It’s been a long day and you have this image in your mind of just sitting down in your sacred space with a bowl of _________ or a glass of _________. And at points it’s that image that fuels you through the day. By the time you get home you might even rush through other routines just to reach that zen zone you have been craving.
But what is it about that comfort food? How does it calm us? How does it fuel us? Why are we often driven by this ideal moment or image when in reality we might just need to sit and take a breath?
One of my personal favorites is chocolate. The ironic thing is that chocolate may not be a comfort food for everyone. In fact, most people can actually have totally different comfort foods from the person sitting next to them.
A comfort food enters that category through a personal experience that includes all or some of the senses. A particular smell can trigger a pleasant memory, a presentation of a specific dish can remind someone about a wonderful interaction, and the texture or temperature of another food can bring on the nostalgia of a care-free childhood. Comfort foods can even vary by culture…but in my family there is something special about Sunday night Chinese food that leaves us all feeling like we are all kids again.
We all have sources of stress in our life. There are different ways to handle it. See this blog post for more information about emotional eating. Although it is easy to fall into the rut of eating comfort food to feel a certain emotion…let’s challenge that. Before consuming the food take a breath, give space to your mind, body, and neshama, to just BE and breathe. Take an accounting of where you are at. Can you feel your toes? Wiggle them. Can you touch your shoulders? Flex your arms. Have you reached for the sky today? Stand on your tip toes and reach. You have just been mindful of your body.
On a day to day basis we need and yearn for that check-in. Let us comfort our body and reach a state of calm before we eat foods to afford us that fleeting feeling. When we achieve a state of calm on our own we will be much calmer and it will last long after the food is gone. Try it. I dare you.
Here’s to a week of welcoming calm before I welcome the chocolate,