Think for a moment of a food from your past, one that makes you feel great after you eat it for no specific reason. Maybe it is lasagna, a lamb roast, ice cream or pancakes. For me, Mum’s crumbed, lamb chops are right up there. It was my favourite, especially on a cold wintery night. Whenever I came home to the farm after being away for a while, mostly boarding school or once in a while overseas, Mum would have it baking away in the oven for me.
Eating comfort foods (every now and then) can be incredibly healing, even though your rational brain might not consider it highly nutritious.
Food has the power to impact us on a level deeper than just our physical well-being. What we eat can reconnect us to precious memories, like childhood playtimes, first dates, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. Eating this food connects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s biochemical make-up.
Acknowledging what different foods mean to us is an important part of cultivating a good relationship with food. It’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food-and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.
What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you eat your soul food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings you.