Updated: Apr 29, 2022
If you're here for performance or aesthetics, chopping some onions will help you on your way to greatness. However, if you think this blog will be about some trick, like rubbing onions into your eyes to cry excess fat out or that onions are secretly the miracle food that boosts your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, you'll be disappointed. Getting the fitness you want requires nothing short of hard work and dedicated consistency, see my 7 tips to consistency here. However, chopping an onion can help out a little bit.
The tip here isn't actually in the onion. It's the chop. Learning to slice, dice, chop and otherwise use a kitchen knife can take your culinary skills to a whole new level almost overnight. Chopping vegetables can be time consuming but if you know how to wield a knife, the process becomes a lot less laborious. There are plenty of videos and articles on the net of how to use a knife and plenty of varying styles to choose from. Which works best for you, is up to you. For me, I saw a video on YouTube of a technique Gordon Ramsey was showing for how to slice an onion. I gave it a practice and it worked. Within a few onions worth of slicing I was getting the technique down. The task of chopping onions became quicker with less exposure to the aroma that forces tears from my eyes. My suggestion to you is thus, get out your cooking knife, YouTube and learn to dice onions.
Learning one skill can open the flood gates to creativity in the kitchen. At very least having better skills can make cooking quicker and cleaner. A lot of the battle to getting your body to where you want it to be, comes from what you eat. Workout all you like but your nutrition can be a results multiplier. If you can't or don't workout, your food can still have a massive impact on your health. Supposedly, fresher food is better, less processed food is better. Therefore, we need to 'process' the food ourselves. When we make our own meals we can see and control more of the ingredients we use. We can adjust meals accordingly to our goals, taste and families needs. You love bell peppers but your partner doesn't, you can adjust the portions easier when preparing a meal yourself rather than picking the bits out. Likewise, especially with meats, food can be trimmed. We can cut off some of the unfavourable parts to make a meal healthier or more suited to our needs. This can sometimes also be cost effective.
A lot of people, myself once included, would opt for convenience. Rip the packaging off whatever meal and leave it in the oven for 30 mins. Often though, these foods are high in unwanted chemicals and can be more expensive. The healthier and wider variety of meals people could create, may not be created due to the rigours of preparation. I'll assume as you are here you have an interest in, or actively trying to, increase your fitness potential. Should you be a convenience re-heater, you may be able to enhance your fitness results by practising your chopping skills. You made a start with an onion. That skill down, it's the basis for going further. With a repertoire of skills at your disposal you might find actual cooking becomes far faster than you thought. There's also an element of pride in making a meal from scratch and enjoying it. If you can make healthy meals faster and easier would you eat them more often? I am. Healthier meals and ingredient control, all stemming from learning to cut with a knife, can lead to far better and more accurate weight management. The variety of meals you'll be able to cook will increase, reducing the boredom of repetitive meals. With more variety you may be less likely to give into temptation with take-away. Actually, from my experience, having more daily meal options available has taken a part of my sweet-tooth away. I've since discovered meals I'd rather having a second portion of than dive into chocolate cake and custard. Though all in moderation! So you ultimately may get more nutrients and vitamins needed to build muscle at the same time as having better weight management and healthy living. All from learning to slice a humble onion.
I can't put all cooking improvements down to learning a new skill. Having the right equipment helps no end. It almost goes without saying, a good knife does wonders. Now there's a lot of different chefs knives around and each has its own purpose. I found that just one large knife did everything I needed. I used to just use the biggest knife in my knife set until my partner got me a Japanese Santoku which is super sharp. Most of the time I only use this one knife to chop all of my veg and meat (less washing up). Although not essential, I inherited a honing blade to use every now and again to help keep the knife sharp. It's said a sharp knife is safer as it needs less effort and isn't as likely to slip.
I went through a spate of buying a pot and pan for every occasion. However, it came time to replace one. By chance I bought a large ceramic pan instead of a Teflon coated pan. I've not used any of my other Teflon pans since. I went for the bigger pan as I was doing more batch cooking. Its superior non-stick properties means I use it for nearly all cooking and it lives permanently on the cooker hob. Combined with faster prep time, a good pan makes the overall meal process faster. It's so much easier to wash up as all it needs is a quick wipe. The task of washing up just got easier and I've since emptied my cupboards of the dusty teflon pans leaving room for more specialist cooking equipment, further increasing the variety of meals, further reducing food boredom, further maintaining good food choices and consistency.
Purely for making washing up easier and again, the overall task of cooking more pleasant, a good non-stick baking tray is a no brainer. However, you need to take care of your baking tray and other equipment. Sharpen knives and avoid using abrasive materials on pots, pans and trays to keep their protective properties in place. If it's not dishwasher safe, well don't put it in the dishwasher of course. Taking care of your equipment should help to make them last longer. Keeping the ease of use over a longer period making you more likely to keep up good habits rather than regressing due to burnt food or slaving away on the clean up afterwards.
Hopefully some good culinary skills, nice equipment and on point aftercare should make cooking easier, equipment faster to wash up and less of a chore. Overall, all from learning to chop an onion, cooking can become more enjoyable making you more likely to experiment with food. Good cooking has the potential to be cheap (less take outs) and opens up some self pride from learning a life skill. Lastly, as a better cook you can start to dive into the world of bulk buying ingredients and meal preparation which has a whole new blog post worth of benefits.
For some recipe ideas head over to the Ludus Training Area and try out your new skills.