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Kitchen Therapy

If you are in recovery, there are many reasons to learn to cook, or learn to cook better. The first, and most obvious is that you have to eat, so you might as well learn to cook. There will never be a point in your life when you kick yourself and say, “Why did I waste all that time learning to prepare delicious food?” It’s one of those skills with a lot of return on little effort.

It’s good to have a hobby in recovery and cooking is a pretty good one. It can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it, so there’s a low barrier to starting and you can improve for the rest of your life.

Cooking is a great way to get your brain back into shape. It’s a cognitively complex skill. Every new skill forces your brain to grow, and cooking does this in several meaningful ways. It requires planning and coordination to make sure everything turns out well. You also have to use many different senses–sight, touch, smell, taste, spatial awareness, an imagination. Imagining taste combinations is a skill very few people even attempt unless they spend some time in the kitchen. The best part is that you know right away if you’ve done a good job. A tasty meal becomes the perfect reinforcement and the incentive to improve your skills.

Cooking is also a social skill. You can go to classes to learn how to make certain kinds of dishes. It’s a good way to meet other people with similar interests. And if you are a good cook, people will always want to come to your house. Cooking for friends is the shortest route to popularity. Your significant other won’t mind either.

Perhaps most importantly, cooking your own meals makes you instantly healthier. Studies show that people who cook for themselves are healthier and closer to their ideal weight regardless of what they cook. Just making the meal yourself insures the food will have less sugar, salt, and fat, even if you make the exact same meal you would get at a restaurant. This is crucial for feeling good and staying healthy.

There are some caveats, of course. A lot of food is cooked with alcohol, so you may need to avoid those recipes or figure out a substitute. Also, if you have a food addiction, you should take appropriate precautions. But generally speaking, making your own meals, especially healthy, whole-food meals, improves your relationship to food and makes you less likely to overeat.

A healthy diet, engaging hobbies, and social connection are all important aspects of recovery. Why not learn to cook and kill three birds with one stone?

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.