Guest blog from Jane Sandwood
At the Luminary Bakery in London, women who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the opportunity to turn their lives around by learning and working in a professional and safe environment. By offering a variety of courses and work experience as well as paid, formal employment within the bakery, women are being emboldened to realise their own dreams as longstanding cycles of poverty, prostitution, criminal activity and abuse are broken. A new year brings with it new possibilities and for the disadvantaged women in the greater London area, the empowerment offered by the Luminary Bakery can literally be life-changing.
Teaching a woman to bake and nurturing a subsequent passion for it provides her with far more than a skill set that can provide financial independence. Social initiatives designed to provide social and economically disadvantaged women with the chance to forge a better future for themselves through baking are empowering the fairer sex to not only build careers for themselves but to become well-rounded, happy individuals that can contribute positively to their communities. While you can shape a lucrative career for yourself within the bakery industry the therapeutic advantage of baking can benefit you in an immense way as well.
Baking promotes self-expression and communication
Baking allows individuals to creatively express themselves. Stress is related to a host of physical and mental problems and finding ways to cope with such stress in vital for leading a happy and healthy lifestyle. Baking can also have the added benefit of helping one communicate one’s feelings, especially when baking for someone else. It can be very helpful especially for people who have experienced hardships and who battle to express their feelings to do so with baked goods. In many cultures, food is seen as an expression of love which is very profound as it is something we can all relate to. Baking helps us to expand our tastes and introduce us to new flavour experiences.
Baking is a form of mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness and meditation have become very well-known and include a reduction in stress and increased happiness. Baking requires a lot of attention while you focus on weighing, measuring and following the recipe. As long as you are focusing on taste and smell and are present in the moment of creation, the act of mindfulness in the current moment can result in even further stress reduction. Culinary therapy, including baking, right alongside art therapy often form part of behavioral therapies in treatment facilities that deal with everything from addiction to post-traumatic stress disorders. To ring in the new year, whipping up a batch of the UK’s favourite cakes and biscuits can prove to be a much-needed stress reliever after the often trying festive period.
Baking for others is a form of altruism
At the very heart of baking are the acts of creation and giving. Baking for others, whether as a gift or as part of your career, makes you feel like you have accomplished something good and contributes to your sense of well-being. Whipping up a batch of baked goods with the intention of gifting them is seen as a form of altruism, a sacrifice you are making for someone else. Baking holds great symbolic meaning and has an impact on both your physical and emotional wellbeing.
The art of baking can benefit anyone in a variety of ways. Not only will you experience a sense of self-accomplishment when you see, and taste, the finished product but you will continuously improve your skills and enjoy an increased sense of well-being while creating delectable goods in the kitchen. 2018 has all the potential needed to be a positive and fulfilling year and what better way to spread love and prosperity than by indulging in the art of baking.
Jane is a freelance writer and editor. She has written for both digital and print across a wide variety of fields. Her main interest is exploring how people can improve their health and well being in their everyday life. And when she isn't writing, Jane can often be found with her nose in a good book, at the gym or just spending quality time with her family.