My daughter just turned 7. Holy wow. Normally this would be followed with a time flies type of cliche but, for me, it really feels like that was a long time ago. A long time. That little baby girl in my arms inspired me to cook better and, in turn, inspired me to teach other parents to do the same. Thing is, I don’t really feel that I have succeeded. Sure, I can do a cooking demo at a local farmer’s market and be surrounded by parents into cooking organic local food and watch as their kids get into it to. That is easy. Preaching to the choir. But, I am obsessed now with spending my time to reach everyone else. To really put myself out there and play the odds. I know this will cause some people to not like me or think I am an idiot but I don’t care anymore. I have to do this. Now.

I started by thinking of the reasons we don’t cook anymore. I include myself in this because I have used all these same excuses (reasons?) at some point in my life. Let’s just get into it. Let’s hash it out.

I will start with the big one. The one I have heard countless times over the past 7 years and the one I struggle with the most.

1. I am too busy to cook.

I know you have all said that a few times. Daily? So let’s look at it a different way for a minute because I really want to overcome this. So, time. Time clicks away every second. It is always the same. It just is and you can’t control it. Tick tock, tick tock. So, what if we stop trying to control it? The only reason we are “busy” is because we choose to fill a certain amount of time with too many things. We choose to be busy. I can hear you saying, “I don’t choose it, I don’t want to be busy!” Sorry, you do.

Our day goes by. Time is always the same. It will never surprise us and be less one day and more another. We decide what we want to do in all those minutes. Every minute is the same amount of seconds. We are always doing something in these minutes so it is up to us to pick what those things are and up to us to rate the importance of each task. Most of the things we do are based on the consequences of not doing them. We are never too busy to show up to work because we know not showing up could mean getting fired, then losing our house, then medical insurance, etc etc…big consequence. We are not too busy to pick the kids up from school, go to that doctor’s appointment, feed the dogs, or whatever else you deem important enough or a “must do.”

But we still choose to do all these things. The only reason we say we “have” to do them is because the consequences of not doing them are too great. (In our opinions.) The only reason we are “busy” is because we have too many things we have to do everyday. Then, in turn, all the things we want to do get pushed aside. This is the recipe for stress. This is why we run around all day and then feel resentful that we didn’t get any “me” time or didn’t even have time to eat, let alone eat something healthful. But do we really need to have all those things on the “have to” list? Are there things we can push down in order to make more time for cooking real food? Are we really using all our time to the best of our bodies, our souls, and our children?

I often wonder why, for so many people, eating healthy real food is not up there on that “have to do” list? Any ideas? What if we put cooking real food for our kids and ourselves up there with our jobs as something we have to do everyday? If the consequence of eating processed convenience foods is poor health, diabetes, obesity, forcing your kids take care of you in your golden years, and then your kids, that you love, following this same path then doesn’t it make sense to put that as a top priority? It does to me. But, since most of those consequences are usually far in the future we don’t see them as important. But, guess what? The second we find that weird lump, or have those chest pains that could be a heart attack coming on or whatever things change. All of the sudden we are not too busy to care for ourselves but sometimes it is too late.

Poor health usually comes on slow. This is the problem. If you ate a bunch of fast food while smoking and stressing out driving your car and then got lung cancer, diabetes, and had a heart attack before you even got home my guess would be that most people would decide to not do those things. But, you could do all those things and be totally fine. You could do them everyday for a week, a month, a year, and feel just fine. In fact, you will probably feel worse if you stopped doing it. This is where things get tricky. We are killing ourselves slowly every day and blaming it on being too busy. Too busy to cook real food, too busy to care about ourselves, to busy to live a healthful high energy long and beautiful life, too busy to teach this to our kids, and we don’t even think it’s our fault. It is the world out there making us too busy. Are we serious? This seems totally insane as I write this.

But, what is the solution? First, what if we realize everything we do, feel, and be everyday is our choice. It is not what happens out there that determines things but, rather,how we react to them. We control these reactions. This realization alone can change your life. If we are late for something we chose to do in the first place and then traffic backs up and our car starts to overheat it is totally up to us how we can react to this. This is freedom.

So, what if we choose to put our health and the health of our loved ones up on the “have to do” list everyday? I think this will change the way we look at eating in general. Sorry, I didn’t see who won American Idol last night because I had to prep my kids school lunches and set up a nice lunch for me. Oops, I can’t stay late at work because I have to stop by the Farmer’s Market and get some local vegetables for our dinner tonight. Once you change cooking and eating real food from a “want to” to a “have to” I promise you will find the time. Plus, we can’t “find time” anyway. It is just there. It is all in how we look at it.

Then the next step is to move cooking beautiful healthy food from a “have to” to a “have and want to” This is the goal. This is a great place to be. A place where you get to feel good everyday. Don’t worry, you will still be busy. I won’t try and take that badge of honor away from you. But, at least now, you will feel great and be able to have all the energy you need to get through those days with a smile.

And the best part is It’s your choice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on all this, that is, if you are not too busy….

Check out The Chef and Father Podcast Episode 6 for more on the subject of being too busy.

And subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss the 2nd reason why we don’t cook beautiful healthy food everyday. “I can’t afford it.” Yep, can’t wait to dive into that one.

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Much love,

Chef Greg



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