We know, it’s so easy just to say…”let’s go out to eat tonight.” However,

unhealthy-restarant-take-out-meal
Unhealthy Restaurant Take-Out Meal

restaurant food is often loaded with saturated fat, salt, processed meats, refined-carbohydrates, and sugar, and not a good or healthy option, according to Consumer Reports (CR). Let’s look at some of health risks associated with unhealthy fats, or saturated fats typically found in restaurant, take-out, precooked meals, or precooked package foods (frozen), then you’ll have a better understanding and  appreciate the value of Cooking In Home Benefits.

The human body needs some fats from food for bodily functions and remain healthy, but those fats should be “polyunsaturated”, or “monounsaturated fats”, and “omega 3 fatty acids”, which is what we recommend, and so does Harvard Medical School in this study.   These healthy fats  are only found in lean, organic, nutrient-dense grass-fed finished or free-range meats, wild-caught-fish (not farm-raised), extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil, organic fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts.

According to American Heart association, saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. A National Institutes Of Health (NIH) study had this to say about saturated fats,

In conclusion, strong evidence supports the partial replacement of SAFA-rich foods (saturated-fats) with those rich in cis-PUFA (polyunsaturated-fats) to lower LDL-C (cholesterol)and reduce CHD (coronary heart disease) risk.

Here is one more NIH study, confirming the health benefits of replacing saturated fats with mono-unsaturated fats (MUFA), which reduces the risk of cardiovascular events or mortality, and stroke. Yet, another NIH study revealed the incredible health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.  Now, let’s take a quick look at sugar. Per this NIH study, consuming too much added sugar, especially from sugary beverages (sodas), increases your risk of weight gain and can lead to gaining weight, resulting in fat accumulation, resulting in condition like diabetes and heart disease.

This NIH study linked sugary food and drink to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which are all risk factors for heart disease. The NIH at it again, with this study involving over 430,000 people, which found that added sugar consumption was positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine. Do you want one more?

According to the NIH, consuming a lot of processed foods, including high-sugar products such as cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression.   Processed meats such as salami, cured bacon, ham, hot dogs, have been preserved by curing, smoking, salting, and drying, and generally not healthy.  In one study processed, or cured meat was linked to hypertension.   In a NIH study, it was determined there was an association between processed meats and mortality,  not only by cardiovascular disease but also cancer.  Another NIH study showed a possible link between processed meat and COPD. Here is what NIH had to say:

Frequent cured meat consumption was associated independently with an obstructive pattern of lung function and increased odds of COPD.

Cooking In Home Benefits you and your family health-wise, and is a much better option.  Consuming this sort of unhealthy foods on a regular basis can do serious damage to your body, especially if you do it over of many years. Eating it sparingly won’t do much to harm your body, but this is true if only done once in a while, like once a week.

Even adding takeout to your body once a week can do some unhealthy things. You are not doing much good for your health by eating take-out at home.  It’s the quality of the food, not where you’re eating it.  According to this National Institutes Of Health (NIH) study, people are eating at home more but not cooking more. They said…

Efforts to boost the healthfulness of the US diet should focus on promoting the preparation of healthy foods at home while incorporating limits on time available for cooking.

Eating frozen precooked packed foods from groceries isn’t any better either. If

unhealthy-frozen-prepackaged-meal
Unhealthy Frozen Prepackaged Meal

you eat out three times a day for an entire year, as many Americans do, that’s 1,095 unhealthy meals a year. You’d be loading up on excessive amounts of bad fat, salt, and sugar every time you ate! That’s way to many times to do something over the course of one year that’s really unhealthy for you and your family.

And guess where America ranks in being the fattiest population in the 192 countries in the world? According to the WorldAtlas website, would you believe 12th? While a majority of other 11 countries that top the list ahead of the U.S., are small and sparsely populated countries, Mexico and the US, with large population continue to top the list in recent years over larger populated countries.

