Today I have a fun little surprise for you 🙂
You guys know how much I love food. I love eating out, cooking, food photography, the list goes on…
So I am so excited to offer you a guest post today from my dear friend + private chef Michelle Kabler. She’s giving you 4 tips on how to maximize your self-care through what you do in the kitchen.
4 ways to create rhythm and self-care through home-cooked meals
Hi guys! I’m Michelle Kabler, a Certified Natural Foods Chef, and I am so excited to be with you today sharing my tips for finding self-care in the kitchen!
We all know that we feel our best when we take the greatest care of ourselves. You know what that feels like. Perhaps it’s feeding your body the foods you crave and thrive on, indulging in your favorite tea or bath salts, journaling, or finding solace and fun within your relationships and communities. Oftentimes we’re drawn to these self-care practices when we need it most – after a stressful week, or when we feel like we’re putting everyone else’s needs before our own. We catch glimpses of how amazing this feels, and it is sooo nourishing. It helps us reset, settle even further into our truest selves, and come alive again.
But what does it take to create self-care habits? To learn how to take supreme care of ourselves, not just when we need it most, but every day? With such full, rich, busy, amazing lives, how can we add simplicity and grounding in our day-to-day so that we can show up fully in all the areas that matter most to us?
The answer is through finding a rhythm to our self-care routine, one that becomes a staple in our lives. Almost like second nature, much like the way we brush our teeth because we know it’s good for us.
I know what you may be thinking. Life is crazy. You have a million things on your plate, and can’t possibly think of adding one more “thing.”
But what I’m about to tell you is going to be such a game changer. One of the most satisfying, sustainable ways to achieve this rhythm of self-care starts in your kitchen. I’m talking about you, in your kitchen, creating meals with your own two hands. This is one of the most healing acts you can do for yourself, and provides nourishment on so many levels.
Not sure where to start? Here are 4 delicious ways to create rhythm and self-care through home-cooked meals…
#1 – Cook foods that bring ultimate pleasure.
Food is the ultimate vehicle for pleasure. Not just because it’s at the center of celebrations and special occasions, but because it awakens all 5 of our senses. It excites, delights, and for some can even comfort us when we need it to.
So many women spend years dieting, depriving, and restricting themselves from what their bodies are really craving. Years of this lack-mentality around food has the potential to turn meal times into boring times. The more satisfaction we receive from our meals, the more joy-filled our lives become beyond the plate.
I want you to consider this: YOU’RE WORTH IT.
The fact that you are alive is a miracle. You are an incredible woman up to big things in this world, and you deserve to feel supreme pleasure.
No more boring grilled chicken. No more diet, low-fat foods. No more same-old boring salad 10 times a week. When we create pleasurable, enticing, delicious, sensual meals, we actually WANT to cook again and again. Start cooking the foods that excite you, and you’ll quickly find home cooking becoming a part of your self-care routine, week after week.
#2 – Gravitate towards foods that balance your mood.
Cooking is a spiritual act. As we chop, mix, add heat, and use our own two hands, we transform mere ingredients into a drool-worthy meal that nourishes your body on multiple levels. We deliver nutrients, satisfy our senses, and feed the pleasure centers in the brain. Through cooking, we have the power to change the chemistry of your body. Pretty cool, huh?
Arming ourselves with this power, we have an opportunity to use food to balance our mood and emotional state. For example, if you’re feeling scattered during a busy week of deadlines, you can introduce grounding foods to achieve a greater feeling of balance. Prepare root vegetables like potatoes and winter squash, increase your whole grains, or incorporate spices like pepper and clove. Conversely, you may be experiencing deep healing and transformation in your life, and be looking to introduce more heart-opening foods into your meals to encourage deeper growth. Focus on meals with green foods, like Swiss Chard, broccoli, and bok choy, or sip on tea made with lavender, jasmine, or rose.
Experiment with different food groups and see how they make you feel. Use foods interchangeably to elevate what you’re experiencing throughout the week. Whatever your soul needs, listen to her. You’ll find the simple act of cooking a home-cooked meal will bring you even deeper self-care and healing. Pure magic.
#3 – Start batch cooking.
This is the ultimate act of self-love. Batch cooking is setting aside time once a week to prepare mix-and-match dishes that enable you to feel nourished during even the busiest week. You know that dread that comes around 7pm when you suddenly realize you’re starving yet the fridge is empty? With batch cooking, that healthy food you’re craving will be ready to go. No more restaurant takeout, no more eating the same exact leftover meal 6 times in a row, and no more throwing un-eaten groceries in the trash the following week.
Batch cooking requires planning ahead. It means spending a few hours on a Sunday afternoon or Monday night to prep you for the week. Look at it like this: when you consider your lifelong longevity, a few short hours once a week will actually add hours to your weeknights and your life, so you’ll have more time and energy to get back to the things that matter to you most. It’s a no brainer.
When we batch cook, we provide nourishment and supreme self-care all week long. The more we do it, the more rhythm we’ll find throughout the week, and the more we can shift our divine energy to all the other exciting things in our lives.
#4 – Batch cook, but leave room for your body’s intuitive voice.
Batch cooking is a self-care dream, but what happens when our bodies crave something other than the food in our fridge?
Our bodies are constantly sending little nudges and calls for attention so we can give ourselves what we need to thrive. Listening to this intuition is a must. Oftentimes when we ignore our body’s signals, we’ll end up binging – either on that very food we’ve been avoiding, or on something else entirely to numb out the sensation, like social media, TV, alcohol, just to name a few. Cravings are not a bad thing. For example, when we crave chocolate, that often means we’re mineral deficient. Go ahead! Eat the chocolate! And seek other mineral rich foods like sea vegetables and high quality sea salt. OR it could mean we’re seeking comfort in an area of our lives, and can comfort ourselves in other ways beyond food. Regardless, our understanding of our cravings is directly related to our level of self-care.
Life is about balance, and it is actually possible to eat healthy, home-cooked food AND enjoy what we’re craving. Stock the fridge with batch-cooked food that pairs well with mid-week fill-ins. For example, I like to make sure I always have dark leafy greens on hand, since they help me complete a balanced meal when I’m craving something on the richer side (like a slice of pizza).
Looking for examples of good batch cooked foods that leave wiggle room throughout the week? Try:
- making big batches of whole grains like brown rice or quinoa that can be added to different dishes throughout the week to help you feel fuller longer (add them to stir fries, mixed grain salads, as a salad topping, or breakfast porridge)
- making at least 1 bunch of leafy greens to fill in where needed (salads, smoothies, sautés, and torn into reheated soups)
- preparing at least 2 proteins and 2-3 different vegetable varieties for the week so you don’t get sick of eating them too many times
- stocking individual portions of nutrient-dense soups in the freezer that can be easily defrosted and eaten before your “treat” or alongside that main dish you’re craving
- BONUS: stock your kitchen with healthified versions of the “treats” you typically crave (i.e. high quality local dark chocolate, hearty homemade muffins, homemade coconut milk ice cream, etc.)
Have fun on your self-care journey in the kitchen!
Happy & healthy,