Does your comfort food make you feel uncomfortable? Time to break-up!

Discover how you can take the things you love from your comfort food indulgences and translate them in to food that makes you feel great

As you may have gathered from previous posts and newsletters, I am enjoying the benefits of taking time every few weeks to de-clutter an area of my life, either a physical area such as my wardrobe, or a mental area. Both these areas are very closely interlinked, and the latter manifests itself in the former.

For example, as I sit here and write this I can see a bookshelf – next on my de-clutter list – holding some files and boxes that I have been moving around with me for quite some time. I can’t even exactly say what’s in them. This feels like a mental state we can experience; that we carry around old luggage, thoughts, feelings emotions, that either need dealing with, or just letting go so that we can make progress in our life.

This week I listened to a great free call held by the lovely Corrina Gordon Barnes and Sure Rasmussen, called How to lose 200 lbs of clutter‘. One thing that really stuck out was when Sue said that we outgrow things. When we are kids it’s easy to see when we outgrow something: our little toes poke out the end of our sandals, and our trousers only reach half down our leg. The books we read even say for what ages they are suitable. But as adults, things are not so clearly defined. Yes, we have certain socially accepted/expected things to do at certain ages: e.g in your twenties/thirties get married, have kids, settle down etc, but the things we like and need are not labeled. This makes it hard for us to release things from our lives that no longer serve us.

It was quite a relief to hear this. As I look at my old CD collection, I just don’t feel drawn to listen to about 80% of them anymore. I realize now that I have simply outgrown them. My tastes have changed. It’s time to pass them on to someone else.

Even more interesting is that Sue said that this can also apply to food. I can really relate to this and it almost feels a relief to hear it expressed like that.

What does it mean to ‘grow out of your food’?

Well, it’s deeper than telling your dear Mum that you are now thirty and really don’t need her to cut the crusts off your sandwiches or arrange your food in a smiley face (though that can be fun too!). I like to think of this as moving on from food that no longer serves you.
While we are encouraged from many different sources to eat healthy foods, we don’t get much guidance about how to deal with the feelings that arise when leaving behind food that at one time played a huge part in your life. We almost need to grieve a little before moving on. For example, once you start trying new ways of eating, such as cutting out meat or gluten, or eating more raw food you may find yourself clinging on to the ‘good old days’ when you were ‘allowed’ to eat whatever you want.

There is one specific period in my life that I look back on like that. It was a really intense foodie period where I would spend most of my free time and money on making delicious and time-consuming food. I recall many rainy Saturdays installed in the kitchen bathing in the deliciousness of the bread making process. The tactile pleasure from kneading the dough; the relaxing space I gave myself when it was rising: enjoying a great book, a pot of tea and a plate of cookies (home-made of course!) and then the final, long-awaited pleasure of nibbling on the bread throughout the day, curled up on the sofa with my book; or tearing off pieces for a beautiful spongy accompaniment to a plate of creamy risotto and a glass of wine.

Pizza
Cooked pizza with a wheat crust – another one of my old food rituals I have outgrown

Focaccia bread with it’s glistening jewels of sea salt scattered between juicy slicks of olive oil; rubies of sundried tomatoes and fresh rosemary, scattered on top like fragrant, potent confetti. Or thick slices of moist, chewy potato bread, delicious generously spread with butter, or toasted the next day and stuffed with meat-free ‘bacon’, lettuce, and succulent tomatoes to make the world’s best BLT…

So, what stops me from eating this now? Nothing. Out of choice, my bottom line is that my food needs to be vegan, but apart from that I am ‘allowed’ to eat anything I like. I just need to deal with the consequences of eating food that doesn’t agree with me. Sure, I can spend a rainy day like today in amorous courtship with the wheat flour and yeast. Yes, I can cut into a crusty loaf, and then dip it in olive oil, or spread thickly with dairy-free spread. But these days, I will know – before I even put the bread in my mouth – what it will do to my body (I’m not being purist, I am just rather sensitive to gluten)….and I have finally come to realise that it just isn’t worth it, despite sounding so romantic, and heavenly, and perfectly luxurious.

So what we need to do is to acknowledge that time in our life, and appreciate it for what it was. We need to look to the present and see how we can take the things that we loved from these indulgent sessions and translate them in to food that makes us feel great.

So here is an exercise that I have previously done with other foods, I which I feel I need to do for my beloved bread making days. You too might find helpful:

1.Think of a ‘food ritual’ or dish that you find your self longing for. I, for example, may choose bread baking.

2.Now, write down what exactly you like/miss about it. For example, the actual process that I described above. Waiting for something to cook, the scents spreading through your home as it bakes in the oven, or how it makes you feel homely, secure, relaxed.

3.Write down some ideas for how you can create a similar feeling with food that better serves you. For example, if you want to cut down on drinking wine, you may be delighted to find that by serving a delicious juice or smoothie in a beautiful wine glass can actually give you some of the same feelings, or that by munching on a bunch of grapes when watching a movie is as satisfying as popcorn, as it has the same ‘mindless’ motion of popping food into your mouth.

4. Finally, write down what steps you need to create this and make a point of carrying out the first step this weekend. For example, do you need to buy a beautiful wineglass that makes you feel elegant and special so you can serve yourself a delicious health-giving juice/smoothie? Then that is your first step. Go buy a lovely glass, and then find a nice recipe for juices/smoothies. I personally find that this melon drink is deliciously luxurious and makes me feel like I am sipping on a decadent creamy cocktail.

Creamy Frozen Melon Cocktail
Serves 2

This shake is 100% melon but it’s so creamy it’s hard to believe there is no nut milk in there. Make sure your melons are nice and ripe! (oooh-er!!)

2 C honeydew or cantaloupe melon
1 C frozen honeydew or cantaloupe melon

Blend together and serve in decadent glasses.

I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share your thoughts, or any tips you might have below.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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