Is there any wonder there’s an obesity epidemic in America? Over 50% of American adults today are overweight or obese. Wikipedia statistics show that obesity rate in America tripled since 1960. In 1962, 13% of Americans were considered obese, by 2015-2016, obesity had risen to 39.6% of the total population. Quoting Wikipedia:

Obesity is one of the leading health issues in the United States, resulting in about 300,000 excess deaths per year.

More than 20% of children ages 6 to 11 are considered obese, as are 18% to 20%

unhealthy-fast-foods
Unhealthy Fast Foods

of teens ages 12 to 19. According to a study published in the New England Journal Of Medicine, United States had the highest rate of childhood obesity in the world at nearly 13%. The study also found that 2.2 billion people around the world, about a third of the planet’s population, are estimated to be overweight. And 10 percent of the global population is considered obese.

Doctors define being overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9; obesity is having a BMI of 30 or greater. On average, Americans are consuming more calories today than they did thirty years ago. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and reviewed by the Verdant Health Commission, men consumed 2,450 calories a day in 1971, and women consumed 1,542. In 2000, the numbers were 2,618 for men and 1,877 for women.

Americans are eating more foods prepared away from home than ever before and that number is growing each and every day. In 1977 to 1978, people got about 18% to 20% of their daily calories from these kinds of unhealthy foods; namely fast foods, restaurant takeout, fried foods, pizza, precooked meals, and precooked frozen foods. In 1995, the percentage had risen to around 32%. An increase of almost 100%! Enjoying indulgent food is okay occasionally, but cooking and eating at home will help you learn to appreciate better and healthier food, especially if you consciously choose healthy ingredients to make healthier meals.

Eating at home allows you to control your portion sizes as well. If you have a

unhealthy-frozen-precooked-meal
Unhealthy Frozen Precooked Meal

meal at home, you can start small and then have a little more if you are still hungry. At a restaurant, you are limited to what’s on your plate, which is usually over-filled to give the appearance of value, and you may feel the need to eat everything on your plate because it’s right there in front of you. Most successful diets are simply portioned-control diets, where you usually eat less.

Eating out in restaurants or in fast food places, or even eating prepacked foods, increases the risk of contracting food-borne illness or other serious health issues. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), one in six Americans contract a food-borne illness each year! Alarmingly, approximately 3 thousand of those who contract food-borne illness actually get really ill and die.

By cooking at home, you can eliminate that risk because the food you select is typically fresher, appropriately stored, and cooked properly. Another concern is food allergies and intolerances. Some people are severely allergic to certain ingredients, so that’s also a concern for some. Restaurants don’t know what you’re allergic too, nor do they really care.

Home Cooking Much Healthier

A study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventive

unhealthy-fatty-take-out-fried-chicken
Unhealthy Fatty Take-Out Fried Chicken

Medicine found that people scored better on the Healthy Eating Index when they cooked at home. The obesity study, by researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Washington, reviewed by the NIH, looked at a week’s worth of cooking and eating habits among more than 430 adults in the Seattle area, according to an Oregon State publication. In households where residents cooked at home 3 times per week, the average score on the Healthy Eating Index was about 67.

For those who cooked at home 6 times per week, the average score rose to about 74. Scores on the index range from zero to a perfect score of 100. A score over 81 indicates a good eating practice 51 to 80 signifies the diet was bordering on unhealthy and needed improvement and 50 or lower was considered unhealthy. The study found that home-cooked dinners were associated with a “greater dietary compliance.”

The differences were significant, even with a relatively small study sample,

said Drewnowski about the study, a professor of epidemiology at University Of

unhealthy-frozen-prepackaged-cooked-meal
Unhealthy Frozen Prepackaged cooked Meal

Washington.

