comfort food, sez who?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Didoe, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Didoe

    Didoe New Member

    can anyone tell me why it is that non overweight people can eat foods that evoke memories of family, comfort, closeness and that food has become fashionable? meatloaf w/mashed potatos, mac and cheez, stews, turkey and fixins...pie, lemon bars, devils food...you get the picture...diners and their big portions of 'home style' comfort foods are the rage and this was going on way before the economy officially went south

    so the quetion is, why is comfort food an excepted and well regarded choice for society and why is it when depressed people turn to 'comfort food' its regarded as a crime? we grow up in cultures where food=closeness, love and way of speaking when words arent enough.

    my mother didnt allow us to celebrate birthdays, no cake, no parties, no gifts...it was another way of her pretending me and sister didnt exist. i dont know what happened to me as a tiny tiny child but its only in the last few weeks its come to hit me hard that i've hoarded food since early childhood, i've stolen food when visiting people's homes as a child, even now i cringe if i have to eat in public...my entire life seems to revolve around menus and implementing them and if implremented, finding time after all the long days, tension, loneliness in making the setting right to eat them...and as i become sicker and in more pain, even those so called 'comfort foods' are not comforting.

    why is it when we do use food for comfort, its an unacceptable form of self nurturing? is it
    any sicker than other body obsessions as slice/dice plastic surgery for eternal youth or six pack abs or the guilt cycle for eating most foods? Is self nurturing with comfort feeding worse than using antidepressants and anti anxiety meds?
  2. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I think each decade things really change. We get out of the 70's style, food and clothes into the 80's style, food and clothes. And what's in is then out.

    Many of the comfort foods are now found to be not the healthiest and taken in limited quantities are okay, but eaten all the time we're told are just not healthy for us. We're told about diabetes and coronary problems from not eating properly. Whereas taking antidepressants is completely different and can help us with depression. As yet, there are no long term harmful side effects determined, but the potential to help with depression is there. But medication is one part of depression and just works on the symptoms, it is we that have to dedicate to working on ourselves to therapy or whatever to get to the bottom of the depression, work on the issues involved in the depression, and work on tools to use in the future when our depression gets overwhelming.
  3. stick2013

    stick2013 Member

    Found this article and thought I would post it....It kind of explains food and depression, and why we crave certain foods, and what they do for the brain......

    I say....Eat and enjoy!!!!!!

    The human body functions amazingly well regardless of how we actually take care of ourselves. There are built-in mechanisms that control the acidity of the stomach and various fluids. Another mechanism controls blood pressure, and another regulates the amount of glucose allowed in the blood stream, regardless of the food eaten. Other mechanisms ensure that enough calcium is present in the blood to participate in nerve transmission and heart beat regulation. When these mechanisms begin to malfunction, whether from age, disease, injury, or poor diet and other lifestyle factors, we see high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

    While many people understand the connection between nutrition and a physical disease state, fewer people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression. Depression is more typically thought of as strictly emotional or biochemical. Nutrition, however, can play a key role, both in the onset, severity, and duration of depression, including daily mood swings. Many of the same food patterns that precede depression are the same food patterns that occur during depression. These patterns may include skipping meals, poor appetite, and a desire for sweets. People who follow extremely low carbohydrate diets also run the risk of feeling depressed or blue, because the brain chemicals that promote a feeling of well-being, tryptophan and serotonin, are triggered by carbohydrate rich foods. Anti-depressant drugs like Prozac also target serotonin production.

    How and which carbohydrates affect mood and depression is not very clear. And, some people tend to be more sensitive to the quality and quantity of carbohydrates eaten. However, some general guidelines will fit for most people. Refined carbohydrates, primarily sugar and sugary foods, tend to provide immediate, but temporary relief. Once the benefit is gone, you may go looking for more foods to bring up your mood and energy level. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, cereals, breads, pastas, and fruits and vegetables, are more likely to supply a moderate, but lasting effect on brain chemistry, mood, and energy level.

    Depression is also linked to a lack of certain vitamins, especially the B vitamins which are used in nervous system function. Although vitamin B6 deficiency is rare in the United States, many women do not get enough in their diets. A less than adequate intake may produce subtle changes in mood, even before a deficiency could develop. B6 also plays a role in the brain chemical production of serotonin. Studies show that people who are depressed have low levels of B6 and serotonin. Certain drugs, such as hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, and anti-tuberculous medication can interfere with the body's use of B6, creating a borderline deficiency.

    Other B vitamins also participate in mental health. Folic acid deficiency can cause personality change and depression. Vitamin B12, at just marginally low levels can contribute to depression and memory problems. Folic acid deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the United States. Not only is it easily destroyed by cooking, but is most abundant in leafy green vegetables- an often underconsumed food group. As we age, vitamin B12 may not be absorbed as readily, even if the recommended daily requirement is met through the diet.
    Minerals that play a role in the development or prevention of depression, irritability, and mood swings include calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

    The bottom line is that food plays a key role in maintaining mental health. Foods to eliminate or eat in moderation include sugar and sugary foods, and caffeine. Get into the habit of eating at least three times a day, including breakfast, replace sweets with fruit and whole grain carbohydrates, eat lean sources of protein several times a day, and drink plenty of water. Focus on a well-balanced diet, including plenty of leafy greens for folic acid, and bananas, avocado, chicken, greens, and whole grains for B6. If you're concerned about getting enough of some of the key nutrients, consult your physician or dietitian before supplementing.
  4. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    I think that your mom's selfish limit of comfort food and lack of celebrations during your childhood for you and your sister has changed your perception of comfort foods in the here and now. And I could ABSOLUTELY understand that. How could it not?

    Therefore, you now tune in to the so-called good part of comfort foods---how it brings families together, big cozy dinners, etc.

    Interestingly, I tune in to the "bad" part of comfort foods. A medicine I took about ten years ago greatly contributed to me gaining 60 pounds! It really slowed my metabolism down. I was gradually able to lose the weight, but it wasn't easy!

    During that time and since then I tune in to news articles online and on TV that show people overweight from eating high fat comfort foods---pretty much going against the "high fashion" concept of comfort foods that you speak of. In fact, the information I seem to tune into is the exact opposite of what you're tuning into. The articles speak of the dangers of obesity, eating the wrong foods, etc. and how this greatly increases the risk of several diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, etc.

    So, when I see your phrases of "well-regarded choice" and "in-fashion", it doesn't completely ring true for me. (Have you seen the show "Biggest Loser"?) On the other hand, you do see all these cooking shows, with people gathering around the table for big meals eating unhealthy food, which makes no sense at all. What the heck? The mixed messaging in our country surrounding food is ridiculous. No wonder our country has an obesity epidemic!!

    Growing up, I remember a diet center in my home town being located directly next door to our town's most delicious ice cream shop. Talk about temptation!!

    Take care and have a happy/heathy day,

    Erika


    [This Message was Edited on 02/03/2009]