Welcome to the first posting from The Culinary Therapist. You probably have a heap of questions. What exactly is culinary therapy? Who am I exactly? How can culinary therapy help you? Is this even a real thing? Yes! It is indeed a real therapeutic practice, with new research being discovered across the world. Ready for a new experience? Let’s begin!
Who Am I?
Hi, my name is Stephanie Jeffers and I am The Culinary Therapist! I graduated with my MA in Clinical Psychology in 2017 from West Chester University and I currently am a therapist for individuals in Center City. I am also a cookbook author, Baked Winter Vibes, as well as, a bakery owner, Baked by Steph. While engaging individuals in therapy, I like to keep things innovative and exciting. Improving your mental health isn’t easy at first, but with persistence and openness, discovering who YOU are and what YOU can accomplish can lead to positive things. I believe that the term “mental illness” has inherited a bad reputation and as a therapist, I strive to bring light to this stigma and help individuals reach a higher quality of life.
What is Culinary Therapy?
Culinary therapy is a form of therapeutic expression with aspects of baking and cooking. While similar to art therapy, culinary therapy utilizes the five senses while participating in your breakthrough process. Although the practice of Culinary therapy is not widely known, the development of the field is currently growing with each contribution of research. According to The Wall Street Journal, counselors are currently utilizing cooking and baking for people affected by mental health problems. Susan Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain science at The Universality of Massachusetts, suggests that baking for others can be a beneficial way to communicate feelings. Culinary therapy includes a combination of mindfulness, talk therapy, and creative manifestation.
What are the advantages of culinary therapy?
Culinary therapy can benefit ages from child to adult and can be adapted for many cultures. Additionally, one can cook for themselves or others, which can aid in external support. While there are many benefits to culinary therapy, the TOP 5, in my opinion are:
1. Sense of accomplishment after each meal you made into a masterpiece
2. Increases skills that can be used outside of the kitchen, such as conflict resolution
3. Serves as a way to practice mindfulness in the kitchen
4. Promotes creativity while tackling negative aspects
5. Aids in healthy eating which promotes a healthy mind
Today’s Topic: Feng Shui Your Mind with Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Now that this introduction is out the way, Let’s jump right into it!
It’s the beginning of the year and the holidays are behind us. It is now time to get back into the swing of things and depart from your mental holiday away from the office or school. Do you feel like you need an energy restart or have to bring peace to your mind before tackling your goals for 2018?
Try to Feng Shui your mind using culinary therapy!
Feng Shui is an ancient art and science based on the flow of energy. To the Chinese, this flow of energy is called Chi. Research suggests that one can improve their flow of chi by making positive alterations to your life. Feng Shui utilizes the five elements (wood, fire, water, earth, metal) to help restore and balance your flow of energy.
Here are some tips to Feng Shui Your Mindset Using Culinary
Therapy using the principles of Feng Shui:
1. Increase openness and enjoy yourself by taking in the scent of the ingredients
2. Clear your mind and focus on your intention by taking your time and not rushing
3. Toss what aspects don’t work for you and acknowledge how you feel during the process
4. Organize Your thoughts by writing them out before you start cooking in a thought journal to keep your flow going
5. Clean your mind using prayer or meditation upon starting of cooking and ending of cooking.
Recipe: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/ cup whole-wheat flour
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon of salt
1 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk
¼ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 large eggs
2 cups frozen blueberries + 2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Pour oats into food processor and pulse until coarse (about 6) times; pour into large bowl.
3. Add the next 7 ingredients into the same large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon; make a hole in the center of the flour mixture.
4. Combine the next 4 ingredients into the bowl and mix just until it is moist.
5. Mix flour with blueberries and fold into the muffin batter, softly. Be careful not to break the blueberries when you add them in.
6. Fill lined muffin cups ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes, or until muffin springs back when touched.
7. Remove from oven, let cool & Enjoy!