There is one tool out there that can dramatically change your health. More likely than not you already own one of these and have even used it for its intended purpose at least once or twice and for its unintended purposes more than that. Using it at least once a day can make profound improvements in your energy-level, mood, and overall well-being.

What is this miraculous changer of lives your ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a chef’s knife.

Is it really that simple?

I know! More simple than you could have ever imagined. You might think you need a fancy, expensive knife set, but one good-quality knife is enough to get you started.

But please, buy a good one. I don’t mean the knife that came in the set of 8 for $30. That knife is not going to cut it (ha-ha, see what I did there). And I’m not talking about the $600, 23-knife set, that’s going overboard. I’m talking about a knife made with quality metal, a good blade, and good balance. A knife like that will make cutting and chopping easier, which will make cooking a much more enjoyable experience.

I started off with a 6” Wüsthof chef’s knife I bought for about $50 on sale at Sur la Table. Sur la Table has fancy knife sales about twice a year so keep your eye out for deals. Amazon is also a good place to look for deals.

The Goldilocks of knives

Knowing what I know now I would have bought an 8” knife. It’s just the right size, not too long and not too short. I’ve used a 10” knife but it felt too big. The 6” is still in good shape and gets the job done. But if you’re in the market for a new one try a few out and see how they feel. If you can, try them out cutting things you’re likely to use the knife for so you can get a feel.

I’ve seen clerks chopping things at Sur la Table so you should be able to test it out there. Don’t worry too much about finding the four-leaf clover of knives, just find one that feels good and you will use. Like I said, even though my knife isn’t perfect, it gets the job done. If you know exactly what knife you want you can also look on Amazon since they always have good prices. I also like this Wüsthof 7″ Santoku with hollow edges. It’s good for chopping vegetables.

food-vegetables-wood-knife

Now what do I do?

So, you have a knife. Now what? Learn to use if for Pete’s sake! Before I had any knife skills cooking even the simplest meal was kind of a pain in the ass. Learning to chop an onion, dice garlic and easily cut up other veggies will make cooking for yourself less of a chore and if you enjoy it you’ll do it more.

I could write out a description explaining some knife skills but watching someone else is probably easier and there are a million and one knife skills videos on YouTube. There is also a free knife skills class on Craftsy.com.

Get started

You’ve got the knife and you’ve got the skills, now you cook! I’m not talking Julia Childs The Art of French Cooking, I’m talking about a simple meal with meat if you do that sort of thing, veggies and a few seasonings.

You may need some help to get started. I recommend Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo.

Practical Paleo

Even if you don’t want to go Paleo, this is a great cookbook for the beginner. The recipes don’t have a lot of ingredients and the ingredients you do use aren’t esoteric so you can use them in a lot of recipes. The dishes are simple, they taste good and some of them look fancy and will impress your friends. I can tell you, there is nothing better to build the confidence of a new cook than when someone compliments your cooking.

And you are going to need a confidence boost from time to time, because, let’s face it when you are learning to cook it’s all about trial and error. You will have soaring success and disappointing failures.

The trick is to keep learning, trying new things and doing what works. In my learning how to cook journey, there was only one dish I threw away because it was too gross to eat. If memory serves it was a Thai curry. There were plenty of other dishes that weren’t great but I spent time, money and effort and wasn’t going to let that go to waste.

Why is this such a big secret?

Cooking is easier and more fun than processed food manufacturers want you to know. They want you to think any meal you cook has to be a seven-course gastronomic experience. The last thing they want is for you to realize you can easily make a tasty, nutritious meal at home faster than Domino’s can deliver.

I know this because there was a time the only thing I could make was spaghetti with sauce out of a jar. Now I make amazing meals my friends gush over. If I can do it, I have all the faith in the world you can do it too. Like everything else, it just takes practice.

What’s your favorite dish to make? Share in the comments below and if you think someone you know will benefit from this information please share this post           .

If you like this kind of thing, head on over to the Eat Breathe Move private Facebook group where I share all kinds of interesting tidbits.

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