Health starts in the kitchen
Health starts in the kitchen
Whether it’s the dropping temperatures or new pumpkin-spice products popping up seemingly everywhere you look, there’s no getting around the fact that the holiday season is quickly approaching. For many, this means time off work or away from school, comfort food for days, and family gatherings. Family gatherings can enjoyable, stressful—or a little bit of both.
Either way, family gatherings an important way to catch up with individuals who you’re close to, and the holiday season provides the ideal environment for family get-togethers. However, most people would agree that these gatherings would be a whole lot more fun for everybody if some of the stress was taken out of them.
Remember, you can always find ways to remove stress from stressful situations, but you can’t get back memories of family gatherings if you choose not to attend or host one altogether. So, highlighted below are some tips for stress-free family gatherings to help bring you all of the joy of the holiday season without the stress.
If you’ve been using the same three “good enough” cooking tools for as long as you can remember and just trying to make them work whenever you’re cooking a nicer dinner or inviting friends over, you’re not alone.
I don’t have time to cook.
You’ve heard it. You’ve even probably said it yourself. Not having enough time to do things—cooking or otherwise—has become an increasingly common excuse as people become seemingly busier and busier.
But think about it: aren’t terms like “busy” and “not enough time” kind of relative? For one individual, being “busy” might mean working a nine to five job, then working another part-time job afterward, and finally, a blissful arrival at home at 9 or 10 p.m. For others, it might mean heading to work at 10 p.m., getting off at 6 a.m., sleeping for most of the day and then doing it all over again. And for the third set of people, it might mean not going to your standard nine to five job at all but working from home or taking care of kids.
So, if being “busy” means something different for everybody, how is it possible that people from many different walks of life simply don’t have the time to cook? Maybe not having enough time really isn’t the crux of the issue at all, but rather, cooking healthy meals on a regular basis just doesn’t seem like enough of a priority. Compared to tasks related to jobs, school, or childcare, it can be easy to forget how important the food that you put into your body really is.
Let’s put it into perspective.
What if we told you that some of the most common health issues in the United States—even the ones that seem completely out of your control—are preventable? You might have heard the saying that food is fuel but think about what happens when you put the wrong kind of fuel in a car—it doesn’t run well. The same goes for your body: if you fill it with beneficial fuel, it runs smoothly; if you don’t, you may end up with one of these common health concerns that are highly preventable through lifestyle choices.
So, if eating healthy, local, high-quality foods can be the solution to so many health issues, why aren’t more people jumping on board? It’s a combination of misinformation about the prices of healthy foods combined with food accessibility issues and increasingly busy lifestyles that make fast food and takeout seem like the easiest option. In the past when humans were hunters and gatherers or when agriculture first began, most everyone’s lives were centered on gathering food and using this fresh, local produce to sustain themselves. Now, individuals are so much more disconnected from the food they eat—getting food is as easy as picking up a microwave dinner off of a shelf at the grocery store or getting a dollar menu meal at your favorite fast food place. Yes, the fact that modern technology has made food so accessible in so many places is great, but with more disconnect from the food gathering and cooking process also come the perils of eating lots of processed foods: the negative effects of foods high in sodium, trans fats, and especially refined sugar.
So, it might be easy to say that some of the most common health issues can be prevented by filling your body with the right kind of fuel—with good quality food—but how do you actually do that? It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to eat healthy food or support small businesses instead of franchises, but if you’ve been at work for eight hours and might even be considering bringing some work home that night, getting a burger, fries, and a shake in that drive-thru seems like the best and most stress-free option. Or, if you’ve had a long week filled with work, carpools, or even tasks around the house, but are planning a get-together this weekend, ordering cheap pizza, stuffed cheesy bread, and wings from a popular franchise seems a whole lot easier than cooking for 20. And, of course, if you’re on vacation, eating out every day really seems like the best option, even if you’re staying in a home with a kitchen.
So, yes, it’s understandable: everybody is busy, and food of lesser quality often seems like the quick fix. But consider this: if you’re thinking about your long-term health, is the quick fix really what you want? Is a little bit of time saved now worth the risk for highly preventable health issues later? It doesn’t seem like it. But, again, the work creeps up and even the weekends are filled with work, errands, or chores, and it does sometimes seem like the quick fix is the best way out. What if there was just as quick of a fix that still allowed you to have healthy, high-quality meals made with local produce whether you’re travelling and staying at an Airbnb or hosting a weekend get-together at your house?
This is where Placemat comes in. Placemat’s goal is to change the way individuals eat by connecting local chefs and culinary professionals with meals in the comfort of your own home. The service brings neighborhood ingredients right to your kitchen with the purpose of improving the health of individuals by making nutritious food more accessible, personal, and intentional. We’ve explored how better nutrition can affect overall well-being and are working to tackle just a small part of a complex issue. Most importantly, we want to show that better health is accessible and affordable and can benefit not only the consumer, but also the producer. Placemat takes the perceived difficulty out of eating nutritious meals: booking is done through the website where it’s easy to select a menu that can accommodate any and all dietary restrictions—vegan, vegetarian, Whole30, Paleo, gluten free, or that one person who eats anything and everything, we’re talking to all of you. Our team reaches out to confirm the booking, and on the day of your event, a local chef arrives and prepares your customized, family-style meal for you in less than 90 minutes—we even do the dishes. We’ve already served healthy, affordable, and delicious meals to more than 4,000 people in Nashville and know that we will continue to grow. With this in mind, think twice about ordering mediocre pizza, wings, and soda for your next get-together and try something that can give you a taste of local cuisine, benefits local chefs and businesses, offers a healthy meal, and provides you some quality time with family, friends, or co-workers all in the comfort of your own home or at an Airbnb in a city you’re visiting.