes, YAY way to go you for noticing the beauty around you! If the answer is no, I invite you to pause, enjoy and delight in what you put in your body! I wish there were words strong enough to describe the excitement, overwhelming gratitude and joy I get from these things! The produce section makes me want to skip and jump for joy! IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
If you think of making a meal like a task on a checklist, then when time gets squeezed it makes perfect sense that you’d gravitate towards the easiest option possible to check that task off the list. But what if you change your mindset, and instead think about making dinner as one of the most beautiful experiences of your day? If cutting into a red pepper and seeing the seeds inside inspires the same awe as taking in a beautiful mountain view or staring at a famous work of art, the time it takes to make a healthy meal becomes entirely a moot point! Wouldn’t you rather stare at something stunningly beautiful for 30 minutes instead of 10 minutes?! I would! And OH it is SO beautiful! The ruffles in kale, the heart shape that a tomato makes when you cut it in half, the vibrant pink of raspberries, the incredible rose shapes that salmon makes when it’s cooked and flakes apart… Ahhhh, I could go on all day.
If you’re still worried about time (especially if you have kids and a family) invite your family to delight in the joy and beauty with you! Have your kids help you cook! Yes that will probably slow you down even more, but try inviting them to point out to you what they see as beautiful! It will increase your joy so whatever the time trade-off is, I bet it’s worth every minute. You’d make a memory with your kids, enjoy each other and end up with a clean, healthy meal.
Here is a joy challenge for your week: When you do your weekly grocery shopping run, try to buy only things that tickle your sense of beauty, awe and wonder. I have a feeling your grocery cart might end up being more full of fruits and veggies rather than chips and Cheez-its. I’ll even up the ante on this challenge. If you get home with a cart full of foods you have no idea what to do with, post a list with the groceries you came home with in the comments below or email me at email@example.com, and I will reply with one of my favorite recipes! I’m serious about this y’all! The joy available is ridiculous!!!
Beautify your meals and soak up the delight!
Here’s a typical, joy inspiring grocery list in the Paulson house:
· Almonds or almond butter
· Spaghetti squash
· Lemons and limes
· Ground turkey or chicken breasts
· Grass fed beef
· Box of mixed greens (Power Greens are my favorite)
· Yellow squash and zucchini
· Frozen blueberries, strawberries and mangos
· Chia seeds (these things are amazing, just look at all the tiny lines, they are SO COOL looking and power packed!)
· Flax seed
· Basil (Put this on or in just about anything. It tastes so good!)
· Grapefruit and oranges (My favorite mid-morning snack! Just try not to smile at the juicy cells in an orange wedge.)
· Coconut Milk