Foods and emotional chewing
Comfort foods do not comfort. Eating for comfort is taking an activity that fulfills a basic need and using it as a distraction from emotions. This can lead to a distorted relationship with food swinging between total control and a lack of control. Later it develops into a power struggle with the food itself; played out with guilt, shame, fear, pleasure, and confusion. Ultimately, this can create the same cycle of seeking comfort from an exterior source, where comfort simply cannot be found but a diversion from troubling feelings is sought.
There is hope, however, recognizing that foods can, indeed, help deal with feelings rather than bulldoze or bury them.
Conscious awareness of feelings takes effort. It takes understanding the events experienced and placing context with your own beliefs, past experiences and traumas, attachments, and concerns. Once you have understood your feelings you can begin to deal productively and make choices that honour who you are in face of any and all challenges.
So how can food be a part of this deep process? Try crunching into snacks like celery stalks or a crisp apple chew voraciously when dealing with anger. Sip soups when feeling sadness or low energy. Feeling ‘irie’? Enjoy a healthy meal with baked fish, spiced grains and veggies. Feeling lonely? Invite friends for a communally shared plate at an Ethiopian restaurant. Feeling inspired and creative? Channel it into creating a new dish at home? Stressed over money issues? Invest in dried lentils, beans, and greens. Soak the lentils and beans overnight and cook them into wonderful meals that will fuel you towards better and more prosperous days. Feeling silly? Enjoy a snack of nuts and seeds with some dried berries.
If you feel downright awful, talk to someone. Asking for help is a gift for the person who can give. Then later enjoy a sweet treat like a cookie to remind yourself of the sweetness in life. Your emotions serve a purpose. Trust yourself in being able to find the right solution for you. Food serves a purpose -let it serve you to be in tune with life itself.
Bite or sip into life. Chew it up. Smile, you’ve got this!