Now that fall has arrived, and we’re inching closer to a full-blown Alberta winter (brrr), thoughts of my favourite comfort foods fill my mind. These foods often trigger positive emotions and fond memories, evoking nostalgia, warmth, and happiness. Unfortunately, in today’s world, many people are turning away from their comfort foods for various reasons, such as managing their weight, self-imposed dietary restrictions, pursuing long-term fitness goals, succumbing to social pressures, and many more. While some of these reasons are beyond our control, such as allergies, financial constraints, or health concerns, many are within our power to change.
Often, people limit themselves when it comes to enjoying the foods that bring back those cherished memories. Even when they indulge in comfort foods, it can be a somewhat negative experience, especially if those foods are low in nutrients or are what some might call “empty calories.” So, even if you’re technically “allowing” yourself to have that comfort food, are you truly enjoying it?
So, why should we enjoy the foods that hold a special place in our hearts, the ones we’ve grown up loving? Consuming comfort foods can fulfill a meaningful role in our lives, offering emotional sustenance and solace during tough or stressful moments. Even if these foods are categorized as low in nutrient density, meaning they provide few essential nutrients, it’s okay to enjoy them. However, keep in mind that moderation is crucial for maintaining a balanced life. Here are a few advantages of enjoying your comfort foods:
1. Boosting your emotional well-being: As mentioned before, comfort foods are frequently linked to positive emotions and cherished memories. Consuming them can evoke sentiments of nostalgia, coziness, and happiness. Enjoying comfort foods can elevate your mood and offer emotional solace during difficult times.
2. Alleviate stress: Specific comfort foods, such as a comforting bowl of soup or a bit of chocolate, can stimulate the release of endorphins, natural mood enhancers. They can assist in alleviating stress and anxiety, promoting feelings of relaxation and ease.
3. Strengthening cultural and social connections: Comfort foods frequently hold a strong connection to our cultural and social roots. Sharing these dishes with loved ones can foster a sense of connection and inclusion, nurturing relationships and fortifying ties.
4. Master the art of moderation and attain equilibrium: Striking a balance between enjoying comfort foods and adhering to a predominantly nutrient-rich diet is vital. Consuming comfort foods with limited nutrient content, like a bag of gummy candy, in moderation can prevent excessive consumption and potential health concerns while still enjoying there emotional advantages. While it’s essential to appreciate comfort foods, it’s equally critical not to solely depend on them for emotional support. Practicing moderation and mindfulness can assist in cultivating a healthy relationship with these foods.
5. Improve your sensory pleasure: Comfort foods often have appealing textures, flavours, and aromas that can provide sensory pleasure. Enjoying these sensory experiences can be comforting and enjoyable.
6. Elevating your self-care: Indulging in a beloved comfort food can serve as an act of self-care. It allows you to pause, unwind, and relish something you cherish, ultimately enhancing your overall well-being.
7. Enhance your sense of stability and routine: Amid periods of turmoil or transition, adhering to familiar foods and established routines can provide a feeling of steadiness and reassurance. Comfort foods can serve as a reassuring anchor during uncertain moments.
Ultimately, when it comes to your food choices, you have the most profound insight into what nurtures your mental and physical well-being. Keep in mind that attaining balance is essential in all aspects of life. As your balance changes, so does how you nourish your body, evolving with shifting surroundings. You can enjoy your favourite foods without compromising your health and well-being by continually seeking that balance.
I hope that discussing my perspective on enjoying comfort foods has ignited a dialogue within you, perhaps with others, and has given you even more reasons to truly enjoy the food you love!
Brianna Cabel, LPN
Licensed Practical Nurse
I’ve been closely involved with the Alberta healthcare system for the past eight years. I began my journey as a housekeeper at the Red Deer Hospital, progressed through various administrative positions, and eventually realized my desire for further growth; this led me to pursue a nursing degree at Red Deer Polytechnic, resulting in my graduation as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2022.
I came to a realization quite early in my nursing program that I was drawn to a holistic approach to working with individuals. Moreover, I aspired to shift people’s perspectives from merely managing symptoms to embracing preventative health practices. Because of this viewpoint, I am beyond thrilled to be given the chance to join Brianne and her team at The Holistic RN & Company. Here, I am empowered to shape my career not only towards preventive health but also holistic well-being.
My nursing background involves working with individuals with substance abuse and complex mental health concerns. This means dealing with various problems that come with these struggles, such as losing one’s sense of self, severed relationships, and difficulties finding and using the resources needed to lead a healthy, independent life. Being in this field has given me time with clients to truly hear their stories, thoughts, and disparities, fueling my drive to bridge the gap between Western medicine and holistic care.