Comfort in a Cup or Plate or Bowl

Posted by: | July 20, 2010

When I have a bad day, I have to admit that the first thing that I want to do is stuff food down my throat.  It’s not the healthiest of impulses, especially since it often includes things like plates of hashbrowns (with far too much ketchup) or chocolate bars (notice the ‘s’ on the end of that last one…).   My childhood comfort foods involved chocolate milk and chocolate ice cream- these are the things that my parents would bring home when I was struggling with a sore throat or they knew I had a bad day.  Chocolate milk, let me tell you, was a miracle cure. I always felt better after a cup!

Ironically, I have a food sensitivity to dairy now, so the ice cream and milk would bring me far more  discomfort physically, even if they did counter my blues.  The funny thing about comfort eating, is that it makes a lot of sense to me, even if there’s some possible health implications.

After spending some quality time with my nephew this weekend (who just turned 1 year old), my comfort eating began to make a lot of sense.  After all, when babies cry, the first thing that we all assume is that the baby needs food.  So why wouldn’t I want food when I start being upset?  It seems to be a very human reaction, after all.  But it’s ok, you can call me an Emotional Eater, if you want.  It’s ok since it seems that they’re estimating about 75% of people are using food to deal with emotions.

I am lucky that I don’t get the impulse to stuff my face to help me deal with all sorts of emotions.  It’s mainly when I’m sad about something.  Sometimes, I can’t change the world to make the situation not sad for me, so I think eating lets me feel like I at least have some control over that.   Yet, when I ended up developing a food sensitivity to my comfort foods, it made thigns a little more complicated.  I have luckily still got the plate of hashbrowns to chow down on, and over the last couple of years I have also started to find comfort in a great plate of BBQ chicken wings, preferably in bed. Yes, I know it’s a little odd, but we all have to find our own ways to bring comfort (try eating in bed- it makes you feel extravagant- but bring lots of napkins if you’re eating chicken wings!).

I had to work hard to change what foods brought me comfort. While you can certainly look up “comfort foods,” I think that comfort foods come in so much more personalized ways.  So today (and many other hard days), you’ll find me actually devouring chicken curry. It’s my comfort food at UBC.  Later, I’ll go climbing- pulling on some rock will help boost my spirits too.  I think it might be interesting if I could meet someone who finds real comfort in healthy eating- like carrot sticks or spinach or kale.  Let me know if you’re lucky enough to be like that!

So now you know- I’m an emotional eater.   Now you know as well: you should avoid me when you see me scarfing down a plate of hashbrowns, chocolate bars or even chicken curry.

So where can you find your comfort at UBC?

Filed under: Suzanne Jolly | Tags: , , ,

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