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Those who know me, know that I have been cooking from the age of twelve at the time for my brother and I. But after the move to the UK at the age of nineteen, I found myself cooking for one. While many of my friends did not know how to, for me that was not an issue, however, I found cooking for one was a very solitary experience and this is why it is so important for me to turn it around.

Anyone that has done it knows how easy it is to just grab a bite of something, anything and not making sit down meals. Takeaways and meals out become our go to norm. For a period of time i is fine, but in the long run we don’t really have as much control over what we are feeding our bodies with. It becomes even more important in this day and age when we have so many pressures on our time and with the benefits of eating mindfully and making healthier choices, a seat down meal may just be what the Dr. ordered.

There are a vast array of meals for one in supermarkets and although we all have our favourites, many a times I was left feeling cheated because my experiences of them did not meet my expectations or simply because they changed the recipe for something that to me was simply perfect.

The only way to avoid this is to cook! Be mindful of the fact that if you are doing it for the first time, it will take you sometime to get there, but there is no other way than to do it, do it, do it until you make it!

You can subscribe to plans that deliver meals to your door, but you won’t get the same satisfaction that you would have from doing it yourself. And remember – Done is better than perfect.

For me this became even more important and a sort of coping mechanism, while I was on rotation to an ICU (Intensive care Unit), I loved doing so, but the amount of emotions it stirred up were by no means a small feat. Dealing with life and death on a daily basis as well as a super high pressured task driven job, meant I would often get home, take a shower and retreat to the kitchen to depressurise before I could then chat to my husband.

An easy way to ease yourself into it and make it work is, plan your meals, have a shopping list for your plan. Include in your plans meals that are tasty and nutritious because that will enhance your sense of accomplishment, that buzz we get for achieving something that had been a challenge, or simply the feeling of doing something that feels right. With that said, of course you can treat yourself with desserts but be mindful that the sugar content is not healthy option to have all the time. Also there is nothing more frustrating than having to think at the time what to cook, decide and check the fridge only to find we are out of the main ingredients for it – something that can easily happen when you have a busy job/career and /or responsibilities.

You can challenge yourself and make a round the world type of meal plan, where each time you choose a meal from a country you either find interesting, you have travelled to or even a country you know nothing about but would like to explore more.

Invest in cookbooks that spark both your curiosity and your taste buds.

Make sure you have your favourite spices and condiments to hand along with fresh herbs like parsley, coriander, basil and others because they are capable of turning anything as simple as eggs into something simply fantastic. If this is all new to you, maybe try farmers markets where the items are on display and you can pick them up to smell them, that will create an awareness where you can think – ooh, i can use this with that, or with something else. Besides there is a lot to be said about the power of spices and herbs in our health.

Cook with a digital friend in the background or a physical friend at a distance.
By this I mean, listen to your favourite songs, podcasts, create a playlist for cooking or call a friend and have a chat while you are cooking, as long as that friend is not too much of a distraction, because if you are anything like me, this is when something can turn up less well.

Or simply, make a point of enjoying your own company. Use it as an opportunity to take a moment, destress from the day and just give your all into the cooking.

Today, I love cooking, trying new things, and really really love my time doing it and will definitely go back to doing a lot more of it once the puzzles of my health are pieced together. Try it and let me know what you think, if you have any questions or tips. Later in 2020 i will release a recipe book for those who would like to take on this challenge. It will be an amazing and very pleasurable experience.

Set the table as if you were inviting someone special, remember you are that someone special – We don’t celebrate ourselves enough.

Switch off all distractions, having said that the occasional TV dinner is good for your feel good factor just not as much for our mindful eating. And tuck in.

Whichever way you do it, have fun!

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