This is a blog about what to eat when disaster strikes.

“Disaster” means different things to different people. What may seem like a trifling annoyance to some can feel like the end of the world to others.

Nonetheless, all of us will, sooner or later, experience disasters, be they of our own making – a bad haircut, a bad investment, a bad marriage – or due to circumstances beyond our control, like storms, diseases, accidents or dictatorships.

Disasters, regardless of their origin, have one thing in common: They make us feel vulnerable, out of control, unhinged. We are ashamed to talk about our fears and failures to our children, our families, our friends. We don’t want to upset them, or to hear them say: “I told you so,” or “You poor, poor thing.”

You might think food is the last thing on the mind of any disaster-stricken person – after all, there are greater things at stake than eating when your partner has left you, you’ve lost your job, or your basement is filled with foul-smelling mud. And yet, we must eat to live. In fact, humans make about 200 eating decisions a day! And there is nothing as life-affirming as dusting yourself off and asking: “What’s for dinner?”

So what do you eat when you’re sick and tired of life? When you’re broke and pay day is a week away? When you’re feeling nauseous from your latest round of chemo? When your partner of 40 years is in the hospital and you’re fixing your own meals for the first time in your life?

This is what we’ll talk about here. I want to invite you to discover food, cooking and eating as a source of pleasure and emotional and physical nurturance, rather than a dreaded chore. Welcome your meals as much-needed moments of respite from the worries ceaselessly churning inside your head. It’s self-care on a plate.

So here’s the deal: I’ll show you what I eat (warts and all!) on my own personal roller-coaster ride, and in return, you show me what you eat and tell me about your disasters. I want to build a community of disaster-stricken eaters who don’t lose hope, and who remind each other that suffering – and eating – is part of the human experience.

Remember: You’re still here, a breathing, feeling, hungry human. As long as you’re eating, there’s hope.

What’s that Nietzsche quote? “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Or crazy, my friend Olivia says.

Or hungry, I say.

2 comments on “That which does not kill us makes us hungry

  1. Crunch time at work and I forgot to pack something crunchy for stress eating. Nothing else will do the trick. What to pack? Carrots if I don’t need chocolate. Crackers are boring unless you eat savory home made seed crackers. To avoid raiding the cheap candy bowl always always have crunch in your desk drawer.
    Any ideas?

    • Ah yes, the dreaded afternoon crunchy-munchies! Here’s what I have at the ready:
      — A crisp apple (my current favorites are “Jazz” apples — crisp, juicy and a little tart) with 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s toasted Oregon hazelnuts (yes, it’s that specific!)
      — A Kind Bar (my fave is peanut & dark chocolate as it contains more protein than any of the others); Kind makes 100-calorie mini bars which make good office snacks. A great antidote to the candy bowl! (Why do people still do that??!!) You might even suggest that your office puts out a bowl of mini Kind bars instead. Sure, they cost more, but don’t they want to invest in the health of their staff?)
      — Just nuts & seeds — a mixture of hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds — I usually combine a bunch of different nuts in a Ziploc bag and carry around with me. Don’t pack too much or else you will either over-eat (–> nuts are high in calories) or, if you don;t, you will carry them around so long they’ll go rancid… (–> free radicals, not good)
      — I also like snacking on Edamame beans (I leave a bag in the office freezer and pop about 1 cup in the microwave to defrost/reheat) — not exactly crunchy, but they give my hands something to do when I shell them, plus popping them is almost as good as something crunchy
      — Costco has these amazing cheese thins called “Whisps” that are made from pure Parmesan and are super-crunchy. I serving = 15 thins = 100 calories = 9g protein, that’s a pretty healthy snack. Plus they taste AMAZING! They’re also delicious sprinkled over salads or soups.
      — I love TJ’s whole grain seeded crackers — they’re so crunchy, you can’t over-eat them because they’ll make your jaws hurt. Delicious with hummus or cheese.
      Hope this helps — let me know if you try any of these. 🙂

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