Every once and a while, we just have bad days. Whether it’s a small series of crappy events, usually involving either toddlers or work, or a catastrophic single event, like a breakup with your superhot boyfriend who knew how to do that special move that nobody else will ever be able to replicate, we all have days where we just need lash out…in the form of stuffing our tearful/wincing/frown-lined faces.
I figured this was a common phenomenon, and so last time I had a stress breakdown (involving a two year old, a tube of mascara, and some serious carpet art), I asked the internet what kind of food would be best medium for me to eat my feelings.
Do you know what the internet told me? It said helpful things like (from one noted womens’ magazine) “Next time you’re stressed, grab a piece of fruit!”
Grab a piece of fruit, my ass. When I’m stressed or sad or pissed off or worried, nothing about an apple is going to cut it, unless I’m using that apple as a projectile to hurl through a large window in rage.
Once I calmed down with a few handfuls of stale microwave popcorn, I decided that the internet had really missed the boat on this one. I am here to fill that void with a comprehensive Curvy Girl Guide to Eating Our Feelings.
Feeling #1: Anxiety
–When you’re worried about something, and it’s eating away at your nerves, I find the soothing, methodic crunch of dry, sugary cereal, eaten by hand, from the box, like a starving wolverine, really does the trick. Look– if you’re really that worried, you’re going to be grinding your teeth together like a PSA for methamphetamines unless there’s something there to prevent hot molar-on-molar action. Some of my go-to favorites are Cinnamon Toast Crunch (cinnamon is soothing, and the little rectangles are a satisfying shape for manipulating between your teeth) and Apple Jacks (the little green nubbins on the orange circles can be individually worried off of the ring for added satisfaction).
Feeling #2: Anger
–Put down the apple. Don’t throw the apple. I find a two-part approach to eating anger is really necessary if you want to avoid punching someone in the throat and/or writing a letter that may include some pretty harsh language. Part A) Jerky. Yeah, I said it. Jerky is a protein packed in a way to be actually tearing into flesh with your teeth, and it’s dehydrated enough to require some energy and jaw work to get to the point where you can swallow it. Part B) Ice Cream. Nothing soothes hot rage like cold cream and sugar, and honestly after the workout you just gave your face by chewing jerky, the cold will also soothe any soreness. Win-win.
Feeling #3: Sadness
–When tears are pouring down your face, the best thing you can do is make sure that they mingle with and complement your chosen feelings snack. I love chicken soup for sadness. Slurping the noodles competes with the loud snot-sucking noises I make at regular intervals when sobbing, and the saltiness of the tears will blend into your soup without causing unpalatable flavor changes. I like that the soup is wet enough to hydrate that gummy feeling your mouth gets when it’s all hiccupy with grief, and the bonus is that the liquid can slip through the knot in your throat. Chicken soup for the soul, chicken soup for the win. DO NOT attempt this snack if you’re heaving with sobs. You’ll only drop scalding liquid on your lady junk. Wait until your hand is steady enough to hold a spoon.
Feeling #4: Loneliness
–If your friends are all on vacation without you, and it’s been a solid six weeks since a man gazed at you in a carnal way, you might start feeling lonely. When that emotion kicks in, the best thing you can do is put your bottle of Mrs. Butterworth on the counter, and carry on a meaningful dialogue with her while you make a batch of brownies from a box. The boxed kind is important, because it requires little effort. Don’t do anything that involves a double boiler or measuring flour when you’re lonely. That’s just a recipe (HA!) for disaster. When the brownies are removed from the oven to cool, skip the “cooling” step and put them on a hot pad on your lap. Eat them with a spoon, while they’re still warm and gooey. Warm, chocolate carbohydrates are essentially a hug for your insides, and the chocolate will boost endorphins just like sex would.
Feeling #5: Boredom
–Being bored or blah makes us crave stimulation. Any kind of stimulation. Flavor stimulation and the manual act of putting food into our mouths and chewing counts as very pleasurable stimulation, so it’s no wonder that boredom eating is such a common phenomenon. I say we be more mindful about it, and eat boredom food with a purpose. Absentmindedly picking at the damp cheddar bunnies your child left on the coffee table is both disgusting and worthless. Your mind isn’t getting any less bored, and also your calorie count can go through the roof without having interested you in the slightest. Instead, I submit that the very best cure for boredom eating is the layer cake. Think about it. It’s visually interesting, with its brightly colored decorations and perfectly executed striations of frosting, cake, and luscious fillings. It’s texturally interesting, because frosting, cake, and filling are all different weights and consistencies. And dude. It’s cake. Even bad cake is still cake (unless we’re talking canned frosting, which is an abomination). It’s the perfect snack. A beautiful, geometric pillar of sugar and fat arriving to your plate to make your life interesting again.
The human psyche is a complex, multi-faceted thing. Fortunately, so is the human pantry. How do you like to eat those emotions?
image courtesy Jonathan Ruchti