Sunday, November 2, 2008

Raw food, mothering, and eating out

I have started to notice that one of the greatest triggers to my binging is linked to the need for “mothering”. There is one specific situation when this shows up particularly strongly:

When I need to cook.

Yes, I can finally admit it now: I hate to cook. As much as I try to avoid the word "hate", there is not much else to say. I also hate to uncook. Most of the time I don't think it's fun. I try to do it lovingly for my family, but it usually drains me. Even more so when it turns out bad (and my husband complains...).

Other than making sandwiches and snacks, my husband doesn't know how to cook. Our agreement after I started experimenting with raw food was for me to go on cooking for the family and he wouldn't bother me (not that I ever was a great cook...). Since then we have set up several other agreements which have all fallen through:

-That we only eat fruit in the morning;
-That we stop buying meat to make at home;
-That we have an entire raw food meal at least once a week;
-And so on...

The latest one was that he'd take raw soup at night as long as it was tasty, but I never really tried. In fact, most of these agreements didn't work out more because of me than because of him. The truth is, I want to spend the least possible time in the kitchen; thus, what I make for my family is what is easiets for me – the regular, cooked, omnivore food that I learned from my mom. I don't even know how a lot about cooked vegan food, since I went straight from a regular omnivore diet to raw.

Despite including some kind of meat most of the time, what I make for the rest of my family is not the worst thing nor ever was. It certainly doesn't compare to SAD (and of course we are in Brazil!). Since we got married, we agreed to never buy any cookies, excessively processed food, ketchup, mayo, canned stuff, or most junk like that. Eating out has always been more “liberal”, but our home is sacred. Additionally, people commonly eat a lot of fruit in the region we live in. Not as much as when we were growing up – as yards are increasingly being substituted by high rises in many cities – but still more than in other places.

Eating out ias another issue. It was a big part of the beginning of our relationship. Before I would have said we both love to eat, but now I know we are both emotional eaters. During my first year or so in raw it was weird because eating out all of a sudden had lost the point (besides being a trigger for binging), and I felt sort of lost. Now things are changing.

And this brings me back to the beginning. Eating out makes me feel “mothered”. Eating out = not having to cook = pampering myself. When I was a child, we rarely ate out as a family, so it had that “treat” feeling. Then (after everything that happened with my father), when I became a preteen I used to go to the mall with a friend exclusively to eat.

How to substitute eating out? I do not mean ruling out eating out whatsoever, but to stop using eating out as an excuse for eating junk and feeling mothered. Yes, there are dozens of ways I can have myself pampered, but it is hard to find something that provides that emotional “quick fix” eating out does, both alone and as a family.

On the other hand, mothers and grandmothers seem to have a great influence on emotional eating... :) I have heard all sorts of accounts of people who found out this or that trigger food (or a specific food that they couldn't give up) were related to their relationship with a grandmother or mother. Mothering is that magic button, that special kiss on a wounded knee, that hug that makes everything alright. Raw food and an overall healthier lifestyle brings about bliss in the long run, but it also uncovers several emotional issues that are hard to overcome “in the raw” without moments of pampering. The challenge is to create resources to fill in these needs in a way that doesn't affect our physical or emotional health.

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