I was so excited to see this recent article in the Wall Street Journal all about the benefits of cooking therapy that I had to repost it here. Therapists, practitioners, and researchers are now starting to explore the benefits of cooking and baking as a hands-on therapy for mental health and mood disorders. This kind of proactive therapy, classified as “behavioral activation”, can be a healthy and creative outlet for individuals going through various struggles. I have certainly seen this to be true during my time as a residential counselor at a mental and behavioral health hospital, and in my work around the world with survivors.
This is what PeaceMeals is all about, and always has been.
You don’t need to have a Ph.d in psychology to know that having a creative project can be cathartic. And creating something like a meal can serve as a catalyst for building community around the table. As the article described, “If possible, sharing the cooking and eating process with others can be extra helpful, therapists say.”
Helen Tofoya, a clinical counselor, explained that “preparing and sharing food with others is therapeutic because it’s central to who we are as human beings. ‘The ability to eat and share food is very, very primal,’ she says. ‘Eating or breaking bread with someone has healing capacities beyond anything that we can really quantify.'”
Besides the catharsis of creativity, and building community, there is a third critical piece to the PeaceMeals’ philosophy of cooking therapy: targeted nutrition.
If we must eat, then we must make sure that we are maximizing the right kind of nutrition to balance our bodies when we feel depressed, anxious, or fatigued. The foods we eat greatly influence our brain’s behavior (which explains, for example, why we feel cranky after a sugar crash). PeaceMeals tailors each dish to maximize the nutrition, while keeping the recipes easy and affordable.
It is great to see that others are formally recognizing cooking therapy is a useful tool for healing. And it’s about time!