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Bake Your Way to a Better Life

You’ve probably noticed that cooks, chefs, bakers, and people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals are pretty darn happy. Even when they are irate, professional chefs still seem satisfied with life. As it turns out, there’s a reason for that. In fact, there are several reasons that people who spend a lot of time preparing food tend to be happier than those of us who pop a frozen dinner in the microwave before plopping down in front of the television. Here is why baking can help you achieve your own Zen.

Baking Is Soothing

Baking, and cooking in general, are soothing activities. For starters, they require just enough concentration to be distracting but not so much that they cause stress on their own. That’s not to say that baking can’t induce anger. Anyone who has ever watched crème brulee fall too much can detail for you the finer points of baker’s rage. That said, a failed baking experiment generally isn’t life-threatening and generally won’t break the bank, so the pressure is pretty low. By helping you forget about your life for a little while, baking can offer your body a chance to take things down a notch and rebuild. It also allows your brain to free-associate better, which might just result in you coming up with a solution to some of your more vexing conundrums. There is really no downside. You get to disengage for a little while, let your mind wander, and you end up with a delicious product at the end.

You Choose the Ingredients

You are what you eat, or so the saying goes. When you buy pre-packaged food, you are not only eating food, you are eating preservatives, dyes, and other ingredients you won’t find in home-cooked meals. Some of these additives, like MSG, have been linked to everything from sleep disturbances to anxiety and depression. When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what goes into it, so you can avoid the things that aren’t essential in favor of wholesome goodies.

Baking at home gives you control over your product. So not only can you avoid unnatural ingredients, you can make your baked goods healthier by reducing sugar and salt, substituting ingredients (e.g. chia seeds for some flour), and altering recipes to fit your needs. That way, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating that extra piece of cake. You can even add additional ingredients to help soothe your worries. Options like chamomile, turmeric, dark chocolate, yogurt, and more have all been linked to improved mood, reduced anxiety, and better health.

Peptides Like Selank have been shown to Boost Mood

Scientists are constantly developing new additives and ingredients, based off of natural derivatives, to make food healthier. Right now, there is a lot of work on Selank, a protein found naturally in humans and other mammals. As it turns out, Selank boosts mood and works synergistically with other anti-anxiety treatments to improve well-being. There is hope that it may be used in the future to treat people. Who knows, it may one day be an additive to food, much like iodine, vitamin D, and other important minerals are.

You can learn more about Selank here

Selank is still being researched and has not yet been approved by the FDA for human use.

Share and Bond Over Food

Baking and cooking are great ways to bond with friends and family. There is nothing in life that substitutes for the happiness derived from sharing amongst those we love. Baking is a great way to bring people together, which boosts levels of natural anti-anxiety hormones like oxytocin.

Bake to Feel Better

Pull on your apron, crack an egg or two, and start baking your way to a happier you. Share your work and your creations with family and friends. There really is nothing to lose and so much to gain. In fact, cooking is quickly becoming a mainstay of modern psychology with the aptly named culinary art therapy (CAT) taking hold across the world. There really are benefits to cooking, but you don’t have to pony up a copay to take a CAT session. Just fire up your own oven and invite a friend over. Before you know it, you’ll be laughing your troubles away as you savor a tasty delicacy you prepared yourself.