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Emotional Eating

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with womens’ magazines, Dr. Phil or pop psychology in general knows that Emotional Eating is Bad. It makes you fat, it isn’t Mindful, it doesn’t fill the gaping hole of psychological need and blah, blah, blah. The general drift of current thought is that when you are sad, you should engage in vigorous physical activity to increase serotonin, talk to someone about your problems, pray, meditate or de-stress with a warm bath and a light read.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I cut off a piece of homemade fudge the size of my index finger, pour a glass of milk, break out the peanut butter, and sit in front of my computer eating bites of fudge with dainty hits of peanut butter and drinking. (The milk). If there is no fudge to be had (which is usually the case) I will eat spoons full of peanut butter with precisely 8 chocolate chips on top, or squares of a Hershey bar dipped directly into the jar.

I don’t eat much as part of this ritual; generally one piece of fudge, one spoon full of PB & chips or two Hershey squares. Interestingly, I don’t even really like chocolate very much. There is just something alchemically perfect about chocolate, peanut butter and milk that can take the sting out of the worst day, the biggest disappointment or an irrational wave of sadness. I have, in my life, tried other folk remedies for the blues, including drinking heavily, hooking up with strangers and watching movies like “Pretty Woman” and “Steel Magnolias.” Unfortunately, I do not tolerate alcohol very well, society frowns on hooking up when one is married with children, and I hate all movies that require of me an endless suspension of disbelief and a perpetually trembling lip.

As for the “Women’s Home Circle of Oprah” remedies, sometimes, frankly, I get sad because I am mindful about everything from Darfur to whether I can afford to get Roto Rooter to look at the drain in the basement. I do exercise, but strapping on the Nikes and going for a brisk walk sounds so incredibly exhausting when I am depressed that I would really just rather fall on my sword. As for talking to someone, it is an intrinsic part of a Colossal Downswing that I kind of hate everybody. Just a little. (And no, of course I don’t mean you). Our bathtub is too small for actual taking of baths, and it’s hard to read in the shower.

That leaves me with no salve except the potent cocktail of the chocolate, the Jif and the milk. (At least it’s skim). Tonight, dear reader, I am grumpy, edgy, and a little blue. I know intellectually that I am blessed, lucky, and truly one of Fortune’s children, and based on past experience I’m guessing that I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling mindful as hell, ready for yogurt and green tea, and having forgotten completely how I felt tonight. I’ll put the peanut butter knife and the milk glass in the dishwasher, and leap energetically into the business of living. Tonight, however, forgive me if I sit licking my knife wounds and engaging in Emotional Eating, the 8th deadly sin.

Psychotherapy from the Pantry

  1. 1 Large glass of milk, whole, 2%, 1% or skim
  2. 1 jar of peanut butter (not the natural kind. Tough times call for hydrogenated nuts).
  3. 1 finger of fudge, 8 semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2 squares of a Hershey Bar
  4. 1 knife or (if using morsels) spoon

If using fudge or Hershey segments, apply approximately 1/32 teaspoon of peanut butter to end of chocolate source before taking a bite. Bite, drink milk, and repeat. If using morsels, fill spoon generously with peanut butter, count out 8 morsels, press lightly into peanut butter and eat one morsel at a time, drinking milk between bites. Surf the web, read a mindless novel, watch a John Cusack movie or listen to Joni Mitchell until you feel better.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

13 responses »

  1. I just love the fact that you actually wrote a RECIPE for this! (I have my own version–melt the chips first, swirl in the PB, let cool–a couple minutes in the fridge will do–and presto, your own Cubist Peanut Butter cup).

    Sorry to hear you’re down in the dumps, but you sure can tap into the humor of it (I’m laughing with you, not at you, of course ;). You know, it’s been said of Canadians that the reason we’re so funny (disproportionate number of comics, and all–Mike Meyers, Jim Carrey, John Candy, the rest of SCTV, etc.) is because we have such long winters and we’d commit suicide if we didn’t learn to laugh. So, what the heck–PB and chocolate is a great remedy (sorry to say I missed out on those other ones you mention!)–go for it, till the sun comes out again.

