Preparation and eating can both bring comfort

With cooler temperatures and shorter days, clients turn to food to comfort them after a busy day, lack of sleep, or stressful day. However, instead of these foods bringing comfort and security, I hear stories of guilt and shame about having eaten them.

It is sad that people feel this way about the food they eat. Instead of finding real comfort, they are dealing with feelings of guilt and shame. 

The comfort foods my clients refer to are generally processed and packaged. These foods often come loaded with excess sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, which often lead to negative feelings.  

Instead of focusing on the negative feelings associated with processed comfort foods, look at your options. You can still find that comfort and security in a different, simple, realistic way.  

As today’s world never stops, we often think comfort food should be ready instantly. However, we forget that real comfort food, which we usually associate with our childhood, takes time to prepare, but this does not mean you need to spend hours in the kitchen. Comfort food should delight our senses without leaving you feeling heavy and loaded.  

Depending on your background and culture, comfort foods will vary and come in different flavours and textures. The value in these foods is not the label itself but the fact that they will bring you comfort when you need it. Whether a simple dessert, your favourite sandwich, or a fruit smoothie, it is all about the food that will leave you feeling happy and comforted. 

Comfort foods can also be associated with family reunions, a special occasion, or they may remind us of a loved one or a time when life was a little slower. These comfort foods not only bring us warmth and comfort, but they take us to a place of nostalgia, and for a time, we can let go of the daily worries and concerns that we are dealing with and instead allow our taste buds and other senses to remind us of the important people in our lives and the good times that we had.  

As with many aspects of life, it is in the time and preparation of the food that we show our loved ones how much we care and that they matter. Therefore, taking time to prepare comfort food is a form of self-care that is important during challenging times.  

When you take the time to prepare soothing foods, you realize that the comfort is not only in the pleasure derived from eating but also in the time it takes to prepare them; as with other aspects of life, it is not always about the destination but the journey to get there.  

Susan Alsembach is a nurse and registered holistic nutritionist. For more information about the services she provides, visit her website

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