Cook Your Own Meals

that’s what this study says:

Might as well be up front: we eat at home Sunday-Thursday night; we share the cooking duties, though I do most of it and love doing it. Truth telling time: I barely did a thing in the kitchen for the first 28 yrs of our marriage so I’m still way behind.

For those of you who use your stove for shoe storage, nota bene: all that wasted time with an inactive kitchen could be shortening your lifespan. In fact, a new study found that people who cook up to five times a week were 47 percent more likely to still be alive after 10 years.

“It has become clear that cooking is a healthy behavior,” said lead author Professor Mark Wahlqvist in a statement. “It deserves a place in life-long education, public health policy, urban planning and household economics.”

The research team, made up of Taiwanese and Australian researchers, published their work in Public Health Nutrition, a Cambridge University journal after looking at a group of 1,888 men and women over age 65 who lived in Taiwan. At the start of the study, they interviewed each participant about several lifestyle factors, including cooking habits, household circumstances, shopping habits, diet, education, transportation and smoking.

During the initial survey, researchers found that 43 percent of participants never cooked, while 17 percent cooked one to two times per week, 9 percent cooked three to five times in a week and 31 percent cooked five or more times a week.

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  • Randy Gabrielse

    I am so glad to hear this! For all twelve years of our marriage my wife and I have cooked most of our meals, although I usually have home-made granola for breakfast. This weekend we are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary in a strange way. Because I am on a “cleanse” diet, we are going to my family cottage an hour north of Grand Rapids, and we will see what delicacies we can come up that do not use beef or pork, dairy products, wheat-like grains or alchohol. This should be interesting.

    We began enjoying cooking together and looking for healthy foods. We were encouraged during 5 years of ministry in central Iowa, where my spiritual director ran a CSA farm where I learned all I could about gardening and we had wonderful co-operative natural foods store to shop at, topped by a open-door sustainable agriculture colloquium at Iowa State University. Now, back in Grand Rapids, we have a great farmers’ market and my mother manages a 1/3 acre garden that feeds three families throughout the summer.

    Randy Gabrielse

  • Louise

    I have a great book to recommend along these lines called “Dinner a Love Story” by Jenny Rosenstrach. My adult daughters and I are reading it and trying out some of the recipes. It is more than a cookbook though, it is meant to get people back in to the kitchen to prepare basic family meals and not to be intimidated by cooking. It is written for ordinary people not foodie types even though they might enjoy it too. In addition to the apparent health benefits in eating at home there are emotional benefits to having ones family gather around the table together and in involving the children in preparing the meal too. I do not know the author and am not being paid to endorse this book. There is a website for the book too. We tried the chicken pot pie with sweet potatoes on Monday and it is very tasty.

  • I was really surprised to find out how much Americans eat out. We maybe have one meal a week out if that. In Australia there is a growing trend toward growing your own and certainly on making your own. Cooking shows and comps rate very highly. We love our food.

  • That’s great! What I want to know is whether making frozen pizzas, mac and cheese, and Ramen counts as cooking. If so, I’m set!

  • @jenny, you had me at ramen.

  • Mike M

    Easy to digest Dr. Mangold Rules: eat low on the glycemic index (slow carbs”): the less processed the better (raw is best); eat fermented foods every day; avoid gluten; know how your food is grown {or raised).

  • AJN

    I think the study actually only indicates that people how are healthy enough to cook for themselves, live longer! It makes perfect sense that healthy people live longer… Remember: corrolation doesn’t imply causation.

  • Diane S.

    For 65 year-old people, another 10 years of life doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary – not enough evidence to warrant the conclusion that was made.

  • Steve Robinson

    I love cooking and I’d cook even if I died earlier. 🙂

  • Mike M

    65 is the new 85? Steve is right: it’s about quality, not quantity.