Friday, November 9, 2012

Twenty-Two Days of Thanks: Day Nine


What am I thankful for?
  1. Food
Maybe that seems like a silly thing to be grateful for food, but years ago I had a hate relationship with food.  There was no love, just hate.  I only ate because I had to in order to survive, though even that was like an oxymoron to me because I was paranoid about eating.  I thought eating the wrong food would kill me
 
I think you can see why I didn't enjoy eating at all.  To me, it was like a necessary evil, and I spent 15 minutes to half an hour watching the clock after each meal, fearful that my next bite would be my last.  I lie not.  It was that bad.
 
After about a year or so of living like this, I found out that I was food allergy free.  I could eat again!  It still took 6 months or so before I was comfy with the idea of eating just anything, and I still struggle nearly 5 years later with trying to eat anything with fish or seafood in it, and I still avoid soy as much as possible for other reasons.
 
Anyway, I went from a hate relationship with food to a "Oh, I gotta have that!" relationship with food.  I ate everything and anything simply because I could...which was almost as damaging as not eating due to paranoia.  All the weight that I'd lost (over 110 lbs.) started creeping back on, and I was turning unhealthy in a new way.
 
I found that I had to glean what I'd learned from my paranoid days about how food affected me and go from there.  I needed to find a balance between paranoid and glutton.  It wasn't easy, I still struggle, but I'm finding that middle ground (with God's help - yes, I pray about food!), and I'm ever so grateful for it (I've lost around 25 lbs. so far and feel better, too!).
 
I now can eat to enjoy, but I try to only eat when I'm truly hungry and eat as close to natural and whole food as possible.  This doesn't mean I don't eat cake or cookies or ice cream - I'm just a food snob.  As often as possible, I eat only homemade goodies with ingredients that are not processed to death.  I'm not perfect about it, but I'm getting better daily.  It helps that my Fibromyalgia is triggered by processed food and soy, so it's easier to avoid those.
 
Anyway, I say all that to say this: I'm grateful for food because it sustains life, and it is something that can bring pleasure and fellowship.  Each food we eat triggers memories within us.  We've all heard of "comfort food", and we all have favorite meals, but do we ever stop to think why they comfort us or are our favorites?
 
Well, in part, it's because they just taste good!  But the main reason is because they remind us of those we love, those we find comfort in, precious memories...I think you get the picture.
 
Here are some of my favorite "comfort foods":

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling run-down or homesick, homemade chicken noodle soup and a large, warm blanket while cuddled up on the couch does the trick for me.  It's warm and hardy, delicious and salty...Each bite reminds me of mom's comforting hands when I was feverish and ill.  I think it's that memory more than the taste that improves my health, though the taste doesn't hurt anything!


Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie reminds me of Thanksgiving at Granny's and time with family I don't get to see often.  Whenever I taste the sweet, gooey, nutty goodness, her face comes to mind, and I can't help but be nostalgic.  I miss her most this time of year...and making this pie makes me feel close, even when we're far apart.



Mom's Chili
Mom's Chili
My mom would make this a lot when I was a kid, especially in the fall and winter.  It was a cheap, easy meal that could feed a lot.  I make it when I'm missing my mom or in need of that inner warmth chili brings.  It screams "I'm home!" to me.



Peppermint Bark
Peppermint Bark
This is my absolute most favorite candy EVER!  It's so simple and delicious.  I remember the first time I had it at my Aunt Carol's house.  I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  YUM!  It is all things Christmas to me.  It makes me think of large family get-togethers singing carols, opening presents, laughing and playing with cousins and siblings, enjoying conversation, hugs and kisses.  It's a deeply nostalgic confection for me, and I would hate to have Christmas without it.



Butterscotch Rolls
Butterscotch Rolls
My Granny makes Butterscotch Rolls just about every time we see her.  I make them (though not exactly her recipe) for my family on Saturdays when we do a brunch.  They scream of lazy days enjoying family to me.  I think of long talks with Granny as she made the dough, and the laughter that came from being covered with flour.  I think of spreading the dough with butter and the fun of sprinkling cinnamon and sugar.  The anticipation of tasting them...The amazement of someone being able to flip them over onto a cookie sheet without dropping them or burning themselves (I make my hubby do that part - I'm a chicken :) )...  Oh, the wonder of Butterscotch Rolls and the heritage they remind me of!
 
I bet you'll never look at food the same way again after today...At least, I hope not!  It is my hope that you will take the time to stop and think about why you eat the food that you do, why this or that is your "comfort food", why this or that is your favorite.  Look at your "food heritage" and take a moment to be grateful for all the memories it brings!


What's your favorite "comfort food"?
What favorite memories does it bring to mind?
 

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Also, if you have a moment, please stop by my Twenty-Two Days of Thanks page (it's the bottom link in the left sidebar) and leave a comment or link-up a post that talks about something you're thankful for. I'd love to hear from you!

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