Diving into a new hobby is a great way to strengthen your recovery from addiction. A new hobby gives you focus, reduces boredom, improves your self-esteem, and helps you meet new people. With so many possibilities, it’s often hard to choose a new hobby to take up in recovery. There’s no reason you can’t try out several things and see what you like. One hobby you might consider is cooking. Here are a few reasons why getting in touch with your inner Gordon Ramsay might be good for your recovery.
Cooking your own meals improves your health.
First, and perhaps most importantly, cooking your own meals is one of the most effective ways to improve your health. Most people don’t realize how much sugar, salt, fat, preservatives, and other additives are in prepackaged food and even food you get in restaurants. Food loaded with sugar and fat promotes weight gain, which leads to a number of health issues, including diabetes and heart disease.
Recent studies are also finding that food plays an important role in your mental health. One meta-analysis of 16 studies comprising more than 45,000 participants found that people who ate better felt better. No single diet stood out as a silver bullet but participants who ate more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, bean, legumes, whole grains, and lean meats, while minimizing processed foods and foods high in sugar and fat had reduced symptoms of depression. They felt better, slept better, and felt less disconnected from others.
When you cook your own meals, you know exactly what you’re eating. Home-cooked meals tend to have less sugar and fat, even when you make the same meal you would get at a restaurant.
Cooking is a great mental workout.
If you’re cooking anything more complicated than a Hot Pocket, you have to put some thought into what you’re doing. You have to imagine what foods will taste good together, which engages your senses in a way you might not be used to. You have to get your ingredients and equipment together and figure out how to time the parts of your meal so they’re ready at about the same time. This can get pretty tricky, requiring a bit of preparation and foresight. You’ll also have to learn to solve problems in the kitchen, such as when you don’t have enough pots to make everything or when you accidentally add too much salt to a dish. Cooking engages all your senses in a way that few activities do and that’s a great way to exercise your brain.
Cooking brings people together.
Finally, if you manage to become even a competent cook, it will make you extremely popular. Cooking is most engaging when you cook for other people because you have more incentive to do it right. You might not mind eating burnt casserole, but you wouldn’t want to serve it to your girlfriend. Inviting people over for a meal is a great way to connect and share a fun activity.
Recovering from addiction isn’t just about abstinence; it also requires healthy lifestyle changes, including eating healthier, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and enjoying time with friends. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon, we believe in treating the whole person, mind, body, and spirit. To learn more about our approach to addiction treatment, call us today at (503) 850-2474.