The Healing Power of Cooking

1It has been said by many that food, the right food has great healing powers. It is also said that if you want to pull out of a depression or the blues, give of yourself to others. Now I have definitely had days where I was down in the dumps and by working with a client I felt better after. Who knew that cooking could also pull you out of a low moment?

For the past three years I have either been working on writing, editing, or marketing my book and have not been entertaining. Given how much time I spend at my computer, I began having regrets this morning that I had planned a luncheon at my house for four friends… on a work day.  As I was rushing around cleaning, I kept muttering to myself I must be crazy to have taken this on in the midst of several deadlines I had for articles. I continued this inner dialogue walking to and from the market until I got in my kitchen and started chopping the tomatoes, pressing the garlic, and boiling the water for the pasta. Suddenly I became a different person, a familiar person, but one I hadn’t met for a while – I call her my “Italian mama” sub-personality.  I was in heaven.  As I played Romanza on my Ipod, I began to feel ecstatic.

My girlfriends arrived. I got up and down a million times to serve them and could not have been happier as we broke in my new Crate and Barrel dining room table. As I was finally sitting and enjoying the meal with them, I had the thought that cooking for others is really therapeutic for me. I had been feeling burned out by functioning so much in the intellectual realm and was out of balance. In spite of the  fact that it added a lot of work to my day, I was so much more joyful at 3:00 when they left.  As someone who believes in what I call “divine coincidences”, I thought it was an interesting omen that as we were finishing, a hummingbird came to the window. In Indian Medicine, the hummingbird brings the medicine of joy. How fitting…

Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist and the author of her new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive ( not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval.