Home Cooking Good for the Soul
Is Home Cooking Good for the Soul?
‘Oh, cooking is so therapeutic for me,'” That got him thinking about various therapeutic techniques used in mental health care, from art therapy to music therapy, drama therapy, and play therapy. Dr. Kocet says he believed: “Why hasn’t anyone done anything with cooking?” So in 2014, he developed and started teaching a graduate course on culinary therapy to counselling, social work, and psychology students at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
He only trained the class for two years, and Kocet has remained interested in developing an evidence-based and clinical foundation for culinary therapy. And in recent years, emerging research has shown that cooking is decent for the Soul. So here is what to know about how home cooking affects your mental and emotional fitness.
What Does the Science Say About Emotional Well-Being Cooking?
There’s a lot of evidence that healthy eating has many short- and long-term health benefits. And one way to adopt healthier eating habits is through home cooking.
Aside from that, while research on how cooking improves emotional well-being is limited, the existing studies are promising.
Researchers asked study participants about their experiences cooking during the COVID-19 lockdowns for a small, qualitative study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology in 2021. Overall, they discovered that cooking brought people happiness and relaxation and that gaining confidence in the kitchen made them feel more self-reliant.
According to the paper, one study participant said cooking “provided emotional relief.” “I can say that it eliminates the negative psychological effects of constant exposure to mobile phones and television.”
“During this time, I realized that there is no limit to what I can do,” another participant said, attributing this realization to home cooking and becoming more comfortable in the kitchen.
Food preparation can also be a great way to make new friends. For example, in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education Behavior in January 2016, researchers surveyed 8,500 adolescents in New Zealand. They discovered that their ability to cook was associated with stronger family bonds, better mental well-being, and lower levels of unhappiness.
And a review in book form in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that a lot of evidence suggests that community cooking programs help boost socialization and curb feelings of isolation.
What Might’ Cooking as Therapy’ Look Like?
Does cooking therapy exist if there’s evidence that cooking can help people with mood and well-being? Kocet says no, but he hopes that the current literature will help to build. The evidence base and that efforts like his (including the course he hopes to relaunch and begin teaching again soon) will pique people’s interest.
He adds that more research is needed to show that cooking interventions can improve mental health (similar to Rees’ group’s study earlier this year). Kocet, for example, is preparing to launch qualitative research on cooking and baking as stress. And anxiety relievers during COVID-19.
How to Get the Emotional Health Benefits of Cooking
While research indicates that increased kitchen confidence leads to improved overall confidence and self-efficacy. You don’t have to be a great cook to reap the mental health benefits of cooking
Now are three-pointers to help you get started:
1. Begin with the basics.
Making something — anything — for yourself to eat can assist you in reaping these advantages. “If you’ve never successfully cooked anything and decide to cook. Something super simple that turns out to be edible,” Kocet says, “that alone can be helpful for self-esteem and self-worth.”
2. Proceed With Caution
Including mindfulness in your cooking routine can also help. Kocet taught a whole lecture on mise en place in the graduate course he created on culinary therapy. This French term refers to how chefs prepare and neatly arrange. Their ingredients and equipment before cooking to make the process smoother. Doing this at home can be thoughtful and help to make the cooking process more conscious.
3. Make It a Social Event
If you want to reap the social benefits of cooking. Invite others to join you in the kitchen or to eat the food you prepare. It can be an excellent way to bond and share cultural food traditions that bring you closer together.
“Don’t be afraid to enter the kitchen,” Rees advises. It will assist you in meeting one of your basic needs (food). While enhancing your mental and emotional health in various ways.
“Being confident [in the kitchen] not only improves cooking satisfaction and enjoyment, but also self-efficacy, all of which are beneficial for mental and physical health,” and Taste.