👨‍🍳 Cooking has the same ingredients as therapy

stormtrooper peaches bananas
I eat healthy stuff too.

Anyone who’s been here a while knows what a foodie I am.

And not just the noshing part. I especially love the cooking part. I recently bought a FIREDISC cooker, and my life changed forever. I can make virtually anything in this bad boy. And it makes me look like a gourmet.

I have a guest post and infographic I think you’re going to love, especially if you share my affinity with the language of food. Have you cooked more during the pandemic? Well, then you’ll get this post. I take comfort in cooking when I’m at home so much.

Let me know what you think!

Have you cooked more being stuck at home? You’ll love this infographic and learn how cooking is like therapy. And tell me in comments about how cooking has contributed to your self-care routine, pandemic or not.

👨‍🍳 Cooking Has the Same Ingredients as Therapy

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of cooking has risen like dough in a sunlit window. A survey published this year found that 54 percent of respondents have cooked more since the onset of the pandemic. It’s widely known that cooking and comfort go together like cookies and milk — who doesn’t love a good helping of comfort food? — but cooking is also scientifically proven to yield benefits similar to the ones provided by therapy and meditation.

Cooking = Therapy

At first whiff, cooking and therapy might not seem to have a lot in common. But after a more thorough taste test, it becomes clear that cooking and therapy positively impact your well-being in similar ways. Here are five ways that cooking can provide you with therapeutic benefits:

Simmer Down Stress

Research published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy revealed that all of the participants in the study appreciated the kitchen environment. It was an environment that was safe, supportive, and free of pressure. In the kitchen, there are no deadlines, and no matter how big the failure, the most you’re going to lose is a few ingredients. The steaks are low, so now is the thyme to cook!

Cook Up Confidence

If you’ve cooked before, you’ve probably made some mistakes — bread so hard you can’t bite it, cookies so burnt you can’t tell where the chocolate chips are, pasta so overcooked you can’t pick it up. Failure is inevitable, but this trial and error build up confidence that’s valuable even outside of the kitchen. The triumphant feeling of completing a recipe — even a simple one — also contributes to confidence and gives a sense of accomplishment. So if cooking seems daunting, you can start out with some easy, kid-friendly recipes and work your way up.

Like Mmmeditation

Cooking is a thoughtful, methodical, and fun process that mimics meditation — and the benefits that come with it. The swift, repetitive chopping of zucchini for minestrone or the rhythmic whisking of waffle batter can lull you into a meditative state as you cook.

Heat Up Happiness

In a study published by Positive Psychology, researchers found that spending time on creative activities like cooking increased well-being, enthusiasm, and flourishing. These positive effects kicked in fast enough to be noticeable on the same day that the creative activities were performed, and were also observed in the following days. This means that cooking can leave you smiling for a while after you turn off the heat!

Calm in the Kitchen

When you cook, you can turn on the stove and shut out the outside world. As you focus on the sights, sounds, smells, and textures wafting about the kitchen, practicing mindful cooking can provide you with calm and clarity. And in addition to the benefits of mindful cooking, you also get the satisfaction of creating something delicious that you can share with your family.

So if you find some extra time on your hands, put them to work kneading, chopping, mixing, and flipping. You’ll end up with some tasty treats, mouthwatering meals, and therapeutic benefits for days.

See additional mental health benefits related to cooking in the visual below (provided by Kitchen Cabinet Kings):


  1. beth says:

    i so agree, cooking is all of this and more. you are so right!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I loved this infographic about the benefits, beth. makes me want to cook something now.

  2. Kathy G says:

    Years ago we had a family crisis which showed me that Hubby and I approach things in a different way. He went down to his office and came back with a to-do list. I went into the kitchen and cooked a pot of pasta.

  3. Shoes says:

    I enjoy my time in the kitchen although I tend to lean toward baking sweets. We end up with a fridge full of cakes, cookies, and crumbles and I am still left with the unanswered question of what’s for dinner?!?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Sweets – there’s nothing wrong with that! If you ever need someone to help eat all that. I’ve always felt cake for dinner wasn’t given a proper chance to thrive.

  4. This is why i do enjoy feeding people, i think. My MawMaw loved to feed everyone, and when i am in that mood, i call it channeling my grandmother. She was always calm, too.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I could see that, Mimi. You’re MawMaw’s legacy. I appreciate you both!

  5. Miriam says:

    Love this post Eli. And I’ve found it so true, especially during the past few months, cooking has been like a form of therapy,inducing a sense of calm, control, happiness and of course the end result of amazing food. 😍

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you, Miriam! It became immediately apparent to me that in order to eat well during this pandemic, I also had to cook well. Here’s to delicious eating.

      1. Miriam says:

        Oh, absolutely Eli. And on that note I’m off to cook my risotto. 😄

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Yes, Miriam! I’ll get my plate.

  6. Pinned. Totally agree. But I loved cooking before it was so cool…of course with a five males to feed it is a necessity for someone here to cook.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you pinned it, April! I knew it was therapy before I knew it was therapy, if that makes sense. Have you considered installing a feeding trough for the boys?

  7. candidkay says:

    Nothing beats chopping veggies–it’s like meditation! But I might have more fun in the kitchen if I hid toys in the fruit like you do . . .

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You should definitely give it a shot, Kay!

      1. candidkay says:

        Oh, I do! Usually while listening to a podcast or a little music on :-).

  8. 1jaded1 says:

    I learned cooking from my dad. He used to joke that he was happy that my grandma wasn’t alive to taste my cooking, that I learned from him. He said it was better than theirs (hers and his). When he died in 2007, the act of cooking was so difficult because I learned from him. I hope you and family are all safe.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Same to you! I love that you learned from him. Cooking is one way to keep his legacy going. I feel that way when I grill, because my dad loved to.

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