I did a little experiment. I often ask clients/patients to track their food or pain to gain further understanding of the problem. I find it extremely informative for me but also for the client/patient. Suddenly, something that didn’t make any sense, all of sudden has a pattern to it.
So, I took my own advice in order to better understand how to help others. I decided to keep track of how much time I spend in the kitchen preparing or cleaning up whole food naturally gluten free meals for my family of 5. I was surprised at the results.
First, let me clarify that I do actually outsource some of my food prep during baseball season. More than I would like to admit, thinking that it made it so I spent less time in the kitchen. In some ways it did, and in some ways it didn’t. Either way, if I bought food it still required time, money and even time in the kitchen cleaning up the aftermath.
Also, I work part-time both at home and out of the home. My kids go to traditional school as well, so they take a lunch to school.
Here are my results:
On average that is 2 hrs and 32 min/day. That is 17hrs and 44 min/week. And that didn’t even include shopping for groceries. Many of those meals were re-heats during the week.
If I consider time spent grocery shopping then this is almost a full-fledged J-O-B!!! And to be clear here, this is simple meals: salad, steamed veggie, grilled/pan seared protein and homemade soup.
What it did teach me is that even when I am very efficient and even outsourcing, it is still time consuming. AND the kids even make their own lunch, which saves me a lot of time!!!
Let’s see where I can save more time:
Let’s see where I save time/energy in other ways:
The real issue personally for me is the LOVE-HATE relationship I have to the kitchen. I LOVE feeling good. I LOVE my healthy family. But sometimes I HATE being in the kitchen…not always…but sometimes. My mom hated it too, so I have to remind myself of all the good it is doing both for myself and the family. And whenever possible, I listen to great music to help cheer me up while working in the kitchen. And I do enjoy having a family dinner which happens much more often than it ever used to. Our daily “thorns and roses” where we review the bad and good of our day is precious. Listening to my daughter say the Scouts grace before dinner is priceless too.
Fortunately, I don’t work full-time, but I do work. If I worked full-time I may do things a little differently, but I would still find a way to make cooking at home possible….because it is invaluable to our current and future health. It is fundamental.
Yes, it takes time to eat well. I would challenge any other parent out there who doesn’t cook from scratch much, to start to keep track of your time eating out or “fast food” because I would guess that you are still using up a lot of time. That would be an interesting comparison.
I can’t say for sure, but I guess ALL parents are spending almost as much time as me in the kitchen if not more. The only difference is the choice of food. It take 5-10’ to boil pasta which is about as long as it takes to pan sear salmon or even steam broccoli.
In the end, I wouldn't change a thing. We have come so far in our health that it is worth the extra effort. And in fact, I do mostly have fun in the kitchen, but I enjoy my time out of the kitchen even more because we aren't running around to see doctors. Instead, we play outside, go for hikes, garden, read books and simply connect to each other and our natural environment.
I hope this exercise doesn't scare you away as a parent to make the time investment. Yet, please know that it is possible and definitely worth every moment.
Health is priceless.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove the idea that eating out or fast food is saving you time, my guess is it isn’t.
Replace with whole food from home.
Restore health and save money in the end with lower health care spending.
Eat Well. Move Well. Sleep Well. Soar On.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.