  2. I think all girls eventually turn to chocolate and penaut butter when we’re down. I use a small dinner spoonful of peanut butter with a Hershey’s kiss tucked in upside down. I put the entire thing in my mouth at once — nothing dainty about it. And I repeat as many times as necessary, until I feel better, or feel like barfing!

    I hope tomorrow looks up!

  3. that was very very good. bravo. loved it.
    you’re a damn fine writer…

  4. Ricki, I’m better already. I have, on occasion, melted the peanut butter and chocolate and eaten them by dipping pretzels in. Its yummy, but when I’m really sad the degree of difficulty involved in using the microwave is just too much. Maybe I’m really Canadian – we aren’t that far away, and we are having a loooong, gray winter.

    Barbara, you got me. In times of EXTREME distress (like when my beloved cat died last year) I do exactly, exactly what you are describing. Right down to the feeling better or feeling like barfing. I realize it is not terrifically healthy, but its cheap, safe and effective.

    Claudia, thank you. I tell myself in moments of desperation that my talent is largely wasted on the law, where very few judges are interested in my sparkling wit or my piercing, self-deprecating rhetoric…:)

  5. Hey Annie–
    Getting off the world be damned, did you see that this post was chosen for a Best Of Holidailies?? Congrats, blogging friend! What a great way to send off 2007. Hope your evening tomorrow is just as great. 🙂

  6. Thanks. ricki!! I was pretty pumped about that. I actually read am old entry on someone else’s blog (a Heavy Hitter in the food blog world) that what readers really want is to know about the writer, because they can find recipes anywhere. With that in mind, I went a bit “high disclosure” for comfort, and it paid off. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll write about kneading bread when I want to punch someone, which i also do….

  7. Sounds like a good plan (and I don’t think you revealed too much for our comfort, anyway). But of course, I ALREADY think you are a “heavy hitter” (at least, that’s what I sort of wrote about today–!!).

  8. Great post. So many of us seem to have the same behaviours – stressed or bothered . . . run to the fridge/cupboard!

  9. Ricki, ir is my secret (well formerly secret) dream to be in the 101 oranges in Paris pantheon, but in the mean time, the holidailies thing was a huge boost.

    Jerry, thanks for coming by!! Its not an ideal response, but its a familiar one for most women know.

  10. I loved this post! For some unknown reason, I am not a chocolate fan or lover. Give me a salt lick and a tablespoon of PB though and I’m a happy camper.

    Since I’m reading this several days after you posted, I am thinking that part of your blues may have had to do w/the mind/body/spirit connection ~ you were getting sick w/your cold. Sorry. At least I didn’t try to do any psychoanalysis of your state. You have to forgive me as I am only about 6 mos away from earning my doctoral degree in clinical psychology… In reality, keep doing what you do w/the PB and chocolate and you’ll be fine 🙂 junemoon

  11. junemoon, you can be my psychologist!! I’ll wait for you. I probably was getting sick, but I was also sad about other stuff…then I felt guilty about feeling sad because I have everything anyone could want and I should be happy. Guilt is a SERIOUS issue with a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. So, here’s the plan: I lay in a 6 month supply of peanut butter, chocolate and milk, and when you get your doctorate, I will come to you and engage in some serious short-term therapy. In exchange, I will cook fabulous meals for you and yours every night. Get back to me. 🙂

  12. Okay Annie, you know what some say ‘be careful what we wish for’… 🙂 Your weekly meal plans consistently sound deeLish and I could definitely image myself tucking into some tasty dishes.

    More seriously, I believe that the mind/body/spirit connection is a real deal. Here’s sending you compassionate energies for the sadness and guilt that you speak of. junemoon

  13. Pingback: What I Wore « Tightly Wrapped

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