Home Cooking Reduces Calories Intake

When people frequently prepare meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less saturated fat than those who cook at home irregularly or not at all, according to a study published in 2014 in the journal Public Health Nutrition. In examining four years of data from a national health and nutrition survey, researchers discovered that on an average day, the 8 percent of adults who cooked dinner once a week or never cooked dinner consumed 2,301 calories, 84 grams of fat and 135 grams of sugar, which were all above ideal levels.

That’s according to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Meanwhile, the nearly 50 percent of adults who cooked dinner six to seven times a week consumed 2,164 calories, 81 grams of fat and 119 grams of sugar on a typical day, according to the study. That’s still high, but it’s better than the group who hardly cooked at home.

Be Healthy and Save Money

The Cheapism Blog found in 2016 that a family of four, having a home-cooked chicken meal cost roughly $32 or less, even when accounting for food waste, the blog says, while a takeout meal with the same ingredients cost an average of $46.90

unhealthy-restaurant-take-out-meal
Unhealthy Restaurant Take-Out Meal

and the dine-out version added up to more than $50. From 2014 to 2015, the amount of money that Americans spent on food at home inched up by 1.1%, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau Statistics.

During the same period, however, the amount of money Americans shelled out for food away from home jumped by 7.9 percent. So there appears to be a disconnect between cost and convenience. According to Forbes Magazine research, it’s 5 times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than to cook at home. Average cost for ordering a meal from a restaurant was $20.37, and a home-cooked meal was $4.31.

According to the U.S. Department Of Labor, the price of groceries has gone up by approximately 0.3 percent, which believe it or not, is incredibly unusual due to the fact that grocery prices usually rise at a higher rate annually. Alternatively, the same study showed that restaurant prices have risen a whopping 0.5 percent since 2015. It’s clear that if you want to save yourself money, eating at home is the way to go.

Have Some Fun

Cooking is definitely the activity that will help me get rid of the tension or

unhealthy-fatty-fatty-fast-foods
Unhealthy Fatty Fast Foods

the stress built up of the day. In fact, this goes beyond just your stress issue. Studies have shown that cooking can really be a therapeutic activity. Even just making a simple salad or something as simple, has shown to improve an individual’s mindset because you have to be mindful. The reason is also simple, when you cook, you stimulate your senses because you’re are actively involved in producing something beneficial, and your sense of accomplishment, is irreplaceable.

One of many Cooking In Home Benefits is it boosts your self-esteem, and even lower your anxiety, or even depression! In fact, one study sighted in the Wall Street Journal, how therapists have successfully used cooking to treat depression, anxiety and other psychological problems.

When cooking, patients can really focus their mind on something more positive. This whole process helps to curb negative thinking and boost their confidence. Then there’s the feel of the new flour you bought at the market, or the smell of those fresh strawberries, or maybe the sound of the whisk beating, all those things can stimulate your senses, which contributes to the release of more endorphins, those feel good hormones that put a smile on your face. The NIH weighed in on the psychosocial benefits of cooking and had this to say about it:

unhealthy-restaurant-take-out-meal
Unhealthy Restaurant-Take-Out Meal

Finding benefits to cooking that extend beyond nutritional may be helpful in increasing motivation and frequency of cooking. This review suggests that cooking interventions may positively influence psychosocial outcomes, although this evidence is preliminary and limited. Further qualitative and rigorous quantitative research are needed to identify mechanisms by which cooking interventions may improve psychosocial outcomes.

How about savoring your food? That too will bring on the endorphins, as related in this ScienceDirect study! The physical act of preparing your own meals will lead to a newfound appreciation for the food you consume. This is very important since mindless munching and emotional eating can contribute to poor digestion and unhealthy weight gain because you’re not fully conscious of the foods you’re eating. Being more aware of what you consume when you prepare it will make you less likely to overeat or have stomach issues.

