Bigger Than Biceps: The art of cooking


Last week I reflected on the art of bodybuilding and how society sees female bodybuilders. This time I want to highlight one of the things that bodybuilding teaches. There are many, but a particularly important one is cooking.

Believe it or not, some people don't know how to cook. They just don't get it. For a person who knows how to cook, I can't imagine not knowing how to feed myself, fresh, nutritious food. Even in middle school and high school I'm pretty sure I was capable of cooking pasta and scrambled eggs. I taught myself through trial and error as well as shadowing family members. I'm not Italian but my brother and boyfriend studied culinary, my grandmother baked a lot and my mom and her boyfriend grill and smoke meats. It was up to me to take the healthy spin on all of what I learned because traditional holiday meals in my household was usually a meat, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cream of corn.

I never realized how important meal prepping was until I learned that I needed to schedule my meals. That's the first thing that needs to happen. You can't expect results out of a process if you don't plan meals and stay consistent. Invest in plastic-ware and set aside an hour on Sunday, or the day of the week you have the most time and cook bulk food.

Benefits of cooking: (Some tips from Health Fitness Revolution)

• You learn about how distorted restaurant portion sizes are.

• You can't overeat if you portion correctly.

• You eat to fuel your body, not for comfort.

• The more time and effort you put into creating a meal, the more it will be appreciated by you or your family.

• You learn about what foods don't sit well with your stomach, which could lead to learning about a disease, sickness or allergy (lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, etc.).

• You learn to stick to the nutrition label by measuring the serving size (you'll be surprised at what a serving size of salad dressing and peanut butter looks like).

• You save money not eating out all the time and on medical bills from being sick from eating food without knowing how it was cooked or cooked with.

• It might also encourage a kitchen redesign or help keep your kitchen cleaner because you're in it more often.

Decide on a few different recipes or staple foods to cook up. I prefer brown rice, a main protein either meat, fish or beans and one vegetable or a mix of veggies. Typically I only prepare breakfast and lunch because I have more time to make dinner or I have less of an appetite at night. Adapt based on your lifestyle and work schedule. Incorporate a few staple snacks as well or meal two and four. I prefer an apple and cheese stick or rice cakes with peanut butter and a banana. Hard boiled eggs and yogurt works too. Keep in mind the carb, protein, fat macro combo for each meal.

By planning out meals its easier to avoid overeating. I was reflecting today on how many times I used to binge in college. Every single night hanging out with my roommates I would consume so many carbs and feel extremely guilty the next day. It was an endless process. Now of course I'm too tired to eat at night or let alone get an episode on Netflix in, but scheduling my meals and eating only those really helped.

Cooking told me that it's easier to cook simple food instead of creative recipes. I just think it's harder and more expensive to buy ingredients you may not always use.

To some it's a fun hobby but for me it's a priority and distraction from the bustle of life. I sometimes get frustrated that I have to set aside time to cook, but then I remind myself that it's time I save during the week when I'm busier. It's also a task that provides instant satisfaction (or a burnt dish).

Cooking isn't hard, it's just the way you go about it and how you can fit it into your lifestyle. But the benefits outweigh the burden.

— Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.


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