Get Involved With Your Food

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There is no better alternative to home cooking when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet," says Michael Pollan in his book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. "What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic."

At Houston Weight Loss Surgery Center, the first question I ask my patients is: Do you cook at home? The answer is negative 99% of the time. Most bariatric patients don’t cook at home because, like many people, they don’t have time. “We do find time for activities we value, like surfing the Internet or exercising,” says Pollan. “The problem is we’re not valuing cooking enough.”

We are not getting involved with our food. We're not asking the questions: What’s in this dish? Where do the ingredients come from? What kind of spices are theses or is it simply artificial flavoring and food additives? Are there any antioxidants in what I'm eating or am I ingesting empty calories? Is there any fiber in my food?

“Cooking links us to nature; it links us to our bodies," says Pollan. "It’s too important to our well being … you’re going to use higher-quality ingredients than whoever’s making your home-meal replacement would ever use. You’re not going to use additives. So the quality of the food will automatically be better.”

Let the whole family get involved in meal preparation. Visit your local farmers market for fresh ingredients. Learn how to cook and perfect your favorite dishes. Ask a friend, a relative, or a coworker for a certain recipe to learn. Check the Internet for an endless number of meal preparation instructions and browse Youtube for hundreds of cooking videos. 

The obesity epidemic in this country has its roots in our kitchens. I have no doubt about that. Microwaves have replaced stovetops. Frozen foods have trumped local, fresh vegetables and fruits. Junk food has destroyed our taste buds and laid waste to our waists. Take over your nutrition today before it's too late. Obesity and diabetes are still on the rise, and unless we target the root of the problem, our health is in serious jeopardy.

You can fix the problem. Take action and get involved with your food.

Article by
Houston Bariatric Surgeon