Saturday, May 21, 2022

Food and mood

Without a doubt, at any given time of day, we could be in any kind of mood across the spectrum, from extremely happy to extremely sad.

As much as mood affects the outcome of our day, it also dictates the energy with which we eat to put yet more energy into our bodies.

When we are happy, our eating habits tend to be normal but we are most likely to stray from good and normal, eating when something goes wrong emotionally.

The very ordinary thing to do when we are upset is to find some kind of outlet or, shall I call it, a place to vent. Some take that energy, and I choose to call it negative energy, out on other people. Literally picking fights in the oddest of ways, others get a sudden urge to eat something sweet like chocolate, others just go out to drink and socialise like there is no tomorrow, the sort of socialising where they go and become the life of the party just because they are drinking themselves silly.

Some people take the journey inside when things are not going right. These are the kind of people who, instead of taking it out externally, take it inwardly.

They renew their gym membership and spend a lot of time in there, introspecting with every calorie they burn. And, of course, endorphins play a good role here in keeping them happy and adding on to why they are much better off in the gym.

Some take the even quieter route of doing yoga, meditating, probably the centre of their meditation for that day being that one particular thing that really ticked them off, and channelling their energy towards converting that negative energy into a more positive one.

Since food is something that we all have to consume daily, I would not separate it much from taking a bath or breathing oxygen. In the order of things and in the priority in which they supposedly appear, in as far as keeping us alive and functional is concerned, food actually makes it way up there to amongst the top of the list.

For that reason, I really advocate that we should thoroughly give a thought to what we eat and how we eat it.

I came to understand the saying “we are what we eat” very late in my life, but the minute I grasped it for what it really is, my eating habits just never went back to what they were. A chocolate never replaced a shoulder to cry on ever again, for instance.

I don’t need a professional to come and tell me that hunger and anger are not the same thing.
What we need to do to curb hunger can not be the same thing we use to sooth a broken spirit. Are we even eating because we are hungry anymore? Ok, let us give each other the benefit of the doubt and say maybe we eat, for example, cake because we are hungry, but to go on and eat the whole cake, wait a minute!

The other special kind of eater is the pregnant woman.

I truly believe that, first of all, when a woman is pregnant, her taste buds alone are not very reliable. Try asking a pregnant woman to taste your food while you are cooking and have her tell you whether or not you need to put in more of anything. You just do not go there. You will be misled; you will either under rate or exaggerate something.

I also believe that their hormones are far from balanced for the whole nine months. Everything gets magnified ten times!

The last friend to go and see when you have any kind of emotional unrest is the pregnant woman. A normal person would pull out a box of tissues and allow you the space to vent. A pregnant woman will see it as an opportunity to eat. She is more likely to pull out a box of Choice Assorted biscuits and name each one after your misery while you both aimlessly eat your way to sugar addiction.

Food is supposed to joyfully satisfy hunger and keep us healthy. It is not supposed to make us fat, neither is it the reason why we should become underweight and have the medical field give us names such as obese, anorexic, bulimic, etcetera.

No amount of cake, burgers, chocolate and alcohol will ever take the pain away when that pain has nothing to do with hunger. I think the best thing to do at any stage is to not be in denial of anything that comes our way.

It is one thing to not have nobody to turn to but food, and it is another to not accept what we are going through.

A lot of us, regardless of gender, are caught up in the dynamics of comfort eating, and swing from one extreme of this sadness to another. Help can stare us in the face and even pass us by because we do not own up to what it is we are going through and tackle it for what it is.

A lot of food has become very available in our local food markets. We are exposed to more fast foods and other kind of comfort foods more than ever.

It does not take much anymore to walk into a bar after a rough day at work and find people who are feeling the same and kick start the party in the name of drowning sorrows. But from time to time, it would work to our great advantage if we rather took the gym or yoga route to vent.

These are alternatives that are just as available to us as that bar of chocolate or that can of beer and have been proven over and over to leave us feeling much better.


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