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Emotional Eating: Fridge, a Tranquilizers' Treasure Chest: A Satire

Val isn't playing life coach by sharing some useful ideas gathered over 7 decades of life experience and hundreds of books on human nature.

emotional-eating-fridge-a-tranquilizer-treasure-chest

Whatever the situation, the answer is not in the fridge.

-- Karen Gibbs

Dr. Fridge, PhD

I think I am not reporting anything new here -- but rather reminding all those who don't mind being reminded about the fact of so many people using their fridge as the cheapest and always available shrink.

Ever since I took upon myself to do our grocery shopping, I get amused -- not in a mean sense, just having my funny-bone tickled -- while standing in the lineup and casually glancing at people's shopping carts and matching what I see with their physiques.

Almost regularly I notice all kind of treats, some that I never knew existed, explaining that spare tire around their waist, while everything above and behind being a match to it.

As I am trying to make all that observing as discrete as possible, I also notice many of such evident emotional eaters fretting and watching those in their immediate proximity. Somehow that reminds me of squirrels and some other animals at their feeding time, as they are watchful for other hungry animals around them, as if they might grab their food, or they might even become their food.

I don't know if it's something instinctual that people display while "gathering/hunting" their food -- but it certainly looks like that to my ever inquisitive eyes.

Emotional eaters have developed that special sentiment for their food, as to them it's not merely a physiological necessity, but also a tranquilizer of a sort.

Indeed, whether we are talking about boredom, loneliness, anger, worry, guilt, sadness -- or anything else from that crappy emotional repertoire -- emotional eaters are making sure that there is always something in their fridge for a quick emotional fix.

Call it silly if you wish, but even sillier are those who are not overeating, but being in a pretty much constant stress, just feeling good by knowing that the fridge is loaded with stuff that they may even never eat, but "it's there and available". To them it's the sense of security; just like to a millionaire's overactive amygdala with its survival instinct, all that money that he will never use, provides a needed sense of security with amassed means of survival.

Ever went to a dentist with a toothache, and the pain miraculously stopped on your way there? That's about the same trick that the mind plays on people -- knowing that the dentist will fix it removes the pain in advance.

Likewise, those slim and stressed out human specimens just love having their fix available in the fridge -- for just in case. They may open the fridge and take out some little thing, "knowing that the high-dose, high-octane sedating crap is abundant there".

Yes, we are some funny creatures, and it's all right to be funny, I guess, otherwise we wouldn't stay that way.

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Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign that something is eating us.

-- Peter de Vries

The Very Act of Using Our Digestive Machinery Does It

Even the act of eating helps to lull us into a sedated state.

Firstly, digestion takes up enormous amounts of our daily available energy, stealing it from those lousy emotions, dulling them. Remember that blessed feeling after the Thanksgiving dinner? O.K., an additional effect is present there, because turkey meat has plenty of amino acid l-tryptophan, which is a precursor of serotonin, which is our "feel-good" neurotransmitter.

For a longest time I had thought how that precious serotonin was produced by brain; well it is, but only about 20%, whereas some 80% of it is produced in guts. Who would ever think that those divine emotions of ecstasy stem from our body's sewer system. Hmm, our Maker certainly had a sense of humor -- in more than one way, creating us.

Certainly not much of a celestial advertisement -- if he really created us in his own image.

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But, back to our emotional eaters -- even chewing helps there, as it relaxes the fight/flight response through relaxing our jaws, which are not only suggestive of eating, but also -- biting.

So much fun can be derived from observing the people using their digestive machinery for de-stressing themselves.

Hey, should I also mention the pacifying effect so obvious at babies, who will suck and chew on that rubber thing and fall asleep.

There are good and bad emotional eaters -- those who know that some foods make them more sensitized, so they smartly opt for those proven tranquilizing ones. And yes, there are those who eat for the quantity effect -- staying hungry, because their food just makes them more pissed, so they have to eat more, and more.

Talking about overweight variety...

Indeed, many folks eat a lot to feel better, because of the mentioned effect of digestion stealing much energy from the available lot and dulling somewhat those lousy emotions.

