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It’s Never Too Late To Believe In Yourself: One Woman’s Story Of Going From Retired Banker To MasterChef Winner

Irini Tzortzoglou was bored of retired life, so at the age of 60 she decided to enter the famous cooking competition MasterChef, which she ended up winning. Now, Tzortzoglou is living her best life as a chef, writer, and public speaker.

Cooking Show

Best TV Cooking Shows To Watch In Lockdown 

During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have explored new hobbies and interests while we pass the time in lockdown. Many individuals across the world have been teaching themselves to cook in their spare time, so here’s a list of some of the most popular programs being watched right now across the globe: 

Anthony Bourdain: This show is available on Amazon Prime Video and ran from 2002-2018. It’s no secret that Anthony Bourdain was one of the most respectable chef’s in the food entertainment industry. His show was widely popular every year it was on and explored the international cuisines from around the world that the average individual may not have ever heard of. In his Parts Unknown series he broke down the idea of a “celebrity chef” and just wanted to go to places that anyone else would love and enjoy. 

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Chef’s Table: This Netflix original show began in 2015 and is still currently producing seasons. The show profiles various chefs from around the world and offers a cinematic element that makes the cooking look sensual and engaging for the viewer. The chef’s on this show all have their own unique backstory with cooking which has been regarded as giving the viewer the sense that they too could become just as talented one day if they work hard. 

The Taco Chronicles: This show is also a Netflix original and is hosted by Carlos Perez Osorio. Osorio’s goal with this 2019 program was to show viewers the future of intellectual food shows. There are six episodes and within each one a different type of taco is intricately dissected so that viewers can really understand the combination of ingredients and why they work so well together, as well as gain a greater respect for the process of cooking/creation. 

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Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavours of India: This 1995 show is currently available on BBC iPlayer. The show was six-parts and explored the flavors and techniques of regional Indian cooking. Jaffrey gave off a calm and dignified persona on TV that showed viewers she really meant business when it came to her cuisine. The show itself has been highly regarded as one of a kind in terms of its focus on Indian cuisine.

The Chef Show: This Netflix show has only been one for one year but has been one of the platforms most popular food programs to date. Jon Favreau and Roy Choi spend each episode hanging out in the borrowed kitchens of all their Hollywood friends. It takes on the format of a visual podcast but with TV video quality. The format is casual, as the two simply mix their ingredients and tell you about their process while they get side-tracked and reflect on the glory days like any other best friend duo. 

Ugly Delicious: This Netflix original is hosted by chef Danic Chang of the celebrated Momofuku restaurant group. In more recent episodes Chang has used the show as a means of discussing important culinary issues around the world. The show also takes on a relatable lens when Chang finds out he’s going to be a father and then teaches the viewer how to make their own baby food.

Healthy Eating

How To Practice Healthy Eating Habits While In Quarantine

During quarantine, it can be hard to get creative when it comes to food. Now that we’ve all been stocking up as much as possible on non-perishable items, it can be difficult to figure out what to do with it all. More often than not, it’s easiest just to go for something pre-made and microwavable for convenience, however, just because you may not have a lot to work with, doesn’t mean you can’t still find a bunch of different recipes for the items in your pantry.

Ordering out every night can also seem like an easy option, and while that can help support local businesses during this tough time, not a lot of us have the ability to afford that everyday. So, look in your pantry and pull out every possible ingredient, maybe even section them off into categories so you have an organized visual of what you’re working with. The main goal is to create meals that are balanced, but can also be kept cold and eaten over the course of a few days.

“There are countless pantry options that are unhealthy. It’s okay to pick up a few indulgences, as long as we don’t start overindulging. The key is balance and remembering the most important component of our plates, vegetables,” says registered dietitian Anna Kippen.

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Now, once we have all of our ingredients organized and placed in front of us, it’s time to think of some recipes. Unless you’ve worked as a professional chef before, coming up with creative things to eat using what you have is no easy task. Luckily, the internet exists, and can provide you with a ton of resources to help you figure out what you want to make.

One service that’s been rising in popularity as of late, especially during this time of quarantine, is the website supercook.com. Supercook is a super easy-to-use platform that asks users to simply submit every pantry ingredient they have, and how much of each ingredient they have. Supercook will then give you a ton of recipes that you can make using your pantry items, the site even lets you choose what type of meal you want to make (dessert, a snack, dinner) and allows users to input any dietary restrictions they may have, to make every recipe inclusive.

