Mission IMpossible: Making Good-for-You Meals in NO Time

Time Crunch GuyLike Comparing Apples to Oranges

Here’s a fact:  Making vegetable-rich meals takes more time and effort than popping a frozen meal in the microwave.

Why am I telling you this completely obvious and unsurprising fact?  Over the 20 years I’ve been in the healthy cooking business, I’ve been constantly under the gun to “make healthy eating easy” (translation:  as fast as fast food.)  Not until recently did I realized that the game is rigged:  Fast foods aren’t “food” in the sense of being a significant source of true taste bud satisfaction and bodily nourishment.  Only real foods fit this description.  That’s why comparing the prep times of fast foods to nutrition-rich, real foods is like comparing apples to oranges.

Imagine buying a window cleaning product advertised to “Clean Windows in Minutes!”  You head home, spray it on and wipe down the windows in minutes.  Just one problem:  While some surface dirt has been eliminated, your windows are hardly “clean” in the way you had hoped, i.e., glass sparklingly free of sun-baked pollen and wind-slammed grime–the way they look after a professional window cleaner takes the time to scrape and wash them very carefully.

In the same way, fast foods and frozen meals are “food” only in a limited sense.  They fill us up and eliminate immediate sensations of hunger.  But they do little to fulfill our taste buds’ craving for balanced and deeply satisfying flavor. And they are dismal in terms of providing the hundreds of nutrients required to keep our infinitely complex bodies working optimally.

Because fast and real foods are completely different products, we can’t really compare them, but only choose between them:

Apples:  For times when you just want plain  old calories to keep you alive and put an end to uncomfortable feelings of hunger, choose food that takes NO time to prepare.

–OR–

Oranges:  For times when you want food that supplies our bodies’ vital nutrients and the exciting flavor that will turn off taste bud cravings, ditch the myth that good food can be made in NO time and choose to prepare real foods.

It’s always been the law that “you get what you pay for.”  The dawn of instant convenience food didn’t suspend this immutable law.  Once we accept it as a given, and make peace with the fact that good things take time, then wonderful possibilities open.

  • Time and energy is no longer wasted chasing the impossible grail of nourishing food with NO investment of time.
  • Disappointment and stress about “taking too long to make a meal” dissipates with the shift in our time expectations from meals in NO time to meals in a REASONABLE amount of time.
  • With time and energy freed from worthless worry, we can create a positive and productive meal making system.
  • We discover dozens of ways to maximize time in the kitchen so cooking time is minimized.
  • In a pleasant surprise, we discover that making Everyday Good Eating meals can be ease-ful, natural–and fun!
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