Everyone needs a coach. Someone or something to push us harder and farther than we are willing to go on our own. That is how progress is made.
When I was in graduate school, I had a good friend who also loved to cook. I taught him how to make good pizza dough and he pushed me to start making my own yogurt and labneh (a yogurt cheese – check out the links for great how-to resources). Together, we encouraged each other to do more, to be more creative, and to get more done. We were coaching each other on.
Today, the workout at our local Crossfit gym was three rounds of running 800 m, 50 hip extensions, and 50 sit-ups. Now normally, I would never walk into the gym and plan to do 150 sit-ups and run a mile and a half, but today I had the benefit of a coach there telling me what to do and how to do it – and I am better off for it.
As a final example, I have to acknowledge my loyal Husky, who never fails to remind me that we have to make two trips to the park or around the block each day. In this way, your coach does not have to be a person per se. In fact, we have been reading up on how dogs can serve to help improve one’s health and longevity.
So, get out there and find some coaches. Your coaches might be your friends, workout buddies, a personal trainer, your spouse, your fitbit, your dog, etc., etc. Get going and do something today that you didn’t think you could do yesterday.
Sometimes we can all get a bit too serious about our food. Whether it be counting every last calorie or trying to make the absolute perfect dish, it is useful to remember that food should be fun and enjoyable. The two “shows” below are good reminders of this. These folks have no problem having fun in the kitchen (but be warned there are a few swears throughout).
Picture from Hartoandco.com
First up, we have Hannah Hart from My Drunk Kitchen. The premise is what it sounds like - Hannah cooks while getting hammered. Check out the Tacos episode (“Fact: a really important key to all Mexican delights is what I like to call a shit ton of lime.”) and the Brunch episode (“At brunch people whine about problems that aren’t really problems.”) for a few good laughs.
Picture from soliddudeskitchen.com
Next up are the guys from Solid Dudes Kitchen. These guys thought it would be funny to start a cooking show from their house – and they were right. SDK is entertaining because the food is pretty serious, but these two jokers are not. Check out the Sushi episode for some helpful tips from a sushi chef (“Why does belly always taste so good?” “I don’t share underwear. I don’t share knife. Same thing.”). Next, check out the Bacon Burger episode (aka, The Pork Motherfucker) for instructions on how to make the most delicious burger you might ever experience (“This is like being a kid and seeing the Empire Strikes Back for the first time.”)
Back in January we highlighted a nice post on the New York Times Health blog about a few recent studies showing that physical activity including aerobic exercise and weight training can enhance cognitive functions like memory. Several of these studies have demonstrated that physical activity can actually change the brain by increasing neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons) and increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Neurogenesis and BDNF (low levels) have also been implicated in depression and might be at least partly responsible for the anti-depressant-like effects of physical activity that some people report experiencing.
Exercise might not always be the first thing we think of doing when we’re feeling sluggish or not so sharp, but it might be exactly what we need.