Often times we assume that because someone does something well, then they are born with a special talent/skill that they themselves lack. Or at the very least, it took that person a life-time of practice to get there.
People often assume that I’ve been cooking for long. Not that I am comparing my food to a masterpiece worthy of a michelin star. But more often than not, it is assumed that cooking is part of my background and story. Mainly because I love to post my food on ‘The Nutrinut’ social media. But also because of my profession.
Can I share some tea with you? Nutritionists don’t learn to cook in school and cooking is not a requirement to be able to practice the profession. Sure we have a couple of classes on the topic. But it’s not what we majored in. In fact, I know quite a few nutritionist that do not cook. Is it a bonus? Sure! Everyone benefits from cooking and nutritionists are part of ‘everyone’. The point is I chose this path for me.
Which is why for this post, I want to share with you my cooking journey. Because it’s easy to make comparisons and feel disheartened for not being where someone else is in their journey. “I’ll never be able to do that”. Sound familiar?
I wasn’t born with any special kitchen skill or even with a love for cooking. I’d even put myself a bit on the ‘lazy cook’ category. And I really haven’t been doing it for long…
Like so many millennials, I lived at home with my family up until around my 30th birthday. I never had the need to cook because my mom would do the heavy-lifting in the kitchen. So I’d cook only when I wanted something different like my gluten-free chocolate banana cake or gnocchi.
When I moved in with my boyfriend everything changed. I guess that’s what is often referred to as ‘adulting’ right? I started cooking not only for myself, but my partner as well. And I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
Some of my personal FAQ’s included:
- What does 1 serving mean? For whom is that serving? In fact, are recipe serving sizes legit?
- Can I swap out ingredients?
- Does it matter if I skip soaking?
- What the hell does ‘salt to taste’ mean?
- This dish feels like a side, how do I make it filling enough and balanced?
- How do I choose recipes that WILL work and are worth my time?
So many mistakes were made and it was clear that I needed a plan…
At the time, I had a 9-5 office job. The location of the office was a middle-of-nowhere warehouse type of place. Meaning that if I wanted to eat healthy lunches, I had to bring them to the office. So not only was I learning my way around the kitchen, but also how to get organized with meal prep. Because cooking during the week was never a reality for me. I’d come home way too drained and stressed for that.
I started out doing what I THOUGHT needed to be done in order to get organized. This was the plan:
- Step 1: Flip through recipe books + browse Pinterest for inspo on what to cook.
- Step 2: Plan all the meals for the week.
- Step 3: Check what I already have and make a shopping list.
- Step 4: Get all recipe ingredients at the supermarket.
- Step 5: Cook and store in containers for the week.
Sounds like a solid plan right? Not for me!
First, I’d spend HOURS (yes, hours) flipping through books and pins before deciding on a recipe. Here’s a fun fact about me – I am EXTREMELY indecisive. So committing on recipes to cook for the week did not come easy. Especially because I am also the type of person that does not like repeating food often. I’d be flipping through recipes saying “nah, I did something similar last month”.
Needless to say, I’d feel extremely stressed every week just trying to decide what to make. And something I LOVE doing – flipping through cook books – all of a sudden started to become a burden.
The other main issue with my perfect meal prep plan was that I’d end up picking the wrong recipes. You know, the ones with multiple lengthy and exhausting steps and that require ingredients that you’ll buy and never use again. Those recipes.
I’d spend so much of my weekend just trying to pick recipes and cooking. It was a routine that I didn’t enjoy and half of the time I didn’t even like the results. Which made it oh so easy to not want to commit to cooking. Moe’s or overpriced Starbucks sandwiches were looking more fantastic by the minute.
I love a good pause, assess, and redirect. And that’s what I did with cooking. I just calmed the fudge down with the “perfect plan” and focused more on doing. Making it simple and focusing on basics. Because I remembered two things. 1) I am rebel in nature and don’t like sticking to plans; 2) My WHY for wanting to cook.
Nutrition is not about having the Instagramable, swimsuit summer body. It’s about giving your body love and nourishment. It’s about doing everything you can to keep it strong. And it all begins with having a say on what goes in and stays out. Cooking your own meals, is the purest form of self-care and love in my opinion.
I knew that if I wanted to keep showing up for myself in the kitchen, I needed to follow more my soul and less the “supposed to”. There’s no right or wrong and there’s more than one way of doing the same thing. The original plan wasn’t for me simply because I really don’t like sticking to a plan. So I found one that worked for me. A more spontaneous one.
The New Way (For Rebels)
My current cooking process is about letting the ingredients guide me. If I am being honest here, most of the time I step into the kitchen without having a single clue what I am going to make. I’ll check what I have in the fridge and pantry and just go from there. I won’t even know what is being made until halfway through. It’s more about allowing the ingredients to become what they need to become.
Your only limit is your soul!Ratatouille
Somehow cooking has become not only a way to nourish my body. It has also become my meditation, my creative outlet, my place of grounding, a place where I connect better with nature and myself – where I can just be. I wasn’t born with the gift to cook. I just learned to listen to what worked and what didn’t.
And I think that that’s what people see when I share a dish – joy!
I am a huge believer that cooking is not something you learn inside a classroom. You learn by doing it. And doing it often. Make tons of beautiful mistakes. That’s how you get better. If you are someone that thrives on structure and order, create an exciting plan that sparks joy. If you are a rebel and creative soul, let go of the “supposed to” and allow your inspiration to guide you to greatness. Embrace your rebellious nature – ditch the recipes and go wild!
Cooking is about showing up for yourself because you are oh so worthy of this type of love.
Are you ready to fall IN LOVE again with healthy eating? Then check out my online course DELICIOUSLY UNCOMPLICATED. It’s all about plant-based cooking (+eating) done in a simple, balanced, and delicious way.
Cook More with Deliciously Uncomplicated
The step-by-step guide to plant-based cooking (+eating) done in a simple, balanced, & delicious way!