I’ve spent the past few months filling my freezer with wholesome, tasty food for my post surgery recovery time. I’ve really enjoyed cooking for myself, and seeing my freezer fill up with some of my favorite things to eat. Something unexpected has happened though…I’ve been surprised at how much I look forward to eating what I’ve made.
For many years, food was the center of my life (I’ve often joked that I like it so much it’s not only my hobby, I made it my career too). Part of it was because I was raised that way…upon finishing dinner tonight, we would chat about what to have for dinner tomorrow. But the bigger part of it is that I’m a food addict. Many (most?) people have some sort of drug they use to self medicate-something they can turn to when they’re sad, stressed, anxious, depressed, lonely… whatever it is they feel that they don’t want to feel. For me that drug is food. It’s always there; it’s cheap, legal, easy to get…the perfect friend to help get me through a crisis…or just through an ordinary Tuesday.
I looked forward to eating. It had to be a BIG EVENT…something would make me happy, and fulfill me, not just fill me. Every bite of every meal had to be delicious, exciting, like that first bite of chocolate (or syringe of heroin). Unfortunately, thinking that every bite has to be special meant that no bite was special. I was just chasing the idea that food could/would take away all my woes and make me happy…but all it left me was disappointed & unfulfilled (well, and fat…).
By starting to cook for myself, I’ve come to appreciate how wonderful simple, homemade food can be. A baked sweet potato topped with spicy black beans (simmered with caramelized onions, tomatoes & green chiles), and melted seriously sharp cheddar cheese is a go-to, quick, easy, delicious meal that I look forward to. Or those same beans over brown rice with diced avocado & salsa. Yum! By being mindful of what I’m eating, and enjoying the simplicity of good food, I no longer crave the ‘excitement’ of food. Going out to eat is a rare occurrence…something I’m forced to do because I don’t have time to cook, rather than what I do every meal because it’s more ‘exciting’.
By appreciating simple food, I once more get to enjoy a super special treat. I once more get to feel. Sometimes happy, joyful, blessed…sometimes sad, lonely & scared. But I feel…that’s the important thing.