One of the greatest things about being a mom is getting to cook for my daughter. She’s the reason I get up in the morning, the reason I eat right, and the reason I push on to be a better me. I want the food she eats to be good for her and satisfying and delicious, and I want her to expect healthy food and know how to cook it for herself.
I had no passion for cooking before she was born. My friends and I went out to eat nearly every night, and when we did eat at home, it was something from the freezer to the microwave without much thought. When someone little and special was suddenly looking to me to take care of her, it changed how I looked at food.
As Americans, we aren’t typically very educated on food and health. We know what we learn growing up at home. What to eat and how to eat it to be healthy is often a mystery to us, and unless we take the time and put in the effort to learn, we don’t eat the way that we should. We live on fast food, restaurant food, and microwavable meals. Sometimes, we actually cook something like pasta or a Thanksgiving turkey, but we just have never been taught how to approach our food in a way that is healthy, satisfying, and comfortable.
I’m still no expert, but I’ve come a long way. Reading books on the relationship other cultures have with food and downloading apps that track what I eat and what I need to eat to get the nutrients that are good for me was overwhelming at first. However, it got easier, and I started to have a real passion for cooking and focusing on making sure my daughter grew up knowing how to eat and be healthy. Somewhere along the way, cooking became fun. It became my stress-relief and my best form of self expression (I don’t dare call it “art”).
Today, my little girl is healthy and happy and much more disciplined about food than I am. We love what we eat, and we know that it’s good to eat it. Vegetables get royal treatment and glorious presentation (and sometimes get to be their own course at a meal), and fruits are a treat. Meat still gets much more attention than it should, but I’m learning that if I treat everything else with love in its preparation, I don’t miss having meat be front and center in every meal.
None of this would have happened to me if I hadn’t had my daughter to give me a reason to change my relationship with food and, as a result, my health and my happiness too. As I continue to learn and grow in this, I’ll try to share it with you – mistakes and all – and ask for your criticism and feedback as I go.
Maybe we can learn together, and one day thank my little girl for what she’s done for us.