Since the start of my birthday on August 1st (2016 for future references), I have lost 10 pounds by simply changing not just what I had been eating, but how I was cooking.
I made it a point that age 29 was going to be highly focused on cooking because:
- I wanted to save money.
- I wanted to impress others.
- I wanted to eat healthier.
I certainly dabbled in cooking for years prior, but I often found myself falling back on old habits and buying quick meals (usually fast or frozen meals) because I felt lazy.
What changed this time that has so far stuck is that I began introducing a different variety of foods to my diet as well as new and interesting cooking wear to keep my attention.
The result? Well, my gut has started to shrink, I am down 10 pounds, and my pants are getting loose.
Here are a few things that made the big changes to my time in the kitchen:
1. Sweets To Salty
I have never been a huge fan of sweets, but lately this year and especially after I committed to cooking I have been finding myself absorbed in salty foods versus sweets.
- In place of a soda I will drink green tea or have a coffee.
- Instead of gummy worms I stick to pistachios or cashews.
- Crackers have replaced cookies.
Dumping the refined sugars has made me feel quite amazing. I do not get those sugar rushes nor am I stacking on empty calories. Over time I had a preference for salty (and bitter) foods rather than indulging in my sweet tooth.
That went places considering nuts are great for protein, natural sugars (when you want to indulge) in fruit is healthier, and snacks like crackers or popcorn provided a better source of much-needed fiber I was not getting before.
2. I Upped The Hardware
A change to your kitchen on a hardware level is like giving an artist a new color palette. You unlock a whole new world of cuisine and when you find recipes that pique your interest, well then…you start using these new appliances like crazy.
Some upgrades were easy while others did come at a higher (but worthwhile) investment:
- A better rice cooker to really take my Asian recipes to the next level.
- A pasta roller to make extremely fresh Italian dishes.
- A variety of new, durable, sharp knives for better technique.
- A better set of organizers for the pantry for easy access.
I even went as far as considering professional appliances like a commercial fridge because I was cooking more, creating leftovers, and constantly picking up great finds when I was out at the stores (especially when there were sales!).
Hardware changes everything if you are willing to make an investment and avoid unitaskers; go with the hardware that provides “big wins” and it will bring you to a whole new level of challenges and fun.
Oh – and if you are wondering how this contributed to losing weight. Well…anyone that knows how hectic cooking can be can tell you what a workout it can be!
Suddenly I am going from hitting the zap button to micro-managing pans and you will feel the burn.
3. Going Local
I have the privilege of living within a 5-minute proximity of a farmer’s market (though it is only available on Thursdays and some of the odd ones).
Despite it not being a regular occurrence, I still make the most of my local offerings at the market and on a local level.
- Fresh veggies and fruits are coming from the market.
- I try to purchase meats (especially fish because we have many lakes) from stalls.
- The ethnic markets (we actually have a Polish and German market in my town) are fantastic.
Going local helps you avoid the temptations of the big box stores, which are chock full of products that are likely to tempt you into submission.
When you are going to the local markets and shops, you are usually limited in selection, which means you have to work with what you have.
Base your diet around what is fresh and available and you will quickly find out how easy it can be to lose a few pounds because you are not reaching for those snacks you do not really need at the big box store.