Your Creativity Will Flow

Once you gain that confidence and you will, you will be able to let your

unhealthy-take-out-pizza
Unhealthy Take-Out Pizza

creativity take over and start experimenting, which is good for your mental state especially if you have been feeling down. The Smithsonian online in a article “Feeling Down? Cooking and Baking Could Make You Feel Better,” discussed the mental health benefits of cooking and being creative. The thing is, after you’ve been cooking good food for a few months, you’ll begin to get the hang of it, because you will have learned by trial and error, the best ways to do things and use different cooking methods.

It’s at this point that you can start to explore cooking on your own and come up with your recipes and dishes and let your creativity juices flow. Eventually, you’ll be making dishes that have specific tastes that your family look forward to eating, and that only you are able to make, and you’ll even become famous in your family. And, if not famous, at least popular! This will without a doubt keep your family coming back for more, and they’ll be much healthier for it.

Better Quality Family Time

Family dynamics can greatly improve with more at home, family meal times. Children greatly benefit from the ritual of preparing and eating meals together. This is also a great teaching tool for parents to instill healthy

unhealthy-sugarly-take-out donnuts
Unhealthy Sugary Take-Out Donnuts

eating habits in their children. In fact, according to a ScienceDirect study suggested that eating family meals together is great for kids and said,

Children who routinely eat their meals together with their family are more likely to experience long-term physical and mental health benefits, a new Canadian study shows.

Eating as a family at the dinner table is associated with fewer psychological issues and higher academic success in children and promoted sociability in family.

Your children will imitate your cooking and eating habits and possibly form lifelong habits related to their own nutrition and health. When you cook and eat together as a family (1), you can control what your children eat more fully, too. And, what better way is there to get your children off on the right foot, by learning how to cook, which will lead to a life of health and well being?

Controlling Quality

When you order at a restaurant, you receive the quality that the establishment

unhealthy-harmful-additives-junk-food
Unhealthy Harmful Additives Junk Food

sets and how talented their chef and cooks are. When you cook at home, however, you enjoy the quality you feel you and your family deserve. If you want to buy organic products, free-range meats, or reduce the amount of preservatives you eat, it is easier to do so because you choose the ingredients.

At home, you can decide how your food will be prepared to preserve maximum nutrition, by choosing the healthiest nutritious foods, reducing unhealthy salt and sugars, and saturated fats. For example, you can avoid overcooking your food so it retains more of its nutritional content. You can choose to steam or grill rather than fry foods, helping you reduce fat and preserve more of the nutritional value of the food you eat.

Quality Nutrient-Rich Foods To Cook At Home

Certified Organic, Lean Grass-Fed Finished Meats. Certified organic grass-fed finished meats (A) such as beef, lamb, and bison, means these food animals are grazing on grass and plants that have grown in totally organic soil. That means the food animals have not been fed corn or grains high in saturated fat, and the soil and the plants the food animals eat, have not been treated with synthetic fertilizers, chemical additives, antibiotics, or pesticides, making the food animals much healthier.

certified-organic-grass-fed-or-free-range-finished-meats
Certified Organic -Grass-Fed Or Free-Range Finished Meats

We can’t stress this enough, the fact that food animals are not given corn or grains as food, antibiotics or hormones, making it not only healthy and nutrient-rich meats, but also safer for human consumption than the meats from animals that grazed on chemically-fertilized fields and pastures. Wild game, such as deer (venison), or elk, or rabbit, are good choices too, because there’re lean and nature-fed on grass and plants, as well, according to CNN Health Expert.

Certified Organic, Lean Free-Range Finished Poultry. (A-see grass-fed finished link) Certified organic chicken, turkey, and duck, means they are also grazing on grass, plants, and eating insects, in soils that have not been treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Nor are they given corn or grains as food, antibiotics or hormones, making their meats safe for human consumption. Wild game is also lean and healthy and should include, wild turkey, quail, grouse, and dove.

Certified Organic, Grass-Fed, Or Cage-Free, Finished, Brown Chicken Eggs. (A-see grass-fed finished meats link) Laying hens are given free-rain to roam grassy pastures and forage for their own food, making them leaner and healthier.

