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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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