Making a case for emotional eating

Up-front warning: I’m stepping atop my soapbox! But know that it’s simply to air my personal beliefs and opinions. Nobody has to agree or comply with them. 

This post will likely be a bit wordier than most, but I’ll try to throw in a few luscious (I hope) photos and descriptions to help you make it through the verbiage.

I’m guessing most diet “experts” would agree that emotional eating is bad. I beg to differ.

Overall, I believe I’m pretty healthy. (Of course, I could always stand to lose a few pounds.) And my relationship with food is inextricably tied to emotions.

I recognize that some people truly do have serious problems with food that relate to their emotions, and eat (and/or purge) to mask or bury troublesome feelings or traumas, or otherwise postpone dealing with them. It makes me very sad for them. And it makes me thank my lucky stars for my own food sensibilities.

But no matter what someone’s relationship with food is like, I don’t necessarily believe that trying to completely separate emotions from eating is the whole answer. What and how much we eat also play mighty big roles in our nation’s obesity epidemic.

I would be a very sad Terry indeed if I followed the oft-given advice, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”

Both halves of that directive are extreme, in my opinion. There’s a happy medium in which I dwell.

As if you couldn’t tell, I love food. I derive much happiness from seeking it out, buying it, preparing it and enjoying it, whether all by myself or with loved ones. Food enhances and supplements my emotions. For instance …

Celebrations

A recent get-together for my good friend Connie’s very happy birthday was wonderful not only because of our hour and a half together, but by the excellent fare we shared during that time: Market’s zucchini and crookneck squash latkes, fresh out of the saute pan crispy-edged and moist, accented with lemony and luscious avocado cream. (They’re up for some type of best-dish award, according to our server.) And an oh-so-rich-and-comforting ground lamb tagine served in a bowl with creamy grits. (What made the entree taste even better was the Friday lunch special $5 price tag.)

Our outing ended sweetly with two treats each from Escazu. Mine were a mascarpone truffle, and an amaretto and garam masala truffle. The mascarpone one wasn’t at all what I expected (white, sweet, cheesy middle perhaps coated in white chocolate), and was my hands-down favorite of the two. The mascarpone was blended into the chocolate ganache center, and the outside of the truffle was coated in crunchy toffee-like crumbs.

I can’t imagine birthdays — or many social celebrations — without good food. A travesty!

Passing time pleasantly

Anyone who knows me well understands that I am not  a shopper. In fact, visiting purveyors of food and the tools used to prepare it is about the only shopping I enjoy. So now that spring is solidly here and all of the little local farmers markets are up and running, I cannot describe the bliss I experience wandering and perusing and choosing from among the delightful, colorful, different-every-week foodstuffs.

What you see here was last week’s bounty from the Midtown market. Everything’s been delicious — the sugar snaps sweet enough to match their name, and the radishes hot-and-spicy (their grocery store counterparts seem have no heat these days).

I so look forward to my Saturday mornings at market.

Al fresco delights

Enjoying the great outdoors is even nicer when supping al fresco. Restaurants know how much we love it, so cafe tables abound on sidewalks and patios. In fact, I had dinner outside tonight with a friend.

From elaborate to simple meals, I love eating outdoors. I look forward equally as much to a peanut butter and honey sandwich and an apple eaten trailside on a solo hike as I do to an elaborate gourmet group picnic on the art museum’s lawn during an evening concert.

Cooking for one 

I can’t tell you how surprised many people are that I still cook most nights “just” for myself. But how better to satisfy my taste preferences and health requirements?

Plus, after a stressful day at work, I find it very soothing to chop and mix and saute fresh, whole foods. I even light a candle when I sit down at my dining room table.

Breaking bad … but good

Do I always eat fresh, whole foods? Of course not. You’ve seen evidence of my weaknesses in this space.

But more often than not I try to eat the good stuff, even when I splurge.

Sure, I might scarf down a cupcake when I’m stressed or sad or just having cravings. Or I might eat one just because I love them so much it makes me happy.

But you can believe it’ll be a cupcake made with real butter and milk and eggs and natural ingredients — not a processed Frankenstein one full of scary things like partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup and chemical preservatives whose names I can’t pronounce.

That’s enough proselytizing for tonight. I’m stepping down from the soapbox. (But feel free to message me if you’d like a sermon on some of the other food trends that drive me crazy, like the supposedly almighty coconut water and pomegranate juice, Paleo diet, “wheat belly” issues, etc. Ha!)

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About atarheeltastes

I'm a passionate foodie who started this "temporary" blog during a gustatory tour of Tuscany. I decided to continue, since I love to dream about, plan for, prepare, eat and write about food!
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