We all have a favorite go-to dish in stressful times that we call “comfort food”, and it’s usually junk food loaded with calories and devoid of nutrients. For some it’s homemade mac & cheese, pizza, or chocolate. For me it was ice cream…
Ice cream for me was a special treat that I ate almost every night, after all, I earned it! During a particularly difficult time it became two or three bowls a night, with all the toppings. Otherwise, I was health-conscious and exercised a lot, so I wasn’t gaining weight, but I knew bowls of sugar and dairy every night was harming me. I had to break the addiction.
Finally, I looked at what it was about ice cream that made it so special to me, that made me crave it. I thought back to when it began (a key to breaking any addiction) and it was in childhood. My mother liked to go out for ice cream after dinner, even in New England Winters. And, she would take me to a convenient store that sold pints of it, give me a few dollars and I’d get a bag full of all different flavors. A special treat just for us.
The light went on and I realized it wasn’t the ice cream I was craving. It was my mother. It was the way she made me feel not the ice cream that I was trying to recreate.
She had passed over several years before so I couldn’t just go see her to help me through that trying time. So, I sat down, closed my eyes, and remembered the feelings she gave me – love and protection. Which is what I needed at that time, and what I suspect we all need, and seek in “comfort food”.
Next time you’re craving comfort food, think back to the first time you had it, and the associations to it. Who gave it to you? How did that person make you feel? What were the smells involved? The surroundings? Recall the feeling and let it expand in your body. Allow yourself to smile at the memory and it will open your heart.
Love is the only comfort we really need, is it not?
Share your fave comfort food, and why you love it, in the comments below!
Copyright 2014 Susan Sloane