Comfort food?

Why don’t we skip the food part of “comfort food” to go straight into comfort?

Part of the problem is that we have equated everything with food. If there’s a party, there’s food. If there’s grief, there’s food. Happy or sad, we use food. We use food to celebrate and to bring ourselves out of a funk. Food is equated with feeling good.

We self-medicate with food all the time, in part because this is what we were taught to do. We aren’t taught how to deal with our feelings or with problems.

We teach our children that if they are upset they should put something in their mouths. We do it with actual food or we do it with a pacifier. This is incredibly unhealthy. You may think food isn’t as bad as drugs but the side effects of overeating can include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. And the problem still isn’t solved. The reason for the need for comfort is still there.

Shells and cheese

Two cups of pasta shells
Half a cup of havarti-dill cheese, grated
Quarter of a cup of parmesan cheese – grated or shredded
Knob of butter
Splash of milk
seasoned salt to taste

Boil the pasta per the package directions. Make it “al dente.” Take the pot off the heat. Pour the pasta into a colander. Put the butter (slice it up to make it melt faster) into the pot. Put the pasta back into the pot. Put the cheese into the pot. Stir. Add milk to get the consistency you want –but add it slowly. You can always add more but you can’t undo it if you have too much. Do this all quickly – you are working with the heat of the pasta, not the stovetop.

Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

Comfort food and Western medicine are killing us.

I know a lady whose adult daughter has Crohn’s disease. She has done well with it for several years, but it has flared up again. She is recently divorced and has moved back in with her parents.

Her mom wondered if she should buy her a Blizzard from Dairy Queen after she found out the test results weren’t good. Uh. No. As another person said – what health condition would that be good for?

But it isn’t physical health she is trying to treat. She is hoping to soothe with food. We do this a lot. We soften the blows of life with ice cream and cake and brownies.

These are celebration foods. Perhaps what we are trying to do is “turn that frown upside down”. Perhaps by eating the same foods we eat at parties we are trying to trick our brains into thinking that everything is fine. We aren’t in the middle of a bad situation. We are at a party!

But junk food never fixes anything. Good food will fix quite a bit. Exercise will always help.

I’m not sure how we got to the point that we treat the symptom rather than addressing the cause. I’m not sure how we have become reactive rather than proactive. I’m not sure how we have become so passive about our health and our lives.

I know that I’m not playing that game anymore. Sometimes I think I want to go back to school to learn how to be a nutritionist, or a life coach, or anything that helps people prevent their own suffering. But then I think I can’t save the world. It seems like such a logical thing – eat well and exercise and you’ll do fine (barring accidents). Eat terribly and be a couch potato, and you’ll suffer. But that is the way of things. I don’t think we’ve always been this way, but we sure are now. Our medical institutions don’t help either. Coughing? Take a pill. Diabetes? Take a pill. There is no education on how to get well.

Doctors who made a pledge to “do no harm” aren’t doing any good either.

Where does the change start? I think it has to start with us. We have to take control of our own health and lives. We have to essentially homeschool ourselves on our health and wellbeing. The more we expect others to do for us, the more passive we are. And the more passive we are, the more we will fall behind.