Certified Organic, Grass-Fed, Finished, Dairy. (A-see grass-fed finished meats link) Milk cows producing milk, butter, and cheese products, are allowed to graze freely in organic grassy pastures for their own foods, making them leaner and healthier,

healthy-mediterranean-diet-wild-caught-fish
Healthy Mediterranean Diet Wild Caught Fish

as well.

Wild-Caught, or Cold-Water Fish and Seafood. Wild-caught fish and seafood (A) do not contain GMOs, artificial coloring, hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides that you find in farm-raised fish and seafood. Alarmingly, farm-raised fish account for 80 percent of the fish consumed by Americans. The wild-caught fish we promote, such as salmon, tuna, halibut, sturgeon, sable fish (black cod), petrale sole, mackerel, herring, pink shrimp, sea scallops, and others, are caught wild by the “hook-and-line” old fashion way, preventing the destruction of other fish species, “accidently” caught in nets.

Fresh, Certified Organic, non-GMO, Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables. The best option is to grow your own nutrient-dense fruits and veggies (A) in your own backyard garden. If that not an option, buy from a reliable organic farmer or specialty market, or through the link provided. Nutrient-dense means high in micro-nutrients and phytonutrients, of omega 3 fatty acid, antioxidants, amino acids, anti-inflammatories, the full-range of vitamins and minerals, including trace minerals, and fiber and vegetable protein.

These types of fruits and vegetables are also low in saturated fat, sugar, except for natural sugars, and cholesterol. Best nutrient-rich fruits are

healthy-anti-inflammatory-fruits-and-veggies
Healthy Anti Inflammatory Fruits and veggies

cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, and cherries. Best nutrient-rich vegetables are artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, beans (lentils), garlic, green tea, black olives, peanuts, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and Maca (smoothie).

Fresh, Certified Organic, Non-GMO, Nutrient-Dense Nuts and Seeds. (A) The best option is to grow your own nutrient-dense nuts and seeds. Refer to the health benefits listed under fruits and vegetables. Best nutrient-rich sources are walnuts, pecans, hazel, nuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. Best nutrient-dense seeds are sunflower, hemp, chia, flax, mustard, pumpkin, and sesame.

Fresh, Certified Organic, Antioxidant-Rich Herbs and Spices.

Here is where you can make a huge impact by cooking at home and being creatives with herbs and spices (A). Not only are they very healthy in antioxidants, but also provide great flavors and the right “kick” for foods as well. Your most nutrient-rich antioxidant herbs and spices are extra virgin olive oil, cloves, cilantro, basil, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, sage, and cocoa (dark chocolate), ginger, coffee (espresso), and cayenne pepper.

Certified Organic, Non-GMO, Nutrient-Dense Whole Grains and Complex Carbs. Whole grains (A) are

healthy-fresh-whole-wheat-grains
healthy-fresh whole wheat grains

simply grains that have the bran, the germ and the endosperm intact because they have not been processed. They’re typically nutrient-dense, high in anioxidants, phytochemicals, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, B vitamins and dietary fiber. Best nutrient-dense sources are whole wheat, whole or rolled oats, whole-grain rye, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, whole barley, and spelt.

Certified Organic, Non-GMO,Nutrient-Dense Fermented Foods. (A) Fermented foods are known as “cultured foods” because they provide probiotic bacteria for good digestion. Best probiotic fermented foods are kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, kimchi, tempeh, beer, fermented pickles, red wine, and apple cider vinegar.

Follow the affiliate links provided (A) that will provide references and documentation on these foods healthy benefits. You will also be able to purchase these nutrient-dense foods listed from reputable sources through links. Are you ready to get your creativity flowing and enjoying the Cooking In Home Benefits for you and your family, that will come by cooking at home? We are interested in your comments and questions. Thank you.

(1) Maranda Video