Zen cooking for the person who doesn’t like cooking

“I want to eat healthfully, but what do I do if it stresses me out?”

Kaki Okumura
4 min readNov 3, 2022


Let’s face it– even if you love cooking, sometimes cooking is a chore. After working for 8 hours, the last thing we want to do is be on our feet, sweaty, and then think about having to do the dishes afterwards.

This is why I’ve adopted Zen principles to my cooking philosophy. A major tenet of Zen is on letting go of what generates stress and to instead bring in elements that make us feel at peace. A part of this is building a natural flow to our thoughts and actions, and priming ourselves for a calm mindset, working within the guidelines of simplicity.

So instead of trudging through the drudgery of cooking for yourself, here are some tips on how to make it a more pleasant and sustainable daily habit.

3 cooking tips for the person who is too tired to cook

1. “When you’re hungry, no matter how ‘easy’ something is to cook, it takes too long to make.”

Cooking when you’re stressed primes us for scarfing things down, feeling exhausted, and then hating the overall process. When we cook when we’re satiated, we’re much more likely to eat in moderation, eat slower, and also just enjoy the process of cooking.

So cook before you’re hungry, but if you’re already hungry, feel free to snack on something! Grapes, blueberries, nuts, yogurt, toast, or even cookies — don’t go overboard (you still need to eat dinner) but your body is telling you something, and it’s okay to trust it. Help yourself enter a calmer mindset.

2. Skip the knife

There’s a learning curve to cooking. The more you do it, the easier and more fun it becomes, but if you’re new to it– for example, you don’t feel comfortable around a knife– then the effort to upskill can be overwhelming. We often wish we were good at it, but sometimes we don’t even know where to start!



Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