Food as a drug

KittisakPoverty strips you of any unhealthy habits you’ve previously had the privilege of indulging in.

With my astrological sign being Libra, I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to find a balance between the many aspects of my life. My current challenges make that crystal clear.

The two things I’ve been struggling with for most of my life, which are more prevalent today than any time before, are food and money. Both are essential to survive in my part of the world and yet both carry such emotional weight for me.

Food is the key to survival. It is a basic need. It can be used for pleasure or pain, overindulgence or deprivation. However, in today’s society of large portions and a variety of easily available food, many people use food as a coping mechanism; myself included.

My mom uses food to express her love for the people who matter to her. Our blended family provides the perfect opportunity for her to showcase her talent for making delicious meals in the many forms we require it. Whether it be diabetic, vegetarian or lactose-intolerant, she ensures every family meal is not only nutritionally adequate for all of our palettes, but also genuinely enjoys trying a new recipe or adapting an existing favourite to meet the needs of those she loves.

On the other hand, my relationship with food is more complex. My parents split up when I was 11 and it was shortly after that when I started hiding food in my room. It felt like what food I made, ate or purchased was the only part of my life I could control. Food didn’t tell me what to do, how to feel or how to behave. And for many years, my eating disorder served its purpose well. Until I started to gain weight.

Today, food and I have made a truce. Over the last year and a half, I’ve had firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to be hungry and not have food to sustain my body. I am finally learning what food is for; to survive. I have been abusing food the way alcoholics abuse alcohol or drug addicts abuse drugs. Consider the difficulty an alcoholic would have if the only way they could survive would be to have a bottle of wine a day, spread out for each meal. No more, no less. Would they still be considered an alcoholic? Absolutely not.

What sort of relationship do you have with food?


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