Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Comfort + Food

My first impulse this morning. I slice them and eat them the easy, unmannerly way, learned from my father: hold each quarter by it's points and peel the fruit away with your teeth.

Breakfast cereal is my go-to comfort food. These days, I go light on the cereal but use plenty of additions: this one has walnuts, yellow raisins, banana, shredded unsweetened coconut, and cinnamon.

This morning I woke up feeling that tell-tale rumble in my chest, tickle in my throat, pressure in my head - I'm coming down with something. I'm optimistic that it will be mild and short-lived, but this morning I wanted to listen closely to my body and give it exactly the nourishment required to fight this thing.

Which gets me thinking about the concept of "comfort food." Once upon a time, food and comfort were deeply entwined. Even if we weren't breastfed, someone had to hold us in order to help us take in nourishment. Somewhere along the line, for most of us far too soon, we no longer got that physical contact along with our meals, and it was probably a bit confusing for us little babes in the big woods. For many of us, me included, we turned to the remaining half of the comfort food equation in search of that old feeling of safety. We turned to food.

And now, as adults, we feel alternately defiant and guilty whenever we eat anything but the most austere of leafy fare.

So I'm here today to tell you: it's okay to enjoy your food, to nurture yourself as you nourish yourself. And luckily, our bodies require this pleasure on a regular basis. Several times a day, in fact.

If you find yourself overdoing it, perhaps the solution is not strictly self-discipline, a greater focus on restricted eating, but perhaps a concerted effort to get more human contact. Feast on it! More hugs. More lying in someone's arms. More cuddles that turn into naps in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. If there are no humans around, telephone contact will do in a pinch. And don't forget dogs and teddy bears and blankets on the couch. Treat yourself. You're worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your missive: get the cuddles you need. and your description of how you learned to eat oranges in a particular way from your Dad. Really cool. I think that would be a neat snippet to put in your cookbook.