When We Substitute Love for Nutrition

I just watched a video entitled Food Is Love. I’d link to it but its one of those things that’s only free for a short time.  The basic idea that he spoke about was that as children we don’t really distinguish between love and food. The scientific name for what babies experience is synesthesia. From the Greek it translates roughly as “together sensation”.   Their little brains don’t yet have the capacity to distinguish between sensations. They can’t say “this taste is separate from the sensation of being held and loved”.  But what the guy on the video was saying is that grown ups aren’t that different. The catchy phrase I hear is “neurons that fire together wire together”. Even after we have grown up we still often associate love with food and visa versa. After all eating food is often pleasurable and provided by people who love us. It is often a loving act and we often eat socially as a bonding experience. Think of dinner dates, and movie popcorn. Most of my childhood memories of time spent with my family involved food.  Forth of July picnics, Christmas dinner, birthday desserts, all of the events involved and required food.

Many psychiatrists try and work against this and encourage their patents to break the bond between love and food. Because people in our modern age often binge eat, or suffer from other food related ‘physiological ‘ problems. But its really is only a recent phenomenon that food has been separated from love, with the advent of processed foods that were invented in a lab. The first food of these was designed for Napolian so that he could feed his solders regularly and they would quit raiding farms and towns start doing what he told them.  The first of these substances was margarine. An almost magical fat like substance that did not go ‘bad’. This led to other processed food innovations, canning, and other types of preserving.

According to this guy, the problem with these foods is they have no love in them. The animals are treated without love, the fats are made without love and the foods themselves are not loving towards the final eater. In fact these foods make both us and the planet sick.

If you want to be more scientific about it. These foods are full of empty calories and are bereft of nutrition. Essentially they are  junk food.

I have read many articles where an expert talks about how people substitute food for love. The idea of comfort eating is pretty ingrained in weight loss circles. The classic example of this is when a woman has been broken up with and eats a pint of Hagen Dais ice cream over the kitchen sink.

But I think the reverse can also be true, instead of realizing the lack we feel is a lack of nutrition we think the emptiness we feel is a lack of love. A few years before I figured out that I had the intolerance I started upping my nutrition. I took extra vitamins and ate a lot of heavy nutritional foods in an effort to help myself feel better. To an extent it worked. I still felt sick a lot but the extra nutrition helped with feelings of uncertainty and displacement. I didn’t feel as empty and unloved.  This increase in emotional stability was wonderful for me. Of course after I stopped eating the oils that stability increased even further.  But it is striking that  extra nutrition could have such an effect of my brain and emotions when I was still eating something that made me ill.

To me it didn’t feel as if I had a lack of nutrition it felt as if I had a lack love. Intellectually I knew I had plenty of love, but it didn’t feel like enough. I wonder if there are other people feel that lack of nutrition as a lack of love. If they try and fill it with food or grasp at relationships that can never really truly fill that void.

It makes sense that if we don’t really distinguish between the sensation of love and the sensations of satiation and fullness that if we are undernourished, we would feel empty and it could lead to mistaken efforts to fill  the void with love and not nutrition.

In that video he makes the point that eating with love means, eating in ways that take care of all of a persons needs, nutritional and emotional. Because in a big way food is love.

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