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Can you watch and enjoy cooking shows and still be healthy?

I’m at a bit of an impasse, so let me explain.


As I’ve said many times, I’ve always enjoyed watching cooking shows, ever since I was little.  I relished the new and exciting ingredients, the enthusiasm of the hosts, and the homey comfort of watching food being made.  When I found something particularly interesting, it was ‘into the kitchen I go’ to see if I could recreate it, or build upon it.  I always seemed to find something worthwhile to try… you know… something actionable.


And to be quite honest, I formed these opinions before the Food Network began its onslaught of food TV, 24/7.


After the Food Network launched, it opened up a plethora of new foods, new faces, exotic locales, and the previously overlooked… food competitions.  There was a lot of new content to digest.  And in my exuberance I think I went on cooking show information overload (CSIO).  I remember happily watching show after show, time whiling away, while my own kitchen sat unused, mocking me in my zombified stupor.


I was watching a lot of cooking, but, I wasn’t doing much cooking.  I found it was quicker to put a frozen pizza or chicken fingers in the oven, than to actually make something healthy from scratch.  Plus, while the food was reheating, I had food TV to keep me entertained.


Sigh… Yes, it was sad state of affairs.


I think is was the sheer amount of information, coupled with no hint of self-restraint, that got me to that place.


But, there was something else.


I noticed that the longer I watched, the better those sizzling pans of butter, the images of crispy bacon, those rich desserts slathered with cream were looking to me.  I was being seduced by the most insidious of images… high-fat food porn.  Funny enough, that was the same time of my life that coincided with me being at my heaviest weight, my highest cholesterol levels, and my lowest activity level.


Go figure.


Realizing that I needed to reduce my numbers, I knew I had to do something drastic.  So, in addition to changing diet and lifestyle factors, I did what I had to do.


No, I didn’t cut out cooking shows… completely.  I became very, very, very picky.


I tried to avoid shows that were built on excess.  (We all know which shows I’m talking about here!) And if I happened to see a show with an unnecessarily high-fat dish, I thought about how someone like myself with dietary restrictions could still enjoy the essence of the dish.  I ended up making a game of it.  And I felt great!


Therein ended the seduction.  And I haven’t looked back.


But, after news of recent events, I have to ask myself, how many people look at cooking shows through this kind of filter?  I worry about the people who mindlessly take in the images, as I once did. Without being aware of it, are they also letting their health spiral away from them?  Are today’s cooking shows even somewhat responsible for taking the population in the wrong direction, when it comes to living happy, healthy lives?


So, this brings me back to my dilemma.  By writing about cooking shows, am I somehow aiding this process?


Your health is, or should be, your number one priority.  Yes, that means friends, family, work, charitable causes, all take a back seat to your health.  Your ability to remain healthy enables you to do everything else you want to do.  And you are severely impacted if you are consumed with problems with your health.


So, in consideration of all of this, I have made a decision.


I will endeavor to uncover the healthy side of cooking shows.  Yes, they are out there.  They are like beacons in the fog, meant to enlighten and sustain you through murky waters.  I’ve always tried to highlight healthy foods in my writing.  But, from now on, I will be making a special effort to bring you the best of what cooking shows have to offer.


And if I happen to come across a show that is blatantly unhealthy, well, I might have a few words to say about it too…


To your health!


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