3 Ways Cooking Can Help Combat Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety is a serious problem; one that contributes to harsh realities like homelessness and addiction, which we see plenty of throughout the Okanagan Valley. By introducing those suffering to a culinary journey of their own, they can use cooking as a treatment for mental health struggles. Here are 3 ways the kitchen can be used as a tool for combating depression and anxiety. 

3 Ways Cooking Can Help Combat Depression & Anxiety

1. It Helps With Mindfulness

In therapy, meditation, and yoga, we’re constantly advised to be more mindful. When you’re creating a meal in the kitchen, we want you to practice the same thing. Try to really pay attention to each individual act like slicing, chopping, peeling, and rinsing. How do the ingredients smell? What do the ingredients feel like? Try the ingredients. What do they taste like? By respecting the entire cooking process and really putting yourself in the moment, you’re less likely to worry about past, existing, and future problems. Instead, you’re more likely to focus on the art of cooking a delicious and fresh meal for yourself or your family.

2. Encourages Appreciation

Researching a delicious recipe, choosing your own ingredients, and putting yourself in the act of creating a nutritious meal encourages appreciation in the dish you’ve prepared, as well as the food you’ve chosen to put into your body. Unfortunately, some people don’t have this luxury which is important to remember. Be grateful for your food because some people don’t have the option to eat today. 

3. Creativity Boosts Self-Esteem

Some people love to paint, others enjoy playing the piano. But for some, cooking is an art form in itself. The creativity that comes with preparing a delicious dish is admirable. From the combination of spices, the slicing of a vegetable, and the presentation on the plate, cooking is a form of creative expression; creativity boosts self-esteem, and self-esteem helps our brains feel happier. 

The Culinary Arts and Education Program in the Start Fresh Kitchen helps those whose mental health struggles could be preventing them from obtaining employment. They’ll learn the skills needed to prepare them for the culinary industry and our goal is to find them work that also provides housing. 

Do you want to help? Learn more and donate to our Kickstarter campaign by clicking here. 

Sources

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-road-to-mental-health-through-the-kitchen-1418059204

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-body/201505/kitchen-therapy-cooking-mental-well-being