When I would get sick as a kid, my mother would habitually feed me the same thing.
Scrambled eggs, toast, and ginger ale.
Now, when I’m not feeling well, I find myself craving scrambled eggs. Our cravings have deep meaning and can arise for all sorts of different reasons. One of the many reasons why we can crave food is from the memories we have around that food.
Food can often be one of the first forms of love we receive from a parent or caretaker. For the rest of life, then, food can be connected to:
Am I being seen?
Am I being heard?
Am I being held?
Am I being acknowledged?
Am I being supported?
We can have profound memories around our food experiences from an early age.
Growing up in a large Jewish family, almost every celebratory moment I experienced was also connected to what food we were eating at that time.
As we age, we may find ourselves reaching for specific foods that supported us in feeling joyful, happy, soothed, celebrated, and seen in the past, and we may try to recreate those sensations and emotions in the present with those same foods. When I’m not feeling well, often it is not the eggs I actually need, but I’m desiring motherly love—to be held and to be told everything is going to be alright.
We can savor our memories around eating a particular food with family and friends while exploring if that food is actually what we physically need to feel nourished and satiated.
What resonates with our body and digests with ease can change over time. Those foods that provided us with all of those wonderful emotions when we were younger can sometimes also leave us feeling bloated, mentally foggy, and digestively uncomfortable in the present with how our body has transformed.
For example, eggs are actually a food that no longer digests in my body easily. I still can reflect on the love and care my mother offered through this food and feel those sensations in my body without having to actually eat that food.
Just reflecting on our past can cultivate the same sensations and feelings we felt in those past moments without having to eat the foods that no longer support us in feeling vibrant.
The next time you notice a craving arise, break out a journal and explore:
- What memories do you have around eating the craved food?
- How have you felt eating this food in the past?
- What emotions are you desiring in the present?
- What else might provide you with these emotions and sensations that have nothing to do with food?