Nutrition in difficult times – Vox
Click here to read the ORIGINAL ARTICLE: “How to nourish yourself in a difficult time.”
When things are hard, feeding yourself and those you care about can be the first thing to go.
By Leanne Brown. Mon Sep 5, 2022
When times are hard — as they have been with alarming frequency lately for many Americans — the first thing to go can be the desire to feed yourself. After two years of the pandemic, increased threats of gun violence, attacks on the fundamental right to control our own bodies, and the ceaseless march of injustice for anyone who isn’t straight or white, it can feel inconceivable to get out of your own head, open up the fridge, and nourish yourself well.
So what can we do? How do we pull back from the pain to a place of perspective, where we’re capable of taking care of our bodies and brains even when the rest of the world refuses to?
My career as a cookbook author, writer, and speaker has been wide-ranging. With my first book, Good and Cheap, I focused on the barriers of cost and access to food, and now my new book, Good Enough, places the focus on mental health and our internal world. I create recipes but also frameworks for thinking about how we feed ourselves and how that expresses our beliefs about ourselves.
Fundamentally, learning how to cook and feed your specific body in your specific life is a transformative healing experience, one I have witnessed in myself and many others. Whether you don’t know where to start nourishing yourself, feel unskilled doing so, or are grappling with something more serious like a disordered relationship to eating, it is essential at all parts of a healing journey to meet ourselves exactly where we are.
Taking good care of ourselves requires many tools, including community care, professional help, and self-care. Self-care, which has become something of a meaningless buzzword but is in fact an incredibly powerful and stabilizing force, can feel particularly hard in this current moment with all the concurrent crises. Central to self-care is nourishment, whatever that means in your and your family’s life, and here I’ll provide strategies for simple ways to feed yourself that build capacity for self-compassion and self-love.
It’s not your fault it’s hard; it’s how we’re wired and conditioned
It can come as something of a shock how feelings like stress, anxiety, and grief can manifest in our bodies. Connecting to yourself when you feel big feelings is the first and hardest step, by far — much like the moment after you accidentally cut yourself, clenching the wound closed to delay the pain before finally letting go to see the damage. But it’s essential to receive all the information about what we are going through so we can understand ourselves and what we need. When we ignore and numb our bodies instead of listening to them, we get stuck.