But such eaters may realize, or they may not, that the more they eat, the hungrier they are -- or should I say "hangrier" they are.

They are not like those smarter ones, who must have intuitionally tested foods that succeeded at making them relaxed, so they don't need much of it.

Thus, even though they may feel heavier, and somewhat drowsy, that effect may wear off due to the hypoglycemic effect. Namely, when we munch on carbs, they will momentarily raise our blood sugar and make us feel better, only to drop that mood as soon as the sugar drops due to the insulin response to excess sugar.

So they feel like crap, which calls for another fix -- you guessed -- in a vicious cycle perpetuating itself.

So they end up emotionally tired rather than relaxed.

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My mantra became: "Face your stuff; don't stuff your face."

-- Renee Jones

It's the Quality, Not the Quantity That Makes the Difference

I am galaxies away from playing anybody's dietician, so let me just talk a little about my own treatment of food. O.K., when I say "talk", some of you already know that I meant "brag" -- so bear with me, grasshoppers, and learn a thing or two, lol.

Quite long ago, somehow in the course of becoming non-religiously spiritual, I got this intuitional idea to eat as little as possible and as nutritious as possible.

So, for a number of years I have been on 19 hours a day intermittent fasting. What I eat within the window of 5 hours is my dinner, and a smoothie which includes the Indian jam Chyawanprash with 49 medicinal herbs, Maca and Moringa powders, protein and a jam containing honey, lemon peel, and ginger. First thing in the morning I have a single little 250 mg tablet of marine phytoplankton, and 3 hours later I have N-acetyl-cysteine and quercetin. (None of that breaks my morning portion of fasting).

Take a look at phytoplankton... mighty whale is using it for its exclusive food; it's so loaded with nutrients that it's almost too good to be true. If you think quantity-wise, you may be asking what can a 250mg pill do in a 185 pounds body -- just think what can, but in opposite direction, just a few micrograms of cyanide do to a body.

You see what I mean -- quality, not quantity does it.

I said it elsewhere, and I'll say it again -- older people are excused for repeating themselves -- how the ancient Egyptians had that wise saying:

"Man could survive on one third of what he is eating -- with the other two thirds he is feeding his physician".

I am totally buying that philosophy.

And so ends this short version of my bragging about my treating food as my body's need -- not as my emotional crutch.

Food cannot fix what mind continues to screw up -- period.

When Hippocrates came up with that famous one: "Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food" -- he had no idea that some day people would invent fridges, and "medicate" themselves silly, overdosing daily.

Those shrinks of modern times who saw something in food that pharmaceuticals didn't provide, came up with the silly thing to which they gave a fancy name "orthomolecular psychiatry".

Basically, that field of study is talking about "brain's chemical imbalances" which has been pretty much proven to be a bunch of crap, to use this academic term. No, I won't go there, but the concept is heavily counting on human mental laziness to work on expanding their consciousness, but rather resort to line of least resistance -- pecking on some pills.

This is the general human trend when it comes to preventing, maintaining, and fixing matters of health, whether mental or physical -- seeking the fix from outside, rather than mobilize inside available resources.

Both medico-pharmaceutical and supplement industries are heavily cashing in on the placebo effect coming from patient's trusting their Grand-Poobah -- and then that trust alone mobilizes the body's healing mechanisms.

So we are turning into one overweight nation, with statistically one in every five people having some emotional issues under a variety of symptoms and diagnoses.

No, we cannot stretch Hippocrates' saying that far -- eating, we are not medicating our emotions any more than we are closing an open wound with stuff on our plate.

So, as impolite as it may sound, we are abusing our fridges and they are abusing us. If we don't like having a friend who, down the road, is bound to hurt us one way or another, we might as well terminate that excessive friendship with our fridge.

Hey, why not try being friends with our bodies instead, by making mind do what is within the mind's domain to do -- finding that precious emotional equilibrium, that peace of mind, that happiness, that love for life...you add all other good words.

© 2022 Val Karas

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