Culinary Medicine: Home cooking

by Farhana Rahman

Couple cooking at home


Day 2 of the Harvard Lifestyle Medicine conference we went to last month kicked off with a session on Culinary Medicine.  To be honest, I spent much of it looking around to see if anyone else realised this was basically everything my mother had ever told me about food.  But given that we now all live in a 24/7 world where we’re short on time and high on convenience, it makes sense that we should go back to basics.


8 reasons why home cooking is good for you:

  1. It helps avoid hidden calories.  Cream, butter, sugar and salt are used in takeaways/restaurant food to make it extra delicious but it all adds up
  2. Cooking food and eating it fresh avoids the need for the additives that are added to pre-prepared meals.
  3. You can control how much you eat – I always finish what’s on my plate and never waste food: this means if I eat out, I’ll just keep going until I finish what’s on my plate, which is normally way beyond me feeling full.  Many a night out has ended with me needing to undo my top button. Not good.
  4. You can decide the ingredients that go into your meals and onto your plate – more vegetables, healthy sources of fat and protein.
  5. Pleasure: there is joy to be had from the alchemy of turning an array of random items into a delicious meal.
  6. Mindful eating: Being present and feeling grateful for the blessing of food should be something we do every day.
  7. Thinking about the processes the food on your plate went through, how you put it together and enjoying the flavours helps you digest it better. 
  8. Social connections: cooking together and eating together is especially sacred when we live in a time of where the majority of our social interactions are virtual.  Use the time to unwind, relax and talk the day’s stresses away.


Ultimately, we know that so much of chronic disease is related to diet.  So why not use cooking as medicine and ‘treat’ unhealthy nutrition with home cooking.


Come back soon for part 2 and more on what we should eat.