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Tips To Healthy Cooking: Have You Been Cooking Your Food Wrong?

Tips To Healthy Cooking: Have You Been Cooking Your Food Wrong?

Cooking comes naturally to most people. Some are just born with a talent for cooking, while others seem lost in the kitchen. However, regardless of which group you belong to, you will make a mistake from time to time. Like with any other skill, getting better at cooking takes time and practice. Whether it is overcooking, under-boiling or completely messing up the recipe, these things can happen to anyone. But worry no more! Here are some of the most common food preparing mistakes and tips to help you become the best chef in your household.

Soak it up

Some foods are just plain hard. Because of this property they require a long cooking time or even starting the preparation the day before. However, if you want to cut short the time, you should soak up the food prior to cooking it. For example, if you want to make great baked beans you could use this technique. After being submerged in the water for a few hours, they will soften and make the whole process of boiling them a lot easier, and faster. Moreover, this could be done with potatoes, too. Soak up the potatoes, or even boil them for a few minutes before frying. Soaking will make your life easier.

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Know your fat and oil type

There are many types of fats and oils you could cook with. Some are good, others are better. They also have something called a smoke point. This represents the temperature at which they start to burn. So, the fats and oils with a higher smoke point, like butter or animal fat, are better for frying or cooking, while those with a lower point, olive or sunflower oil, are better for salads and dressings. It is worth noting that too much fat is unhealthy, but cutting it completely out of your diet is bad, too. For instance, it is suggested to limit your fat intake to no more than 35% of your total daily calories, because insufficient fat intake could lower your natural testosterone production.

Do not waste any food

If it is edible, do not throw it away! Food shouldn’t be wasted, especially since almost every bit could be used in one way or another. Potatoes could be fried with the skin on, or perhaps you could use the skin to add crunchiness to your dressing or just eat the roasted skin alone. The stems of most vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower or parsley, could be used in salads, as well. Additionally, you could use carrot greens as an addition to your soup. Either way, every part should have its purpose in your kitchen.

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Know what you eat

Reading a book or two on fruits, vegetables, meats, and food in general, could be a good start to sharpening your cooking skill. Not only will you learn how to cook them, but you could find out everything about them – how long it takes to prepare a certain type of food, how to recognize if it is healthy and much more. For instance, when buying fish, you should pay attention to how it looks, feels and smells. If the smell is “fishy” that means it has been out of water for more than enough. Fresh fish doesn’t smell so bad. Also, fresh fish is firm to the touch. Another important thing you should know are the health benefits of each food. Some types are more nutritious than others, and some could be cancer causing foods such as canned goods, non-organic fruits or microwave popcorn.

Watch the temperature

First things first, before putting anything in the pot, on the grill or frying pan, the temperature needs to be high enough. If you put the food in while the pan is cold, whatever you are cooking will stick. Because of this, you will leave parts of the food behind and make the pan incredibly difficult to clean. That is why you need to make sure that the temperature is ideal. However, once you put the food in, be careful not to burn it by turning the heat up. Just think about the meat you prepare. If you burn it, it loses its original taste and deliciousness. This is true for pasta as well – overcooked pasta is bad and it sticks both to the pan and your plate. Therefore, finding the right temperature is crucial for a perfect meal.

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Careful with seasoning

Adding various spices and herbs could be key to certain meals. But, being too loose with your fingers could ruin the whole experience. Too much salt will make it impossible to finish the meal; too much parsley or basil will overpower the taste of the food. So, be gentle when reaching for the spices. Also, certain spices are good for your health, but there are those that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. Moderation is key.

Armed with these great cooking tips, you will be able to prepare delicious meals that everyone will compliment you on. Although most people tend to make big mistakes even when it comes to the basics, a few simple changes to the way you prepare your food will ensure that everything is both tasty and healthy.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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