Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cooking Will Save the World

It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure out that I love to cook.  I love to taste and create and recreate.  I like to make mistakes and fine-tune.  I love scents and textures and how your whole head experiences food.

This, actually, is not what led to me getting diabetes.

I love to cook, but I also love helping people and teaching and watching people develop and identifying and owning projects - this is actually what gave me diabetes.

Because the job I had that let me do all of these things ate my entire life.  I worked sixty to eighty hour weeks and would barely have energy left to eat large amounts of deep fried catastrophes from whatever fast food place  was most convenient and pass out. 

I had this job for almost four years.

Then, I got recruited for a new job that sounded almost too good to be true.  Work at home for a rapidly growing company!  They loved what I did at my old job and wanted me to do the same for them.

While it didn't turn out to be exactly as advertised, it wasn't far off the mark.

It was a total life changer.  If it's ever offered up, I highly recommend working at home.  I'm more efficient at home, which equates to fewer hours worked.  My coworkers are a mixture of names on my screen and my husband and pets.

The other benefit of working at home is cooking. 

Jamie Oliver, famous British chef and real-food advocate, gave a Ted Talk (available on Netflix) about the importance of cooking in people's lives.  He correctly identified how cooking has fallen out of the typical American life - which is directly related to the shortened life spans of the last three generations.  He connected obesity related diseases/death all the way back to teaching kids to cook and eat properly in school.  He also cried for social responsibility of fast-food restaurants and grocery stores.

Right?!?

So, I was basically killing myself with eating catastrophic disgusting sludge.  My body knew the difference as soon as I started making three meals a day out of healthy, fresh ingredients.  I mean, there was a lot of damage to clean up - but it was a start.

Then, BAM!  Diabetes.

I thought I was out of the game because of diabetes.  I was so irate at food because cooking was one of my great loves.  It was like, just when I got started again, it all ended.

So, yes.  I've had to deal with my white flour and sugar addiction.  Yes, that super-sucked.  But, once the physical addiction is gone, it's not so hard.  And the love of cooking comes back.  Just, differently.

Kevin Smith once talked about why Clerks was so much better a movie than Mallrats.  With Clerks, budget gave them constrictions, which forced them to think creatively.  With Mallrats, they were given tons of money.  A problem came up, they just threw some money at it.

Diabetes has done the same to me.  It's easy to make something with lots of carbs taste delicious (or at least pretty good).  My meal planning has had to become much more creative so I can feel satisfied. 

When I went to my diabetes classes (3 hours a week for 3 weeks!), they taught us about label reading and eating out.  When faced with those options, diabetes is a difficult life to live.  However, when we covered amounts of carbs in typical cooking ingredients and fruits and vegetables, I realized how easy this was going to be.

Yes, if all you do is eat in restaurants, drive-throughs, and packaged food, you will probably die of an obesity-related disease - because it's not possible to sustain yourself indefinitely.  You will break and over-eat because healthful amounts of that garbage are incredibly small and nutrient light. 

However, I don't feel deprived by the food I cook.  I'm also able to eat nutritious food that my body needs.  I'm able to have my senses be over-loaded by spice and aroma instead of chemicals.

I found my spark again.  It's pretty tasty.