At The Natural Epicurean (our plant-based professional culinary school here in Austin, Texas) we spend our time training professionals to cook fabulous healthy and delicious food. We believe – and the research supports – that the type of food we prepare based on the 5 Essential Healing cuisines is vital to building and maintaining personal health. We also believe that even beyond training professional chefs, we can make a contribution by teaching people to cook at home more frequently. Up until now, we’ve been encouraging people to cook out of common sense and experience – it seems obvious that if you cook your own food, it will be healthier, cleaner and more nourishing.
In late November, at the American Public Health Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, I had the good fortune to hear Julia Wolfson from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health report on her research “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight loss intention?”. The study was a novel look at the effect of cooking your own meals at home on the caloric and nutritional content of meals, and her data clearly shows that the more frequently we take the time to cook our meals at home, the lower our calorie intake, and the less salt and fat we consume.
Bottom line – while it is great to know that you should eat a good meal, the practice of cooking and eating at home is now shown to be a key indicator of your likely benefiting from great food choices. In other words, if you want to heal through food, Cook!!!
Last year we created a series of distance learning programs to support individuals to learn to practice a range of healing cuisines, based on our 5 Essential healing cuisines model. We are striving to teach individuals and families to cook more, and to teach them in their own kitchen, supported by one of our chef instructors. We’re on a mission to teach a broad range of cooking skills, to support individuals to adopt a healing cuisine as a foundation of their healthy lifestyle. More than a diet, a healing cuisine is sustainable, responsible and downright flavorful!