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Comfort foods and healthy habits. Friday March 31, 2017

What foods, smells or sights make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?

A year or so ago I embarked on CBT as a prelude to psychotherapy. Although we (the psychotherapist and myself) decided it wasn't necessary to proceed, the CBT included thinking about comforting things that would bring me a soothing sense of peace when troubling thoughts arise.

For me there is something deeply satisfying about making my own carrot and lentil soup. Whether it's the speed of creating something wholesome quickly or the simple routine of chopping onions, peeling carrots and adding a touch of ground cumin and coriander, and on the best days my own chicken stock, this stands for winter meals eaten in the warmth of home. It's something I have been cooking for over twenty years and I find it profoundly comforting. The same can be said for the simple process of making porridge.

Maybe it reminds me of what my Mum made when I was a small child?

Smells and sights can be evocative too - both good and bad. Today I posted a photo on Facebook of a clump of mini daffodils espied on my morning dog walk, a delightful sight for sore eyes after a long winter and some very wet days.

Of course, routines and habits can be negative too. My need for a cup of tea and bite of chocolate at 4pm is not so great for the waistline. Our thinking is also habit forming and sometimes a challenge to break out of.

So my challenge to you is to think of some things which bring you peace and to see if this is a helpful distraction when you are finding life tough.

From my kitchen.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Sally Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 7:04am

Perfect reading for me this morning, BrumMum. I love soups, less so making them, but have started to take an interest again in cooking and baking after a 15 year absence of interest.
I think life got in the way, speed set in, living got fraught, and that old jar of jobs and constraints filled up in an insane way. Now, in my 65th year, I am finally forcing myself ,- allowing myself too- , to slow down and "smell the flowers".
It is a very good feeling, slowing down, because when lifestyle gets dominated by cramming in, there is scant time to think, reflect, feed back to yourself and others, and,...well...FEED yourself nourishing things such as healthy soup!

This blog spoke to me, because my mother was always interested in food, nutrition, baking, and cooking as a therapeutic way of unwinding. Her kitchen was her little sanctuary , and she used to retreat to it to recover, indulge in doing what she loved doing, and be herself.
As we have just celebrated Mothers Day/ Mothering Sunday, as we knew it growing up, I am inevitably thinking about my mother and her nurturing of her family and extended family. She was graceful and quiet. A perfect counterbalance to her big, noisy, irreverent family. We valued her, not sufficiently, admittedly, but 20 years on, I value her gifts and legacy all the more. My siblings feel the same way.

For me, it would have to be her vegetable soup, and sponge cakes , that represent perfection in the comfort foods of the kitchen. But..that is just the tip of a very tasty iceberg!!

Jul Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 7:43am

Hello Brum Mum. This is a lovely blog. Thank you. Your carrot and lentil soup reminds me of my sweet potato and lentil curry which I have been making for a number of years. When I'm finding life tough, routine or the thought of it calms me down. I suppose reading the newspaper each day grounds me too. I'm abroad right now so my routine has gone out of the window but the warm weather, beach and sea provide a calming effect definitely, especially if I can be on the beach on my own. Of course cycling helps me enormously. Hope you feel good today Brum Mum. love Julxxx

The Gardener Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 9:13am

Wild advice from all sides on what people in our position are going to suffer from Brexit - going to be a shambles anyway - feel, at 82 and 87, that by the time anything actually happens we will either be dead or past caring. Moodscope much more interesting. I think it was yesterday somebody was worrying about eating disorders - especially binge eating from depression. Then, this morning, yet ANOTHER homily about better eating to reduce obesity in the young and counter rising numbers of people suffering diabetes. Food is necessary - it should be enjoyed, made attractive and palatable. Your soups sound great - do you have any young people who will eat them? Anybody with a daughter in law - would they bother with such stuff? (To be fair, I have one who does). All my life I have cooked to the needs of the family - huge loads of carbs when the boys were growing like crazy - the fruit bowl always full, to be eaten at anytime. At my great age I have become cynical and sad - watching youngsters eating this ghastly, expensive junk food when a little effort will produce more pleasant results. But people are inured to junk food, generations now, and like it. Oh, not another diatribe. Comfort food - jacket potatoes. Favourites - boeuf bourgignon - stir-fried anything, often about 10 veg in it. Spanish omelette, (family very rude, Mum clearing out the fridge again), Gaspacho, chicken satay, Australian bacon - gado-gado (Indonesian, loads veg, tofu and peanut sauce. Must stop using Moodscope as a cop-out, and go back to Mr G - dread Fridays - no relief, except a reader this afternoon, till respite next Tuesday. Jul, if still in Spain, I envy you. xx

