We’re living through a particularly weird and uncertain moment in history. Our social engagements are slim to none, and most jobs that are carrying on with business as usual involve staring at a screen all damn day. It’s a stressful time, and stressful times call for stress eating. With all this extra time at home, we’ve got plenty of time to test out delicious comfort foods, like potato dumplings and ice cream sandwiches and this Frankenpie. All that said, we’ve received some news we feel obligated to share with you. We’re just going to present some information here. I cannot stress enough that we do not necessarily endorse this message; this is merely what the “experts” are saying about your “health” in the time of a “pandemic.”
This week, the Washington Post ran a Q&A with health experts about stress eating while quarantined. Their advice, basically, is this: don’t do it. According to Dr. Eva Selhub, a physician who specializes in stress management and resilience, stress eating often prompts “unhelpful feelings of guilt and shame.” (No idea what she’s talking about there, but I’ll have to take her word for it.) And even less helpful, processed foods can cause inflammation, which can cause fatigue, anxiety, and depression in our already anxiety-prone bodies. While food releases dopamine and serotonin into our brains, Dr. Selhub says, that wears off, and the aftereffects of stress eating aren’t worth the temporary chemical blast in the long run.
Instead of slamming potato chips, Dr. Selhub suggests a few things called “breathing exercises,” “movement,” and “spirituality.” Interesting. She also mentions the benefits of “social interactions,” two words I think I’ve heard before once, somewhere, in a dream within a dream. Also, cook with fresh veggies, to the extent you have them available. Seems like solid advice, but I did type this post with just my left hand, as my right has remained firmly in a family-sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos for six days.