If you didn’t reach for food when you feel lonely, bored, sad, scared, stressed or antsy, what would you fill that space with instead? Is there even a reason to fill that space?
These are questions worth pondering.
We all get lonely and bored and sad and stressed and antsy from time to time. These are all guaranteed human conditions. How we respond to these feelings and emotions paints the picture of our life.
Do we grab a pint of ice cream and a spoon then plop down in front of the television when we feel lonely, or do we sit in that loneliness and simply experience the sensation?
Do we turn to chips when we’re bored, or do we go outside and observe nature?
Do we eat cookies when we’re sad, or do we get into a warm bath and allow ourselves to cry?
Do we avoid batch cooking, instead going out to eat when we have fear looming over us, or do we feel the fear and make the choice to take care of ourselves anyway by getting in our kitchen?
Do we eat the entire box of crackers dipped in cashew cheese when we’re stressed, or do we take a moment and do some stretches?
Do we pop popcorn in the microwave when we’re feeling antsy, or do we visit our meditation cushion?
From my experience, most people try to make themselves feel better no matter the cost and without thinking too much about it. We feel a feeling that doesn’t feel good and we quick, try to fix it, try to numb it, try to push it away, try to make it better. And in trying to make it better, we turn to things that only make it worse.
We can never stop loneliness, boredom, sadness, fear, or uncertainty permanently. Even if we do put a Band-Aid on these feelings, they will eventually return. As long as we are alive, they must.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this. You can never rely on Netflix, potato chips, cookies, your sister, your best friend, the movie theater, your phone, your partner, chocolate, your kids, Taco Bell, your mom, alcohol, cheese or Facebook to make you feel better when things get uncomfortable for you. That is your job my dear and to put that task on anyone, anything or any food is an impossible and unfair task.
You must find a way to fill yourself up with so much light and love and worth and respect that when you sense those familiar uncomfortable feelings arise, you can easily relax, observe, breathe, feel, sit back and ride the wave until it passes and a new feeling emerges. You don’t react. You don’t try to fix anything. You don’t call on another human to make you feel better. You don’t turn to food to soothe. You don’t run away. You don’t get mad at yourself. You sit. You breathe. You notice. And before you know it, that feeling changes and you can carry on with your day.
How you go about filling yourself up with light and love and worth and self-respect is totally unique to you, and it’s a job that can never be checked off from your to-do list because for as long as you live, it will be ongoing.
What works for me might not work for you and what works for you might not work for me. And that’s just fine, we’re all different. Maybe going to church or temple fills you up. Maybe it’s walking outside in nature on a regular basis that does it for you. Maybe it’s going to yoga. Maybe it’s making steel cut oats. Maybe it’s sitting in front of your favorite plant and reading about Buddhism. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s volunteering. Maybe it’s meditation. Maybe it’s stretching and breathwork throughout the day. Maybe it’s batch cooking. Maybe it’s setting healthy boundaries. Maybe it’s doing meaningful work that helps other people. Maybe it’s dancing naked under the full moon with your lady friends. Maybe it’s flying to Hawaii for a retreat.
I don’t believe that one thing alone can fill us up with light and love and worth, it must be a combination of things that work in harmony together. If there are things in your life that are going against this harmony, that’s the perfect place to start letting go and making a different choice because these are the things (or people) that are no longer serving you.
For me, it was drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. After I quit those two things I moved closer to being in harmony. But just like every path of self discovery, it leads to more and more realizations about how you’ve been doing things that you haven’t even noticed up until this point. Then you get to stop, examine, let go, and get even closer to being in harmony.
Bit by bit you go, until pretty soon you no longer search for things or people or food to fill you up and soothe you when you feel lonely, bored, sad, scared, stressed or antsy because YOU are already full and bursting with so much light and love and worth and self-respect that you can ride the wave and feel all the feels until they fade and a new feeling washes over you.
Talk to me in the comments below and tell me one thing that is getting in your way of filling your beautiful self up, and what you can do about it.
Fennel Fig and Apple Oil Free Plant Based Stuffing
Fennel Fig and Apple Oil Free Plant Based Stuffing
- 1 loaf 100% whole wheat or sprouted bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (130g)
- 1 cup diced celery (135g)
- 1 medium-sized fennel bulb (stalk, ends, and core removed), diced (shave off any brown spots on outside of bulb with a knife)
- 8 oz diced button mushrooms (about 2 1/2 cups / 180g)
- 1 medium-sized apple, diced (any variety will do, but Granny Smith, Macintosh, Honeycrisp or Jonagold work well)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (about 5 turns)
- 8 dried figs, diced (stems removed and discarded)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped parsley (5g)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (crush with the back of a spoon or with a mortar and pestle)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or water (710ml)
Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Place the cubed bread onto a baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake for 10 - 13 minutes, stirring once, midway through baking, so the bread pieces get evenly toasted. You want the cubes to be completely dry and crunchy. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When done, remove from oven and set aside for now. Keep the oven set at 350°F (175°C).
Heat a medium-large pot over medium heat and add the onion, celery and fennel and cook, stirring frequently until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes. If the veggies begin to stick, add a tablespoon of stock or water and stir.
Add the mushrooms, apple, garlic, salt and pepper and continue stirring until the mushrooms become soft and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the figs, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and oregano and mix well. Add the toasted bread and gently stir.
Pour the vegetable stock (or water) into the pot and stir, incorporating all of the ingredients together. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes uncovered, or until the top is lightly browned.
Most veggie stock contains oil. If you avoid oil, make sure you buy an oil free variety. Pacific brand has a yummy no oil veggie stock.
If you use water or salt free stock, you may need to add a bit more salt.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with taking responsibility for filling YOURSELF up.