Unless we agree to get back to the kitchen and start cooking our own food, we will never be able to achieve true health and longevity. I believe this with all my heart and this sentiment is at the heart of what I teach. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or excessively time consuming but we do have to recognize it’s importance and commit to spending some time doing it. Do you currently cook? Do you enjoy cooking? My goal with The Rustic Dietitian is to make it as easy as possible for you to cook and to reap the rewards of real, fresh, whole foods. To garner some inspiration I highly recommend the docu-series, Cooked, available on Netflix and based on the book by Michael Pollan. I love the opening of this film and the following quote:
when we learned to cook is when we became truly human
The series explores the history of food preparation and its ability to connect people around the world. In essence, what a Rustic Diet is really all about.
Watch the Trailer
The film explores cooking through the 4 natural elements; Fire, Water, Air, Earth. Fire was our human ancestors first connection to cooking. It’s what anthropologists believe allowed us to evolve into homo sapiens. Rather than spending most of the day chewing fibrous and tough foods we were able to expedite the time required for eating allowing access to more energy from food and more time to devote to other tasks. This method of cooking eventually evolved into water based cooking. Once we developed heat resistant pottery we were able to evolve our cooking methods to include pot cooking. This form of cooking may well have given birth to cuisine; the melding of flavors to represent different regions and cultures. One of the recurring themes Michael Pollan brings our attention to throughout the film is that cooking is really about transformation. One of the ways we transform food is by adding air; an essential practice in the making of bread. I appreciate how he spends a significant amount of time exploring our history with bread and how our modern day bread is a far cry from traditional bread making; which I believe is probably why so many people have such a hard time digesting bread today. Consider that traditionally bread was made from only 3 ingredients; milled whole grain (usually wheat), water, and salt. The dough is allowed time to sit and ferment. This process is critical in improving the digestibility of the grain. When we skip this process and instead add yeast to allow the dough to rise we remove our ability to properly digest the grain. In the segment on Earth he continues his exploration of fermentation and all the important foods that are derived from this process; cheese, chocolate, alcohol, etc. Some anthropologists believe that the very first “accidental” fermentation was alcohol from fruit and other starchy vegetables. It’s quite possible that we had beer before we had bread! For me fermentation and the discussion of microbes not only in the transformation of food but also to the health of our bodies is a very important topic.
Take Home Message
Here’s what I came away with:
To cook or not to cook is a consequential question.
Traditional foods made in traditional ways WORK.
Time is the missing ingredient in our cooking…..and in our lives.
Industry doesn’t feed us, nature does.
Cooking is a vote against the food industry.
Cooking is what makes us human and what brings people together.
Start small. Make a roasted chicken or a pot of soup on the weekend and enjoy it for several days.
I believe that once you start cooking it will be hard to stop. At least that’s what’s happened for me. Pre-packaged and convenience foods will never taste as good as what you can make in your own kitchen. For that matter, many restaurants will not be able to compare to the fresh, homemade foods you can make. When you combine a little time, love, and high quality fresh ingredients a magical alchemy ensues leaving your taste buds and your health all the better for it! Join The Tribe to receive weekly nourishment, inspiration, recipes, and more delivered straight to your Inbox. (this article was first published on 5/26/16)