Comfort Foods


I think it’s interesting to find out what comfort foods my friends turn to, and why that food is a comfort for them.

Ok this is not a Jillian Michael’s friendly post; and if Jillian reads this – she is welcomed to show up on my doorstep and whip me into shape!  In a way though, I think Jillian would approve.  It’s the psychology behind our comfort foods that make it a comfort.

I have different comfort foods for different occasions. I spent many years self medicating myself with food.  I understand the addictions, the psychological dependency, and the desire to mask the pain in our hearts.  The most difficult part of losing weight is not the diet, or the exercise but the space between your ears.

My mother was never generous with praise.  She was quick to criticize and compare, but I remember very few times when she gave praise.    Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother.  She was raised in a manner that dictated that we are not demonstrative with affection. She taught what she learned, and instilled strong values in my siblings and me.  She did however express her love through food.

Had a bad day?  Aw, let’s have some cake.

Aced your exam?  Yeah! Let’s have some cake.

Bobby broke your heart?  Aw, let’s have some cake.

Do you see the pattern there? Chocolate cake fixes a multitude of problems!  I know it doesn’t really, but there’s a part of me inside that screams for chocolate cake with a victory, a defeat, or heartache.  Mom’s chocolate cake with homemade fudge frosting was the bomb!  She wasn’t much of a cook, but boy could she bake!  Pies, cakes, cookies, and bread were masterfully created in our home.  There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baking bread.

My mom has passed, but her “cake therapy” remains.  There was also different therapies for different occasions.  For a cold, there is nothing better than homemade chicken soup.  For the flu, it’s a sip of pickle juice, or 7Up, or hot tea, or basically whatever will stay down.

Two days ago I was perfectly fine.  Finished my workout at the YMCA; and I felt really good about myself.  I spent the afternoon writing about 6,000 words; finished a project that was due and had time to kick back and enjoy a tv show that I had recorded. Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat, itchy watery eyes that burned; my sinuses alternately running like a faucet, or being so congested I thought my head would explode.  I attended my morning meeting and handed off my portion of the project.  Everything was completed and just needed to be printed and bound.  Things went downhill quickly with the finishing team.  The back covers were put on wrong, The appendix was omitted.  My natural bent is to take over and say “Here, just let me do it.”  Anyone know what I mean?

I didn’t do that however, I saved the file, made sure the other people knew how to retrieve it and print however many more copies would be required and I left.  Letting the others do their job while assuring myself that they would eventually get it right was a hard thing for me.  My projects are like my babies; I have trust issues with someone else caring for them.

I returned home to my ‘office’ feeling miserable.  To be honest, I slept most of the afternoon and evening.  When the nausea strikes of course there are no comfort foods in the world that are tolerable until it passes.  Now I’m really craving some homemade chicken noodle soup.  I have the canned stuff, but yuck!  My desire for the soup has not been great enough to make myself prepare it so I sit here and think about it.

Scientific evidence has proven that there is some benefits to hot chicken broth in fighting illness.  Do we really need science to tell us this?  They’ve also claimed that chocolate does indeed have health benefits.  Of course it does! For one, a little chocolate goes a long way in allowing the other person to live.  It causes endorphins to be released.  Well duh, I guess these scientists have never heard a woman sigh after biting into a Dove chocolate.

A friend of mine has the comfort food of Shepherd’s pie.  I tried it and I thought – yuck!  She explained to me the history in her family of the Shepherd’s pie and it has sentimental value to her.  My husband’s comfort foods are scrambled eggs and ice cream.  Not together of course!  My sister in law’s comfort food is creamy mac and cheese, because when they had family gatherings that was the food her Grandma would always bring to the gatherings.

Isn’t that what is really behind our comfort foods anyway?  The sentimental feelings we associate with childhood memories that cause that food somehow transport us back to a time when we were happy is the root of the comfort food.  So psychologically speaking we could attain the “comfort” without the food if we just sat back and thought about it.  But where’s the fun in that?

Isn’t it more enjoyable to eat that oatmeal cookie with walnuts and savor each bite because it tastes like the ones Grandma used to make? Doesn’t it make that plain chicken noodle soup seem like the best meal ever because it was what Mom made for us when we were sick?

What are your comfort foods?  Can you identify why they give you comfort?  Figuring these things out doesn’t prohibit me from enjoying my comfort foods.  It helps me to not behave like a food addict, or over indulge to drown my sorrows.  there are many reasons why people over-indulge and become fat or obese.  I’m working through mine as I regain my health and improve my figure.

I will at some point make some chicken noodle soup today.  Between the “have to finish today” list and the errands that are mandatory,  I will get in a little extra sleep to recover from this flu bug, then have my soup.  After I go back to bed the family will order pizza or go for some other foods.  I’m ok with that.

Leave me a comment and share your own comfort food(s).  Everyone is so diverse, I think it will be interesting.  Thaks for stopping by!

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