Why eat real food, from real ingredients, at home?

For those committed to trying to get healthier by cleaning up their diet, and possibly heading in a paleo-type diet direction, one of the best ways to eat healthier is to eat and cook more meals at home (or at least cook at home and take your meals with you to work, school, etc.). Cutting out junky processed foods is obvious to most people, but home cooked meals are almost always healthier than foods prepared outside the home (more information on healthy eating and ingredients to use/avoid will be featured in coming articles.) While it is certainly possible to eat healthy by eating out at restaurants, getting take out, or shopping for prepared foods from grocery stores, there are a few reasons why this may not be ideal.

First, preparing foods at home from real ingredients is almost always less expensive, despite what many think. Mark Bittman, a writer for the New York Times, had an article last fall that discussed this. He discusses eating real food at home vs. McDonalds meals. In his unscientific analysis he finds that preparing a meal at home with real ingredients (not completely paleo, but real food and much healthier than McDonalds) for a family of four cost about half the price of eating at McDonalds: Mark Bittman Article

Second, when cooking at home you have complete 100% control over what you put in your food. Eating out you may not know that there are questionable ingredients, preservatives, etc. that are being added to your food, even when shopping from a high-end/healthy store or restaurant (Whole Foods hot bar items are typically swimming in canola oil and other not ideal ingredients). Meals not prepared yourself from real food almost always have a number of questionable ingredients and preservatives added to them for a number of reasons including cheaper cost vs. higher quality ingredients, increasing shelf life, consistent color, consistent taste, texture, etc. Many of these questionable ingredients are known to cause health problems for humans, while many are simply not understood and may turn out to cause problems in the long term. CSPI has a list of processed food ingredients that one should avoid. Even their “safe” list states that “the additive appears to be safe”. A better idea is just to cook your own foods and avoid all food additives, even ones that “appear to be safe”! CSPI’s list: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm

A third reason to eat more meals at home is taste. Once you get a hand on some simple cooking techniques, home cooked meals are almost always tastier and more satisfying than meals cooked elsewhere. After becoming accustomed to home cooked meals cooked from scratch there is a very noticeable taste difference when eating processed meals with questionable ingredients. There are a plethora of websites on the internet featuring delicious recipes that are easy to cook at home:

One complaint about cooking from home is that it is very time consuming, and many think the only way to eat a decent meal quickly is getting prepared foods from a store or eating out. People have busy jobs, activities with their family, exams coming up for school, and they think they have no time for cooking. I understand this myself having 2 jobs, a busy family, and many other recreational activities I like to do.

While there are many time saving tips for cooking, the one I will discuss next week is the Slow Cooker / Crock Pot. If not familiar with this device it is a wonderful time saver that creates delicious food with very little effort and can save you money as well.

I am not trying to make anyone feel that they must cook 100% of their meals at home, or that they have failed or are a lazy person if they order out food sometimes. Sometimes a busy schedule or other life interruptions really do prevent cooking your own food (and it’s also just fun to eat out sometimes). However for optimal health (and possibly saving money) it is a good idea to try to increase the amount of food you cook yourself with real ingredients. You may even find you enjoy cooking and look forward to trying new recipes! A number of time saving techniques that are easy (and create delicious food) will be featured in upcoming articles.

WOD 1
Death by Thrusters (95,65)

If you complete a round, you must start the next round. Go as hard as you can, every rep counts. Example – 9 full rounds + 7 is better than 9 + 2. The row repeats are to be done after you are completely recovered. Do not leave anything in the tank during the thrusters, we will give you plenty of time to recover.

Rest at least 10 minutes

WOD 2
5 rounds
250m row
Rest 1 minute (or with a partner)

  • Gcollin7

    how many reps are in each round and what is the time on the first WOD?

  • jeffbogue

    After some research, it looks like this workout is an every-minute on-the-minute. But 1st minute is 1 rep, 2nd minute is 2 reps, etc. etc. until you’re not able to complete the prescribed # of reps in that particular minute.

  • Chris Wilson

    Alec, great article that’s replete with helpful information. Thanks for sharing.

  • Srockett

    New post on http://www.321GoMD.com about covering the CrossFit games, Sean

  • Dudley

    can’t wait to hear some crock pot ideas/recipes alec! thanks for all the info.
    10+7 (115#), got real tough last round. 9:30 on row w/Alden. Gill and Guyton made it look easy this AM

  • Nicole D

    Death by thrusters: 10 Rx
    Disappointed in myself for watching the sweat hit the floor instead of starting that 11th round!

    250 m row x5: fastest 58.1, slowest 100.1

  • AJ

    Nice work this AM my man! the row was tough after the thrusters but we managed!
    Guyton and Gill killed it. nice work.

    13+10 (RX)

    Definitely looking forward to the crock pot ideas.

  • Gillpressman

    Yeahhh I was pushed on by all the awesome cheering/my hope to one day be as big of a beast as Guyton. I can officially no longer walk down stairs though.

    15+13 rx, 10:43 with Kara

  • Andreacooke

    Death by thrusters: 17+14 rx
    Couldn’t do the row because I was too tired. Need to work on faster recovery!

  • jason barrow

    DBT: 9+3 Rx
    Most Fastest Row: 45
    Least Fastest Row: 48.4

  • jeffbogue

    Death by Thrusters: 10+2 L2
    Fastest row: 56.2
    Slowest row: 59.9

    Either the coaches are making these workouts harder or I’m stepping it up a notch (or some combination of the two), but I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life as I did tonight. Tough one (but a good one)!