Three-generation family with two small children preparing food.
Three-generation family with two small children preparing food. Petar Chernaev

Freezer or farm... which is better?

vanessa.horstman

LIVING NATURALLY with Olwen Anderson

DO I really have to do this?

It's the kind of question you ask yourself while wrist-deep in suds scrubbing pots and plates: would microwaved instant meals be just as good and save time? Does home-cooked food have healing power?

These are interesting questions to ponder in a world where pre-packaged, pre-cooked and take-away fast food are so available and promoted as the more convenient yet still healthy alternative.

But are they really the best for you?

Sometimes it's when you've been separated from home-cooked food that you notice the difference between home-made and convenience food.

When travelling, for example.

After a long journey, many of us yearn for a simple meal, made at home with fresh vegetables.

You didn't go hungry on your travels but the quality of the food varied and there was little to no connection between what's on your plate, the person who prepared it for you, and the farmer who grew it.

Or, perhaps you've been hospitalised for a while and receive some home-cooked food brought in by a visitor.

Bet you appreciated it more than if they'd just called in at the vending machine downstairs.

Like travelling, when you're hospitalised there's that sense of disconnection between the food that's in front of you, the person who prepared it, and where it came from.

Somehow, in consuming fresh food that's been lovingly transformed into a delicious dish through the effort of someone who cares for you conveys more power than a dish with the same ingredients prepared in an industrial factory and purchased in a ready-to-heat frozen packaged form.

Makes you wonder whether food grown locally and prepared at home really has a 'life force' that actually affects your well-being.

Whether it does or not is all conjecture as at this time in history we can't validate scientifically any emotional or life-giving forces in food beyond our crude measurement of its calories, chemical constituents, vitamins and minerals.

You'll have to work out for yourself whether the origin of what's on your plate makes a difference for you.

If you decide that fresher, locally grown and home cooked food really does give your health a boost, then time spent in food preparation and cooking become just part of life's routines, part of supporting your health.

Along with the washing up that goes with it.

* Olwen Anderson is a naturopath and counsellor. www.olwenanderson.com.au



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