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Eating During Stressful Times

Hey everyone. How are you? I’m hoping you are all hanging in there as I am sure most everyone’s lives are looking pretty different than usual at this time. I have put some of my thoughts as they come in to Instagram posts over the past week or so including being mindful of social media consumption, revisiting or reviewing intentions for physical activity, and identifying how anxiety looks/feels in your body. Hop over to these linked posts if they seem applicable to you as I try to elaborate my thoughts a bit more in the captions.

There is another topic that is near and dear to my heart and seemed big enough to warrant a blog post versus an Instagram post. Simply put this post is about eating. Eating may be more difficult or feel abnormal for you right now, and that is OK. But I am here to say you know what is not OK? Acknowledging that and not continuing to nourish yourself in spite of those things.

The great thing about this post is I figure anyone can benefit from it - whether you’re somewhere on the spectrum of eating disorder/disordered eating work and/or recovery, on an Intuitive Eating journey, feeling stressed or anxious which is impacting eating, or with limited accessibility to food. I am hoping somewhere within the list something can hit home for you and make life seem a bit easier during these trying times.

1.) Don’t stress about following recipes at this time if that is not helpful for you. You may see a lot of folks with more time on their hands baking homemade bread or following elaborate recipes on social media. If that is fun for you, by all means, bakers gotta bake! However if cooking/baking stresses you out or would not be something satisfying, don’t do it. Cook, bake, microwave, defrost, etc whatever you will savor and have accessibility to.

2.) If you are someone who likes baking and/or trying new recipes in your spare time, now is a great time to pull out cookbooks you might have abandoned on the bookshelf or recipes you have saved on Pinterest, and experiment with recipes to potentially introduce some new flavors and dishes into your repertoire. Another way to approach this? If you have a favorite restaurant/dish from a restaurant that may not be open at the moment, try finding a “copycat” recipe online to recreate.

3.) Revisit old favorite recipes. I don’t care if they were a favorite from when you were 5 years old, make them! If you have any favorite holiday related recipes, make them now too. Why save a favorite recipe for a once a year holiday when it can be just as tasty and pleasurable now?

4.) Comfort foods. They are called comfort food for a reason. It doesn’t matter what kind of food this may be for you, eat it and enjoy it.

5.) Break out of the norm. Try breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast or make a cheese board for lunch with items you have on hand for a few ideas. It doesn’t have to be typical to be nourishing.

6.) Reach out for support. If eating is going to be hard for you no matter how you look at it, mealtime support may be necessary. If you are meeting with your therapist or Registered Dietitian (RD) virtually now, see if that is a service they could offer. Or identify a family member or friend in your life who you could call or FaceTime during a meal for added support. Or look to this great resource, which is providing mealtime support from two RDs.

7.) Utilize tools in your kitchen that might be normally forgotten about. If you are home now more than usual, it may be a great time to use a Crockpot or slow cooker that you can “set it and forget it” for a few hours but still be home to monitor. Some other tools that can make cooking and eating easier and/or more pleasurable include an Air Fryer, breadmaker, pasta maker, InstantPot, blender, and many many more!

8.) Ask friends and family to send you a few of their favorite recipes. If you feel like your usual go-to options feel stagnant, it is time to put some feelers out!

9.) If you are at home with others, suggest a cook off reminiscent of the Food Network show, Chopped. If you live alone, reach out to friends or family and try to make it happen virtually. Everyone needs to use the same mystery ingredients that you all have on hand to come up with something creative!

10.) Check out the app/website, Supercook, which allows you to input whatever you have in your fridge/pantry and it spits out recipes that you can make with only what you actually have at home (warning - along with recipes, nutrition facts are shown so if this is triggering for you, I do not recommend this idea).

Now is also a great time to support local restaurants that are most likely hurting during this time as well. A lot of places are offering touchless delivery or pick-up so you can have some favorites at home during this time. Presently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being linked to transmission of COVID-19.

Whether all ten or even just one idea from above helps you out, I am glad. I am going to reference a quote I shared on an Instagram post recently from the lovely Brené Brown, “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” However showing up for yourself looks for you this week, I hope you are able to be brave and do it; sending you and your loved ones safety, kindness, and health.

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