Comfort Food I would be willing to wager that every single one of us has a comfort food. At least one food that reminds us of a time or place in our lives or a person we love, like mom or grandma, maybe dad who knows, and when we are feeling down and out, whatever is our chosen comfort food can raise our spirits and make us smile. At least for a while and if we don’t over do it. Problem is, we often do and that is why C- is for Comfort food on the A-Z April Blogging Challenge - my list of things that are good in theory, possibly bad in reality and
Today’s Mental Moment…
is about how comfort food is good but can go bad too. Not like spoiling go bad. All food does that, I mean how comfort food is good for the soul but if we get carried away with the a little is good more is better thought, the idea is not such a good one. But you probably knew that already right? Ok so moving on… Comfort food while being obviously food that makes us feel all cozy and warm fuzzes when we indulge is also typically, there are of course exceptions to the rule, high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Good examples of comfort foods are;
- Macaroni and Cheese (seems homemade is most popular for the comfort category)
- ice cream
- mashed potatoes
- cheesy anything
- need I go on?
I bet you can;t guess what my favorite comfort food is. No. Wait, I mean I bet you know what it is, especially if you have been around this blog for more than a month or two.
The reason comfort foods usually fall into the high fat and sugar content is because it provides a quick pick-you-up as carbs are a source of instant fuel for our bodies, and the sugar gives a little rush while the fats fill our tummies, soothing the pangs of hunger (real or imagined as often emotional hunger is felt as physical hunger) and leaving us feeling satisfied.
So we feel blue – lonely depressed or just not happy, and we notice when we eat foods that are high in fat and sugar we feel better, thus we associate these foods with comfort and feeling better and eventually, without thinking consciously, we reach for them when we are feeling bad. Or PMSing. That is a good time for comfort foods too. We are in effect, self-medicating without even realizing or considering it is just a band-aid for a bigger issue.
It usually does help PMS though. Just saying.
So anyways, we eat our choice of comfort, we feel better so we eat more. If some is good more is better. right?
Carbohydrates are readily burned as instant energy in the body but if we eat more than our body can burn, they are immediately stored as fat. Do not pass go, do not buy skinny jeans.
If we are not mindful of the cycle of feeling low, eating comfort foods, eating more to feel even better, the self medicating can get quickly out of hand. Just like a drug. And you don’t necessarily have to be an addict to see the results or to Jones for donuts.
What happens with more is we start to feel guilt in addition to feeling kinda icky and full and bleh, we associate food with feelings rather than eating to survive and oh my what a mess…
Why did I think comfort food is a good idea in theory that has gone bad in reality? Well in the United States, the obesity rate is out of control and we are the fattest country in the world.
There is nothing wrong with indulging now and then and nothing wrong with taking some comfort out of your food, but stop and think before you eat, stop and think again before you have more. Are you really hungry? Do you think 2 Big Macs will help solve your problems? Are you aware of what you are trying to put a band-aid over?
Just those things knowing how and why and whether you are truly hungry or emotionally hungry, can make all the difference in controlling the amount and types of comfort food you eat.
If you eat salad for comfort – well go ahead and eat all you want.. without the eggs cheese. meat or um…dressing its a great thing to graze on. But I have never met anyone who considers plain salad a comfort food, not to say there isn’t someone, and too bad it isn’t more of us. It just doesn;t have the right stuff. In the short-term anyways. In the long-term the salad eaters are going to feel better than the mac and cheese and donut eaters of the world.
One more thing that makes comfort food hit my list, because we love it (whatever it is ) so much, we try to substitute lower fat and or sugar ingredients and while that is ok when you are eating it to eat it because you think it really sounds appealing for dinner, if you are looking for comfort, it just isn;t as good.
Which means you might eat more and that cancels out the benefits of the low-fat substitute. If you are blue, or PMSing, and you know it, eat the real thing. In moderation.
Be sure and have lots of napkins to wipe your fingers when you are done too.. I just got donut crumbs and sprinkles on my keyboard. It’s not so easy to type with that stuff all over the place. I am gonna go and clean it up.
After I eat the jelly one..
and the… huh? Oh yea.. never mind.
To Your Mental State, whatever it may be.
- Food for Comfort (meritgorgy96.wordpress.com)
- Obesity epidemic: as a lifelong comfort eater, I understand the emotional pull of food | Rae Earl (guardian.co.uk)
- Mindless Habits Making You Fat (belmarrahealth.com)
- Here I sit. (myveganproprietorship.wordpress.com)
- Why You’re Eating When You Not Hungry (belmarrahealth.com)
- Our obsession with sugar, salt and fat (cnn.com)