How Cooking your Own Food Can Make you Healthier.

 Having grown up standing on a stool looking into the pan watching my dad cooking some exotic curry from Sri Lanka, I have grown a love for cooking and learning about food and different cultures foods. Having grown up as a mixed nationality, I have been exposed to some of the best quality meat and fresh vegetables and fruits that Ireland have to offer mixed with a fusion of spices that my dad would use to make the tastiest concoction of flavours to make a spicy chicken curry from Sri Lanka.

My diet has always been varied as my dad always loved to cook food from different cultures especially his infamous chicken curry and rice with the trimmings which included dahl (lentil curry), popadums and some shredded carrot. While a lot of Irish children were rared on bacon and cabbage which is one of my favourite Irish meals. I was having chicken curry, mixed rice, mackerel and noodles, prawn curry, steak and potatoes, seafood pasta carbonara and many other unusual meals.

My interest in food keeps evolving and I love to keep learning….

I love cooking, I love learning from different people how to cook and every time I travel I will try my best to pick up a cooking technique or a flavour from that country. Just recently I was in the Basque country in the North of Spain where I had the privilege of eating pinxtos and enjoying 1kg of rare cooked rib steak. The best steak I’ve ever tasted.

The new fitness trend..protein bars? protein shakes

A lot of people including myself are fooled into thinking that protein shakes, protein bars and other manufactured fitness food products are healthy. You see advertising a food product to be healthy doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or nutritious. Yes, it has 20grams of protein but it also tastes like Johnson’s baby powder. It is processed and it is a food product that the fitness industry makes to target us athletes and health conscious people. We have become so obsessed with labels that we constantly have to look at the wrapper to find out how many calories/ what’s the macronutrient breakdown when half of the ingredients look like ingredients from a chemistry experiment. I now try to keep away from these products as much as I can. Cooking your own healthy snacks allows you to put only what you wantinto them. There won’t be any extra additives or colours added unless you want them. Try out my recipe for coconut lime energy bites which only take a few minutes to make instead of buying a protein bar for 3 euro that has so many additives, colours and other crap in it.

Socialise with food.

Cooking can be fun, social and you can invite friends over to eat instead of going out on the town. I much prefer to cook a lovely meal and invite some friends and family over to enjoy. You can sit and chat enjoy the food together. Most evenings I can be seen at my mam and dad’s house with my boyfriend eating some meal that my dad prepared. We all sit around the table and eat and chat together. There are a lot of families that have lost this tradition and are now too “busy” to sit and eat together. If eating together has been lostwith your friends andfamily, cook up a dinner and invite them over. Restart the tradition.

Having a healthy relationship with food

Once you have your head on your shoulders and you have a healthy relationship with food there is no diet, there is no IIFYM (flexible dieting, clean eating, atkins, or any other diets that are sold to us in the industry. Why should we need a calculator to see how much food we need if you know the basics and cook a healthy meal with some healthy fresh ingredients then you’ll begin to have a better relationship with food.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

― Hippocrates

This article was written by Shakira Coonghe Bsc.