Beyond your meals, you also have to be conscious of your snacking habits. The snacks we eat directly impact how much nutritional value we’re gaining, or losing, in a given day. If you’re eating healthier with your meals, you have more wiggle room with how unhealthy your snacks can be, however, it’s important that you’re actively trying to maintain some sort of healthy diet during this pandemic, as it can be so easy to get lost in a bag of potato chips while binge-watching your favorite reality show.

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“If we choose to make healthier substitutions when purchasing our staples, we’ll have healthy options available for when we need a quick snack. Popcorn is a delicious, healthy and crunchy whole-grain snack! I also always suggest my patients keep unsalted nuts around,” Kippen said.

Kippen also is a firm believer in creating a meal schedule for yourself and sticking to it. If you plan out what meals to make on what day, it’ll be easier for you to ration out your pantry items so that they last as long as possible, and are used to the best of their ability. A meal schedule will also allow you to organize what staple meals can be made and kept cold/frozen, so that you’ll be set for more than one day of eating after one day of cooking.

Finally, it’s important that when you do go back to the grocery store to stock up, you make a solid list of things you need, and stick to it. Before this pandemic, it may have been easy to just get in the car and go pick out a bunch of random food items and hoping for the best, but you have to be smart about your purchases.

Stock up on things like canned beans, frozen chicken or any other meat, frozen vegetables/fruits, rice, potatoes, spices, tomato sauce, whole-wheat pasta, etc. These kinds of ingredients can be used to make a whole slew of meals, and also have a lot of longevity to their lifespan when kept correctly. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet when you’re stuck indoors during all hours of the day, however, it’s important so that once all this is over, we all enter back into the world much healthier individuals.

Two Girls Working Out at Home

How To Keep Yourself Entertained During Quarantine

In times of global pandemics, it’s important to remember to do things to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the constant updates and statements about a rapidly spreading virus. Binge-watching your favorite shows and taking on some new hobbies are just two general examples of ways you can keep yourself busy during times of quarantine, so what should you try today?

Thanks to the many art and cultural institutions throughout the world, you can bring the likes of museums, Broadway plays, theatrical productions, and opera performances, right into your living room. Google’s Arts and Culture Department has collaborated with over 500 of the world’s most famous museums to offer virtual tours and lessons on some of the most famous artwork in history. 

In addition, Broadway has its own streaming service, and BBC is offering a digital “Culture in quarantine festival” for fans of all things theater and dance. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming exclusive versions of some of its most famous performances every night. 

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Another great way to keep yourself occupied, while also feeling like you’re doing something to benefit your physical health, is doing an in-home workout routine. There are plenty of free options covering a multitude of types of exercise on YouTube. Not only will you ensure that you’re keeping your body running to the best of its ability, but exercise also is a great mood-booster, especially when you’re stuck inside. 

Along those same lines, taking an online yoga or meditation course, or simply going on YouTube for free, will also improve your physical health while improving your mental well-being as well. The overall goal of keeping yourself entertained when quarantined and distanced from the outside world, is to do things that are enriching for your mind, body, and soul. 

You don’t want to simply sit in front of the TV and distract yourself with mindless reality shows all day, although that’s not the worst option, you want to do things that will keep you from being in your head too often throughout the day. 

The more time you spend just thinking, the more likely it is that you’ll get trapped in an endless stream of consciousness about all things COVID-19/pandemic related. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s just as important to completely separate yourself from that narrative that we’re constantly hearing about at all hours of the day. 

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Some local entertainers are taking to their community Facebook groups to host online dinner parties, happy hours, hangouts, or even concerts. Just because we can’t all physically spend time with our distanced friends and family, living in a time of advanced technology gives us that ability. We have endless access and communication to whoever we want to talk to, whenever we want to, so might as well take advantage of it. 

“Join us tonight from wherever you are! Social distancing is good for the world right now, but still hard on us as individuals — emotionally, mentally and even physically. So let’s stay connected and, for the love of Pete, let’s keep making music!!” wrote New Jersey local singer Meghan Carey on her artist Facebook page before performing a virtual concert on Saturday.

Finally, make sure you’re going outside and getting some fresh air at least once a day. Just because you need to be socially distancing yourself from others, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a solo walk around town, assuming there’s natural spaces for you to go. Many national parks and services around the US are waiving their fees to encourage people to go for more walks while keeping a safe distance around other people. 

Fresh air is good for your physical and mental health, so like anything, just make sure you’re maintaining those two important aspects over anything. It can be easy to get trapped in a binge-watching marathon but that won’t be good for your mind or body in the long run, so get outside, do some yoga, and take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.