All you need is love. But a little chocolate now & then doesn’t hurt. – Charles Schulz
What does that mean?
So many of my posts have been kind of heavy of late, so let’s try something a little lighter in nature. Chocolate, that wonderful gift from heaven. 😉 OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a chocolate addict and I have absolutely no plans to ever change!
But what about the saying? To me it speaks of a fundamental truth (if you have love, you have everything your emotional side really needs), wrapped in a tasty bit of humor. Which is just what you’d expect from the author of the Charlie Brown comic strip.
For some, my wife included, chocolate is nice, but she’d rather have some flowers with her love – but a little chocolate every now & then – that doesn’t hurt.
Why is chocolate important?
Strictly speaking, I don’t think the chocolate is what is important. The concept of a “comfort food” is really what I’m getting at. For many people, that would be chocolate. If you’re not a raving choc-a-holic, substitute your comfort food here instead. Is it Ratatouille (from the animated movie of the same name) or cheese or pretzels (or chips)? Perhaps it’s chicken and star soup (or some other soup) when you’re feeling a little sickly.
What do you turn to for comfort when you’re down or feeling blue, or a little green (as in ill, not envious)? For me, any of the above would work (although I’d probably go for lasagna over rattatoui, just nobody’s made a movie about lasagna – at least not that I’ve been made aware of).
I have a sweet tooth, a salt tooth, a fat tooth and a chocolate tooth. That’s 4 major food groups all at once! Not really, but it’s fun to think about, at least for me. Sorry to the super-healthy eaters who are now nauseated.
Where can I apply this in my life?
There are many ways to change your state. Some people visualize, others talk to themselves or listen to music, and others respond to a change in their physical position. These are (in order) visual, audio and kinesthetic cues to the central nervous system, therefore to the body and mind. Two other powerful cues, two of the most basic in the nervous system are the olfactory and gustatory cues (smell/scent and taste). The last two are what we are looking at for comfort food.
Altering your mood with a scent? You might not think about it that way, but have you ever had someone’s scent attract your attention? Perfume and cologne are very lucrative business, and it works. How about being suddenly hungry when you smell a favored spice or food? Or perhaps you smelled your favorite dish (or least favorite – pickled herring, anyone?). Did that change your mood? Almost certainly.
How about with a taste, can that change your mood. Perhaps you don’t like ice-cream or frozen yogurt, but I can’t eat any and still be mad. The combination of taste and cold flood me with happy memories and associations to happiness and I just (literally and figuratively) chill.
So, where do we go from here? Let’s get out a pencil and paper and write down a couple of your favorite scents and tastes. Try to get some scents from the different times of day (dew on grass is generally only available in the morning, as an example). If donuts are a great pick-me-up, but not on the diet, can you drive past a Krispy Kreme and feel better, or does smelling and not tasting make you even grumpier?
Try to find some foods you can eat in moderation. Can you really order just one donut? I really don’t know! Now think about a favorite morning snack (I like strawberries or a fruit smoothie). Lunch time, what tastes or smells good? Now think about an afternoon snack (I like Oreos or pretzels). Dinner and dessert – what tastes and smells good?
Once again, we have a list. Now what? Next time you’re in the need of a pick-me-up, or a change of state (say after a fight or a rough time at work), try something from the list. Perhaps a scent will suffice, or perhaps you love the act of mastication (read it carefully, look it up if need be) and want to satisfy yourself that way.
Just be sure to keep track of the calories and not go crazy. A scoop of Häagen-Dazs is OK, but please try not to eat a quart a day, unless you’re training for a marathon or triathlon on a daily basis! Remember: weight gain is all about the difference between calories in and calories out.
Now, let’s make another list. Pretty much everybody gets a cold now and then. Some even get the flu every once in a while. Goodness, just typing that made me feel vaguely ill. So it’s time for another list. What are the foods that make you feel better when you aren’t feeling well?
Since there are different kinds of un-well, there will probably be several different kinds of food, perhaps quite different in nature. Tormented throat, sickly stomach, nasal nastiness, flashes of fever, or all-over aches, each will likely have a special food or foods. Not that I would think they necessarily have any actual medicinal value, but they seem to make the dis-ease easier to put up with by lifting your spirits and taking your mind off the symptoms.
I don’t know about you, but I keep a few of these on hand, as the last thing you want to do when you feel like you are dying is to run out to the store (and the last thing the store wants is a sneezing, coughing zombie staggering thru their store searching for soup – cream of brains, I’d guess).
Love and comfort food, what more could you ask for? Oh, right, a faithful dog and his faithful bird companion.
From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/charlesms189865.html
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography