Welcome to CookedbyLO! I am Lily Osman aka LO, a chef, food writer, recipe developer, and mental health activist. My inspiration for starting this blog turned program came from a desire to share my food journey, and help inspire others through the services I offer. My Mindfulness cooking lessons were inspired by my time in Culinary school. It was the most amazing experience but a professional kitchen is a very intense space both on your body and mentally, it is clear from day one you have to take care of yourself, if you are distracted you can cut yourself or burn yourself or just faint from how hot it is in the kitchen. Because it is a heightened space by nature the culinary world has very good systems to help maintain a balance and prevent these accidents, in the culinary classroom it was easier to ask for help than cut my finger or take a moment to drink water so I didn’t faint. Since it was so engrained in the culture I wasn’t afraid to do take those moments or integrate other techniques I learned through different therapy and therapy programs that I had been doing since the age of 12; the more of those systems I was able to integrate the more efficient I was in the kitchen. I started to journal every night after class because I was so curious by the ease with which I was able to apply tools that I wasn’t able to apply in times of crisis at other points in my life. Being in this heightened space just made everything simpler, after reviewing my journal I was able to layout a system to create a mindful space in my own kitchen and figured it might help other people too.
Food has always been an important way to help with my anxiety, but food and cooking are so much more than a cure for anxiety. More and more the awareness around the mind-gut connection has been researched, I got to experience this first hand. In my senior year of college, my psychologist was prescribing me too much medication and my body reacted through different gastro problems. After months and many doctor visits, I was tired and scared and went to another doctor whose first question was, "are you on any anti-depressants?" a week later, I was better. Looking back on that time reinforces my mission here. I want CookedbyLO to be a sanctuary, for those who love to cook, hate to cook, have to cook, and want to learn to cook. There is so much to gain from eating the food you cook, knowing what you are putting in your body, being creative, connecting with the process before you eat, and eating delicious food. Cooking has been the most amazing outlet for me, as someone with chronic anxiety and other mental health troubles in the past. I have always come to the kitchen to get out of my head and to focus on one thing, creating a delicious meal to show my love. I want to help as many people as I can create that special bond I have in the kitchen.