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Food Is Not Always the Answer

February 16, 2015

Note: Last fall when I went to see Alton Brown perform, he shared five things that he felt confident saying about food. It got me thinking about what I might say about food, and I came up with my own list, although it’s quite different than his. This is one of my items.

 

Have you ever felt like food is your go-to, no matter the situation? That whether you’re sad, happy, lonely, bored, or anything else, food is always there for you and won’t let you down?

 

That’s how I felt for a long time. And in a way, it’s true. Food was always there for me, never judged me, and never called me names. Yet in other ways it let me down, by distracting me from what was really going on, a numbing addiction trapping me trapped in repeating cycles, never able to move forward.

 

Then came my epiphany.

 

As so many times before, I reached for food as a means of solace, grasping for something to soothe my battered spirit. Except this time, for some reason, I paused and thought about what I was doing.

 

Would the food truly change anything about my situation? Being honest with myself, I had to say no. It would be, at best, a momentary distraction, but it couldn’t return loved ones lost, or revert the resulting life changes.

 

For the first time, I realized the truth: food is not always the answer.

 

Part of me desperately wishes, at times, that it could be that simple, and chocolate could make everything better. But it can’t.

 

Which isn’t to say that food doesn’t help. Sometimes it does – for instance, having a meal composed of foods we once shared with those we’ve lost can help us remember them. And the taste of chocolate can boost our mood a bit. But it will not change the underlying reality, or the fact that we are often better served by finding alternate means of comfort.

 

It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but ultimately vital in order for me to be truly mindful about my eating and move forward with my life in a healthier manner.

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