Have you ever been told that you’re using food as a substitute for love? Have you ever felt guilt or embarrassment about using food in this way? Or do you know someone who seems to constantly reach for food when love just isn’t available? Well, the good news is that this strategy might not be as bad as we think. In fact, it may even make some perfect sense. In this fascinating video from IPEtv, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating shares some great insights about food and love. We deserve to have each of these in our lives, and in plenty of abundance. But first, we need to remove some of the outdated beliefs that get in the way of our true nourishment and happiness. Check out this video and learn how!
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Hi, I’m Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today’s topic: Food Really is Love
There have been plenty of experts over the years who have called our attention to the fact that many of us use food as a substitute for love.
This can be problematic for obvious reasons. After all, if I don’t have the love that I want, I might as well go for the closest and easiest approximation, which for many of us means food. The net result of this can potentially mean overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, weight gain, shame, guilt and more.
We’re often told to do our best to avoid this strange conundrum, and just look at food as food, and love as love, and not get the two confused.
I’m going to say otherwise though.
I’m going to suggest to you that food really is love.
In the symbolic and metaphoric sense of the word, food is a gift from the heavens. Food is delicious. Food is pleasurable. Food can make us feel good. Eating nourishing food, making nourishing food, feeding others, celebrating with others, if that’s not love – then what is?
Of course, it’s always a good time to talk about the power of love.
From the instant we’re born, the infant’s experience of food is directly intertwined with being held, being touched, hearing the mother’s soothing voice, feeling her skin, her warmth, and her love. To the as yet undeveloped nervous system of an infant, all these experiences are encoded in the nervous system as one event. The infant brain does not distinguish between isolated sensations. Meaning the infant isn’t saying to itself, “oh yes, this is the sound of my mother’s voice, and this is the taste of the milk on my tongue, this is the feeling of love…” – Again, it’s all experienced as one and the same.
Food is love, love is food, touch is food, touch is love, and on and on.
So to the adult mind, it makes perfect sense that we make the association that food is love.
And as we grow older, our nervous system becomes more complex, we have a fascinating way of re-creating and evolving this experience of food as love. For many of us, we’ve been given, as children, rewards whenever we’ve done something good or that our parents approve of. Oftentimes, that reward is food. Perhaps your grandmother demonstrated her love by cooking or feeding you. Or perhaps it was some other relative, or many of them.
And maybe even the first time you went out on a date, you ate a restaurant. It might even have been a romantic setting. Courtship and romance so often occurs at the dinner table. Candles, low lighting, music – love is in the air, and love is in the food.
If you’ve ever given food to someone who’s hungry and homeless, you likely had the experience of feeling a lot of love coming your way.
We simply cannot escape the beautiful reality that food is love, and love is food.
Of course it can become problematic for some of us. Of course if we feel lonely, if you don’t have a special someone in your life, or if things are difficult in your relationship – it’s easy and often natural to reach for food as a substitute for love.
But here’s the point – it makes perfect sense.
So please don’t beat yourself up if you use food as love. It is love.
And it becomes a process of learning to find or generate the love that we want from a source other than food if the food as love equation indeed becomes a challenge for us.
But we can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
In fact, it would probably do us some good to really experience how food is love whenever we need food.
Think of it as love from the planet to you. Think of it as a gift from the trees and the plants and the soil and the flowers and the bees and all the creatures that become food for the human form. And if you want to get just a little spiritual, think of food as a gift from a higher power. In so many religious traditions and cultures across the globe, a thankful prayer for the food was a key ingredient at every meal.
When we lose this secret understanding that food is love, then it becomes quite possible for humans to begin to manufacture food that has no love in it. I’m talking about junk food, I’m talking about food that’s directly engineered to get you addicted to it. I’m talking about food that’s grown and produced with toxic chemistry. I’m talking about animals that are treated horrifically. I’m talking about companies that knowingly put toxic chemicals in their footsteps. I’m talking about companies that produce GMO foods, and purposely deny the research that proves their danger.
It can be argued that we can sum up all the problems that are occurring in the food industry, in the epic manufacture of junk food, in the fantastic amount of nutrition related diseases that are indeed the most common illnesses on the planet – all of these can be summed up as a simple lack of seeing food as love.
Love would never guide us to produce toxic foods to sell at a massive profit that destroys our children, our environment, and our future.
These days, we need a lot more of the understanding that food really is love.
And when we truly love food, it magically loves us back.
From there, so much healing is possible.
I hope this was helpful my friends.