Food and Desire
Food! Glorious food!
And, desire – the insidious power of want and attraction. The instigator of “give me that!”
Food and desire form a powerful interplay of body and mind; they can set us up for perceived pleasures or adverse pain.
We all love food.
Each one of us has particular favorites that make us happy just thinking about them.
Commonly, they are linked to particular times and places, what are your top three (3)? Why are they your favorites?
Mine? Strawberries, pancakes and fresh, ahi tuna marinated and seared just right.
Or, conversely, the mere thought of some foods can lead to nausea, cue my reaction to 151 rum. Never again for over 35 years.
Being mindful of this interplay, food and desire commonly divide into two, broad categories: cravings and comfort food.
What foods do u crave, and, what foods bring you comfort? And, ask yourself, why this is so?
At a base level, we commonly associate cravings with the physicality of hunger – the rumble of our stomach calling to be fed, or, the body indicating a nutritional deficiency asking to be addressed, e.g., leg cramps and a lack of potassium.
But, this is not always the case.
According to Dr. Kent Berridge, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan,
“Hunger is an input to the brain’s craving system; it can amplify the craving system.
But the brain’s craving system works a little separate from the hunger system,” says Berridge. “The brain’s reward system is really the brain’s craving system.”
This last sentence is very telling.
When we crave something, our brain is, in essence, rewarding us with emotional fulfillment. Desire runs high within this energy.
Think about it. When something positive and wonderful happens in our life, we commonly want to celebrate by eating our favorite food. We affirm the happy, psychological state with the physiology of consumption.
Compare that, though, to comfort foods.
Comfort foods refer to foods we eat when our general mood is negative; they are items we eat to make us feel better, if only for a short while.
In “Better Moods for Better Eating?: How Mood Influences Food Choice,” Meryl P. Gardner and her team wrote;
“… that individuals often eat to ‘deal with negative emotions such as frustration, fear, boredom, stress, or anxiety.’ These people tend to favor foods that fatty, full of carbohydrates, indulgent, and sweet because these items often give them immediate satisfaction”
Further, I would add that the negative emotion that causes one to eat comfort foods is literally embedding this negativity somewhere within our bodies.
The negativity that is driving consumption is literally the emotion being stored.
I encourage you to think about this the next time a broken heart sees you in front of the television, watching your favorite rom=com and eating a pint of Haggen Dazs.
Food and desire, craving and comfort: our body and mind sure are amazing wonders!
‘Til next time, be happy.