Wellness Moment: Comfort Food
The food group that Health Canada forgot ...
Kudos to Health Canada for our new Food Guide for what to eat, what to avoid and the reminder it's not only what we eat, but how that matters. Food fosters connection with friends and family and between cultures and generations. And we know connections help keep us healthy. It's very sound advice. But with all due respect to the professionals, we think there's a food group missing: Comfort Food.
Now before you automatically think calories, cholesterol and guilt, let's take a closer look. Webster's defines comfort food as "food prepared in a traditional way ... with nostalgic or sentimental appeal". Psychologists tell us it can be any food we associate with happy occasions, fond memories, and feeling cared for and connected. And those positive feelings cheer us up and ward off stress.
So here’s a recipe for winter wellness. Take a moment to let your mind wander. What’s your favourite comfort food, meal or memory? Fresh peaches that remind you of summer holidays, your mom’s roast chicken, or the cookies you bake with your kids. Maybe it’s not home-cooking. It could be tapas in a café with friends or take-out that lets you trade kitchen time for downtime. It’s the food with a positive association, from last weekend or long ago, a celebration or a simple tradition. And if your food of choice conflicts with your regular eating goals, not a problem. The magic is that you don’t have to actually eat comfort food (although why not?). You can enjoy the memories without taking a bite.
If this Moment leads you to host a spontaneous pot-luck, make soup or make reservations, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. You’ll have taken a healthy step just by savouring positive thoughts.