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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Soapbox: Comfort Food Revisited

Is the comfort that food provides something that is hard-wired into our brains from earliest times, when a full stomach meant survival? Ask anyone what their family's comfort food was and the only time they hesitate is if they're trying to decide which family comfort food was the most used. What did mom fix when it was exam week? the first night home from college? when it had been a really rough week?  They even have whole cookbooks dedicated to comfort food recipes!

I'm overweight.  I'm working on it and I'm making progress, but I'm overweight. I don't think it's a coincidence that weight issues are exceedingly common among foster parents, and also among foster children.  Whether overweight or underweight, eating too much or eating the wrong stuff. It is sooo hard to treat food as fuel, not as the enemy, not as the friend, not as the feared, not as the comfort.  Fuel, just that, nothing more. They say that the nicotine in smoking is addictive.  I don't smoke,  but I think for some of us, food is every bit as addictive, and every bit as hard a habit to control. After all.. You can't quit eating. And you have years and years of being "trained" that eating x or y will make you "feel better."

Even now, I feel that baking a batch of cookies or brownies is doing something nice for my kids. I make an amazing peanut butter/chocolate homemade fudge. People's eyes light up when I bring it to the church fair, or to a sick friend, or mail it to a child at college.  My kiddos literally jump for joy when they see me gathering the ingredients for fudge. I know when I make fudge they will be excited and happy.  I admit sitting down to a family board game or going for a walk together doesn't give me that same feeling. I don't think it gives them the same feeling either. Maybe it does.  I hope it does.  It would be nice to break the cycle of using food for comfort. 

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