Shouldn’t Comfort Foods… Comfort?

Tamara Adler wrote a well-considered article in the February 2013 issue of Yoga Journal titled, Comfort Redefined, What if eating feel-good food actually made you feel good?

Comfort food has gotten a bad rap. The words comfort food immediately conjure images of high-salt, high-sugar, high-fat foods, i.e. junk foods–modern, highly processed foods laced with chemicals and preservatives. We turn to them for the “numbing effect or fleeting rush, knowing [the] short-lived perks will make us feel bad later on.” And then she wrote something that really made me pause–

“The idea of escaping distress by causing ourselves another kind of distress is ironic of course, but goes deeper than that.” She then describes a story about the Dali Lama, who began crying during an interview. When asked why, he said, “Because you are all so violent to yourselves.”

Ah…how can one not pause reading that? Can we stop doing violence to ourselves by eating in ways that harm? Can we eat to nourish when we are distressed?

pear and plum ©VSpain

pear and plum ©VSpain

Of course, if we pay attention, we may find we need another form of nourishment–exercise, rest, etc. but if we want to eat, can we take up the practice of finding food that would truly nourish us in moments of distress? When we turn to foods for comfort, can we “choose dishes that are an expression of our beliefs, not an exception to them?”

Have you, are you, able to do this? This article has given me some things to consider more deeply. I’ll write more about this “new” idea of comfort foods in the next post. If this makes you think of something you’d like to share, please do.


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