I tried cooking in the nude (so you can too)


Is it the nudist life for me?

For many people, unclothing is a daily after-work ritual. Pre-pandemic, they would ceremoniously remove stuffy office attire, unhook the bra and shake off the underwear. Finally, breathe. Now, for many of us, the only boundaries are scheduled Zooms.

I’m not nude-averse per se, but years of underlying body insecurities and a strict aversion to the cold prompt me to cling to clothing with an iron fist. I’ll strip down; just let me keep my socks and underwear. I need that security and warmth.

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To get naked is an innately human desire, though. More than 10 million Americans identify as nudists (not including those who simply enjoy wandering around their apartments in the nuddy). The networks keep feeding us TV shows like Dating Naked and Naked and Alone. Is it time I hardened up and undressed?

The case for nudity

According to various studies, the benefits of stripping down are countless – both physical and psychological. A nude approach is far better for our skin, as tight clothes limit breathability, cause skin irritation and lead to a drier exterior. Of course, this also applies to the genital areas. Sleeping naked is not only beneficial for intimacy’s sake but promises improved rest: a lower body temperature signals time to sleep, and excessive warmth disrupts the crucial dream stage.

Nude advocates note a broader sense of self-acceptance. It fosters familiarity with one’s body, and makes you more in touch with its desires and needs. Those who partake in the nudist or naturalist lifestyle report reduced shame, more self-love and improved confidence as they harbour less judgment about themselves and others.

One Quora thread cites that nudity helps you save money (you need fewer clothes!) and cut down on laundry. “You can do whatever and get dirty and you just need to bath and no need for doing the laundry frequently,” the responder wisely writes. I hate laundry, and I want to appreciate my body. Maybe it is the nudist life for me.

Cooking naked: the latest trend

My interest was piqued when I came across a Bon Appetit feature with Charlie Max, the model and multidisciplinary artist behind the Instagram account, @fude_____. Via her account, she shares vegan meals – prepared, posed, and frequently eaten with others – in the nude. As Charlie explains, “Nudity helped me… dive into a journey of self-love. Our bodies are our true homes. And when I was able to strip down and feel safe and confident in my own skin, those feelings carried over into whatever I was doing in my everyday life.”

Her embrace of nudity in such a normal and non-sexual setting not only boosts confidence but slowly strips away the inherent sexualisation that is so automatic with the naked body. And it’s a growing trend. Other practising nude cooks mention they feel more creative and less restricted when crafting meals this way: once, twice, or three times a day. Of course, it comes with a warning about spits and burns, with more surface area for unpleasant injuries.

I hate laundry, I want to appreciate my body, and I’m also passionate about cooking. It’s time to lose the layers. Admittedly, winter is a terrible time for me to engage in a nude cooking session, so I waited for the warmest day possible and ran with it. I selected a decidedly safe recipe, then ran to the kitchen, closed the surrounding doors (for both warmth and the protection of unknowing neighbours), and stripped off; clothes draped haphazardly over the stools. And so, I began to make some damn good muffins – butt naked.

Reflecting on my momentary freedom, I realise how little time or attention I give my body on any given day. I sneak glances in the mirror and quickly inspect as I hop in the shower, but I don’t love or nurture or truly acknowledge its power and existence. I very rarely just am. Being in my house sans clothing was cleansing – a new form of self-care. I galloped around and was completely aware of the kitchen and my place in it.

Warmth emanated from the oven, acting as a pseudo-heater, and I took extra care to avoid spilling egg all down my bare body (although it would have been a delectable natural moisturiser if I had). There are no mirrors – not even a reflective window – so I was completely free from my own sideways glances and wondering ‘Does my butt look big like this?’ Instead, I bent and breathed and moved about with little thought to appearances. I had nothing to focus on except the recipe before me and the way my body felt. ‘I could get used to this,’ I thought to myself.

I’m hesitant to proclaim myself a blossoming nudist, but I am open to a more nude-inclusive lifestyle. Come summer, I might forgo the oversized shirt I call pyjamas and allow myself to slumber in naked bliss. When my body feels foreign, I’ll plan a midday baking session. It could all be in my mind, but the muffins tasted better for it.

This article was originally published on August 4, 2021.

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