How You Cook Effects How You Feel
Article written by Daniel Max, Holistic Health Counselor, Yoga Instructor, Shiatsu Practitioner, owner of Sense of Self
Mom knows best. As the seasons change, so do the vegetables that Mother Nature provides. With the cooling temperatures of Fall, the vegetables we harvest are ones of a more grounding and warming nature.
When we eat right, the type of food we eat medicinally creates health and balance in our body. Similarly, varying our cooking methods will do the same.
The way we prepare our food plays a role in the effect it has on our body. In the Fall and Winter it is best to cook our meals on a lower heat for a longer period of time. This releases the more warming quality of our food and provides a settling effect that in turn helps internalize our focus.
Baked foods, sautéed foods, heartier foods, and root vegetables all contribute towards the thickening of the blood. When living in a cold climate, it is necessary for the blood to thicken as the weather grows colder.
Different methods and temperatures of cooking will also help balance out our personality. Since slower cooking methods are more grounding, it makes sense that rapidly cooked foods will have a more activating yet relaxing effect, suitable for the more stagnant and tense individual.
A more harmoniously sweet flavor, cooked undisturbed on a low heat for a longer period of time will have a more calming effect for the angry or impatient person.
The more pressure, salt, oil, time and heat that is used, the more concentrated the food will be. Concentrated foods provide the warmth needed for weaker constitutions that have lost interest in food or life.
When cooking, mindfully engaging with our food by pureeing, mashing, tossing, stirring, or kneading will help energize the food.
Cooking is the highest of art forms; when it is complete, you ingest your artwork and it becomes you and all those you feed.
It is helpful to be aware of your intentions. The state of the cook affects the state of the food. One can often taste the richness of a meal made and presented with attentiveness and love. Similarly so, a meal prepared in anger imparts anger. Respect what you are doing no matter how simple the preparation.
The foods you eat today prepare you for tomorrow. If feeling melancholy, bake something sweet like winter squash or yams with sweet spices such as cinnamon. Similarly, add some lemon zest to your dressings to add zest to your day. Become creative. At social functions, eating lighter, sweeter foods will help you be more sociable. When studying, simple concentrated foods will help your focus.
Be intuitive. Let the colors, flavors, shapes and smells be your guide.
Food Focus: Winter Squash
Not only sweet and filling, winter squash is known to have anti-cancer effects, is beneficial in fighting against diabetes and heart disease, and is rich in the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene which contains anti-inflammatory properties.
The rich content of beta-carotene in winter quash makes it a healthy vegetable to fight against asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, all of which have inflammatory symptoms. Winter squash is also rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, which considerably lowers the risk of lung cancer.
Being high in fiber, winter squash helps lower cholesterol and protects the colon.
Not only does this vegetable provide us with its sweetness, its carotenoids help regulate the blood sugar level. Its potassium content also helps lower blood pressure.
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