Most will agree, we went thru stressful times this past year. Have you found you’ve gained weight? Found yourself eating to cover emotional issues? You’re not alone. But ask why you’re reaching for food. Are you even hungry or simply reacting to challenges?
If you are having a stressful morning, it’s easy to reach for the donuts in the break room. Angry? Those pretzels are therapeutically crunchy!!! Lonely? Reach for the calming chemical phenylethylamine found in chocolate.
Food is our comfort drug when we are feeling emotional. You experience stress as a nurse, when you can’t do anything for that sweet child in the ICU, as an overworked teacher, when that popular teenager calls you a derogatory word and others laugh, or as a social worker, wishing you could do more for struggling families. It hurts when we don’t see a way out!
Self-medicating with food makes the pain go away, even for a short time. It changes our chemical make-up, providing pleasure, relaxing us. That’s a hard habit to give up. If you are a kind person watching injustice in today’s world, stress hits especially hard. You might even question God and wonder why He allows such things to happen?
God cares! It breaks His heart when He sees suffering. But, as He has since Adam, allowed us free choice. We can obey, become apathetic or self-destruct. God would never force us do something beyond free will.
I understand this. As much as I wanted my patients to become healthier, they had to want it more than I wanted it for them! I watched as they victoriously chose a more healthier lifestyle . . . or destruction. It was frustrating to watch sometimes but it had to be their choice. Change starts from within the individual.
As God watches, it’s the same for Him. He wants us to choose what is best but in His love. He did not create puppets. God will not force us to do what we don’t want to do. Actions have consequences and choosing to consume chemically-laden, processed foods will ultimately react in physiologically destructive results.
In the beginning God gave us whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for food. In modern times, man began developing foods that included additives, preservatives and chemicals for a longer shelf life.
You probably realize already that food, being a bunch of chemicals, can become addictive. It is as addictive as smoking, drugs or alcohol addiction because it changes our brain neurotransmitters and bodily chemistry.
Regarding diets, my personal health philosophy is based on 1 Corinthians 10:23 “”I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.”
Any food is fine in moderations but certain foods containing preservatives and chemicals aren’t constructive because they create an unhealthy acidic pH.
Some believe food addiction is even worse than drugs, alcohol and smoking because we cannot get away from food – it’s there at least three times a day, staring us in the face. It’s in the vending machines, on television, even along the road you travel on.
As a nutritional counselor I gave my patients the tools for recovery, then had to stand by to see if they would take hold of them to use them for their own good. Faith is trusting, even when we don’t understand why.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9: 9,10 (NIV)