Jane SG Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:17am

Hi Gardener, I've been catching up with the blogs from the past few days and reading the comments. I hope you are ok. Xx

The Gardener Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 9:21am

I can't resist this - should have been the theme song of the referendum. Decatur (1779-1820) 'Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.' Trouble is both Mesdames May and Sturgeon think THEY are right. Excuse the deviation from blog.

Mary Wednesday Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 10:04am

Oh yes, As the Gardener says, jacket potatoes. I will have to try both the carrot and lentil soup and the sweet potato and lentil curry. I am currently trying to lose weight with Slimming World, which is not so much a diet as a healthy eating plan - lots of fruit and vegetables, lean protein and healthy carbs. My problem is late at night when I crave the unhealthy carbs, the sugar and the fat (and the wine). Answer: go to bed earlier! I also bake. I adore to make cakes, and I love to ice them too. Not conventional sugarcraft, but fantasy cakes - my favourite is still a dragon on his hoard - with 273 individually cut and painted scales - he was glorious! Last Saturday I made a chocolate and mandarin cake for my daughter's 15th birthday and iced it all with buttercream rose-buds. I shall have to post that to Face Book!

Vivien Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 12:04pm

BrumMum - please can I join you?? My Mum is currently in hospital - nearly 6 months now and we are trying to organise a care package for her to come home. What happens? The Hospital rang or rather the Mental Health team rang as they are concerned about Mum's mental state. Requesting brain scan. So what would help me? Chocolate, crisps, watching television, reading a book - food wise, love the smell of cooking - I make bread and just when it is about to finish, the smell in the house is lovely. Also when I make cakes, the smell of them cooking is yum. What else? Freshly cut grass - looking of family photos or others from years ago. I've had a cry but am trying to look more positive at things. Keep going everyone.

Jane SG Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:20am

Sending you hugs Vivien xx

The Gardener Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 4:44pm

Oh Vivien, I wish you luck - I have an excellent care package here in France - but it's threatened, as in UK, by more old people and a diminishing number of people who can, or will, do the work. The lady who has just been in to sit with Mr G so I can get two hours off had 16 'patients' the other day - a colleague off for six weeks with a broken shoulder. She got back to work on Monday and Mr G gave her hell. My big problem is inertia - loads of things of interest to do but too tired to do them - or no hope of concluding them. You say 'come home' - does that mean that your Mum will be living with you? From bitter experience, take lessons in selfishness. By the way, where is everybody? Blogs not stimulating response? I seem to have the 'field' to myself - but, as everybody knows, Moodscope is part of my 'therapy'.

Brum Mum Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 6:26pm

You are right. It is quiet but hope it's folks taking advantage of the lovely weather we are currently experiencing. Wishing you well over the weekend.

Leah Fri, Mar 31st 2017 @ 9:45pm

Brum Mum
Thanks for a comforting blog that evokes so many memories. I can smell lunch mangoes and feelthem dripping down my arm. Every time I walk into my gift and bookshop I feel happy. Each time I am surrounded by the smell of books and old objects I feel comfortable.
Can never imagine you having inertia but maybe your inertia is another's busy day. Take care and keep writing. Moodscope is part of my therapy too. Hugs.

Jane SG Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:21am

Thanks Brom Mum, yes finding lovely things. It helps a lot and so often I forget to do this!

Jane SG Sat, Apr 1st 2017 @ 9:21am

Brum Mum! X

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