Several methods can help a patient cope up with mental health issues. Experts have made it possible to turn passions into something therapeutic to aid in the treatment of some conditions such as anxiety and depression and other mental problems.
There is noticeable health and happiness with people who follow their passion, may it be music, art, sports, gardening, cooking, etc. Studies show that people who do what makes them happy have less exposure to stress, therefore decreasing the probability of mental health issues. When a person can do something that lightens and relaxes him, happy hormones are developed, making him healthier.
One of the therapies that are used to help with mental health problem treatments is culinary art.
What Is Culinary Art?
Culinary therapy is said to be an active treatment process that involves using “individualized recipes to address specific issues,” says Shannon McHugh, Psy.D.
Food is one of our fundamental necessities, and without it, we will die. However, nowadays people have managed to make food much more than a thing we put in our mouth. Culinary therapy aims to use it to improve our wellbeing by tackling the way we prepare food. It involves planting our own, cooking, and meal preparation.
What are the benefits of culinary therapy?
- Culinary therapy improves our physical wellbeing. It exposes us to the importance of proper nutrition and how we can promote it. We learn how to prepare food based on our nutritional needs. With all the processed food congesting grocery shelves, it’s hard to tell which is beneficial to our health. This therapy aims to educate mental health patients on how they can use food to better their physical and psychological health.
“At its core,” says Lisa Bahar, LMFT, “cooking is with the assurance of a good, healthy meal as the reward.” She also added that it is “mindfulness on the moment – think kitchen tasks such as chopping and stirring – makes the act of cooking meditative.”
- Culinary therapy improves time management. Every step and process of cooking has a specific timeframe that we need to follow. It teaches us the importance of being on time for us to be able to do something in perfection. In cooking, especially in baking, we need to be precise to achieve a particular taste and consistency that’s why this therapy trains us to be mindful of the time.
- Culinary therapy relieves us of stress. Whenever we cook, we look forward to something satisfying. It makes us forget all our worries and enjoy every moment. This therapy makes us hopeful which is an affirmation that needs to be present in us all the time.
- Culinary therapy involves social interaction with people who have the same interest. It is a great way to express ourselves to other people who thoroughly understand our personality and behavior.
As Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. wrote, “Cooking groups incorporated into community kitchens “may help foster socialization and improve social isolation.”
- Culinary therapy makes our time worthwhile. An excellent cook knows that every moment in meal preparation is valuable and every well-prepared food is worth the wait.
- Culinary therapy improves our coordination or how well we use our body to function as a whole aiming one goal – to produce an excellent meal!
- Culinary therapy keeps us preoccupied and decreases the chance of feeling depressed.
- Culinary therapy enhances memory and focus. It requires us to remember important details about the essentials of cooking. Attention to detail is a must in meal preparation. One must be familiar with every taste and texture which can play a vital role in the outcome
- Culinary therapy provides us with a sense of fulfillment when we have done a meal exquisitely. It makes us proud and promotes our self-esteem.
- Culinary therapy gives us a sense of personal identity. It makes us develop a mark for ourselves because often, people remember people from something they do great.
Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are some of the mental health issues which can benefit from culinary therapy. They say that food is the way to a man’s stomach, but it is much more than that. Food preparation serves more than just something to fill our bellies. It also aids in the betterment of our physical and mental wellbeing.