Need cooking programmes to promote healthier diet and lifestyles among University students.
Posted on August 16th, 2013

Dr Hector Perera     London

I started cooking while I was attending University because I didn’t like at all these fast foods and takeaway foods. I will give the reasons as I go along. Then I discovered that food was not just nourishment for the body, but also that cooking was balm to the wounded soul.

There are a few pretty straight forward recipes, I cooked these when I was a student, I cook them still. They are designed for ease and comfort. How many students eat pasta, spaghetti, rice, chicken curries and vegetable curries? When I said the word, “ƒ”¹…”curry’ it does not meant to be hot, just spiced or spices added to their own taste. I know many students just dump pizzas, precooked packed food into microwave or to oven than cooking. That may be due to lack of cooking knowledge, confidence of cooking or due to pressure of time. I quite agree there is no harm to have an occasional treat of so called junk food but sure not on regular basis, then you are asking for trouble.

The Advanced level or A2 results are out on 15th August and many thousands of students are looking forward to start the new life in UK Universities. The current students in UK Universities are lack of confidence of cooking on their own because when they lived at home with the parents, they depended on them to provide with cooked food. They were dreaming to come to a University and now when they do, then other problems come up. One of the main problems is eating, whether to cook and eat or eat takeaways?

Your parents want the food you eat at college to be healthy, nutritious and filling. You want the food you eat to be quick, cheap and tasty. Can there ever be a middle ground? Surely there must be something you can put in your mouth that doesn’t eat into valuable essay-writing time nor dissolve into additive-laden sludge on contact with saliva?

It is widely accepted that a poor diet has plenty of implications on health. Poor food habits are associated with an increased risk of health problems later on in life. High levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar in ones diet contribute to the development of chronic illnesses such as obesity, non-insulin dependent diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, CVD (Ha & Caine Bish, 2009; House, Su & Levy-Milne, 2006)

Poor dietary practices in students such as these may be In England, obesity alone was estimated costing the National Health Service (NHS) £4.2 billion in 2007 with the cost spiralling to an estimated £6.3 billion in 2015 (Martin, 2008).

Evidence from several studies suggest on average, undergraduate students commonly consume unhealthy diets high in salt, saturated fat and sugar and low in fruit and vegetables.

These findings support the need of an educational intervention in cooking to promote healthier diet and lifestyles. Poor dietary practices in students such as these may be due to a lack of confidence to cook, low skill levels, poor knowledge of food.

My energy saving scientific cooking

For years I have been cooking at home based on my energy saving scientific technique. I am sure my kind of cooking certainly would help these University students to cook at the University flats or in wherever they live. I have to understand these students have arrived after hard competitive studies. Now they are in University, they have no time to waste on long process of complicated cooking.

I have witnessed so many famous and even celebrity cooks give cooking demonstrations in the TV; actually these programmes are more entertaining than educational. They sometimes cook rushing, even running; sometimes shouting at the other helpers, toss the food in air, may be just to show off. For these cooks, that’s entertaining than cooking. Most of the times, either the food fuming with oil and spices and sometimes these escaping volatile vapours catches the cooking pans or sometimes they purposely set fire to the cooking pans. I am sure they have their own reasons to cook that way and show off their expertise to the public, certainly would not help these young graduates, they assume cooking is too difficult.

I have noticed these cooks do not give any scientific explanations at any stage of cooking, may be because they are unaware of the scientific explanations. They have the experience but they haven’t explained, why they cut the food into small pieces for example onions, carrots and tomatoes or even fish and chicken. What happens when they mix the ingredients, spices with the food they intend to cook? What chemical and physical changes as the foods are cooked?

I am sure these University students are quite knowledgeable to understand some of my scientific explanations such as area of reactions increases, rates of reactions are faster with the increase of surface areas. When the ingredients are mixed for example with fish or chicken, some chemicals adsorp, some absorb when there are intermolecular and intramolecular reactions taking place even at room temperature. The word adsorp means stays the surface and for all these I call chemi-sorption. The foods are bad conductors of heat so they have to be gradually cooked than subjecting to sudden changes of temperature. The escaping volatile oil droplets and vapours from spices, likely to condense once they lose the kinetic energy or settles on colder surfaces. If someone cooks on steaming hot things on the fire, would you not agree some of these volatile vapours deposit on them? Would you think these young girls and boys in the Universities would like to walk around and to their lectures with these food smells or sometimes I called CHICKEN COLOGN OR CURRY COLOGNS on them? Actually they deposit all over on their face, hair, clothes then on hands. No wonder they are tempted to eat junks than cooking that way.

I certainly cook differently, scientifically, energy saving and also with time saving.  I have a feeling these methods are absolutely helpful to these University students who need to cook and eat than depending on unhealthy junk foods.

Please let me remind that I still have my challenge but this time it is £30,000 yes thirty thousand. If any scientist, an environmentalist or energy saving expert could disprove my scientific technique to say that my method doesn’t save energy then I would give away that challenge money. On the contrary, according to science every action has an equal and opposite reaction so what reward would I get if I proved my ideas? I suggest someone to give me a chance to show these University students, my kind of scientific energy saving cooking ideas so that these University students get the confidence of healthy home cooking, cook economically also learn how to save energy scientifically. I was lucky to achieve British University education; I wish I could help these University students to cook confidently.  Any comments please [email protected]

One Response to “Need cooking programmes to promote healthier diet and lifestyles among University students.”

  1. callistus Says:

    Mr Perera, your articles don’t seem to get any attention here. Do they. It must be quite frustrating for you. May be because they already know these so called techniques. May be it is a good idea to publish them in children’s magazines.

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