Food Philosophy

Food Philosophy

August 21, 2022 7:27 am

From Thought To Fork – A Touch on Emotional Eating

The thoughts behind our choices, from mind to mouth.

Having a healthy mindset around food is a positive foundation for better food choices and behaviours. Achieving an outlook that is positive, balanced and all inclusive of different scenarios and environments. Reaching a place of intuitive peace with our plate doesn’t have to be a long journey, involve dieting or restriction. It does involve learning more about the food on our plate an asking ourselves, why have we chosen to eat this?

Mindful eating is something that is discussed very regularly now days however for some, mindless eating is more of the reality. Not knowing why your eating now or why your eating this specific food? The other side of the coin, is when people are over thinking about food. Thinking about dinner when you have just had lunch? Don’t be hard on yourself if you find yourself overthinking or being unsure what, when or how much to eat. Be understanding and gentle on yourself, as its easy to get caught up in a complicated loop with food, health and nutrition.

Outside Influence

It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where we are bombarded by diet culture and 101 different dietary theories, its almost inevitable to get caught up in a cycle of feeling like food can be the enemy and used as a way to control our feelings and emotions. We may be told what, when and how is best to eat but what external opinions do not take into consideration, is that we our all unique and have different internal bodies that function and are optimised in different ways.

Eating should not be complicated! Trying to control your eating disconnects you from your body. It sends messages to the brain that we cannot decide ourselves how to nourish ourselves but that need exterior validation. We make our brain less intelligent than they really are.

When Food Carries An Emotional Charge

Food can be related to many positive emotions and feelings. Such as a family gathered round a table at a holiday or meeting up with a friend every month to visit a new restaurant or experiencing a countries heritage by trying traditional dishes when traveling. Food can be a form of expression, it can tell a story and it can bring people together through its special form of communication. All this being said, if we have the power to attach beneficial emotions and feelings to food, we also have the power to attach the toxic.

I believe food can be used negatively in two main ways:

  • To numb and escape external or internal reality.
  • To control, when we feel so out of control with what’s happening in our lives, we look for what we can control, and one of these likely options comes through food.

The process of stripping back the unhelpful thoughts around food, we have to create the awareness of the emotions in order to address and question them in their tracks. Once we re-condition our habitual ways of thinking and the thoughts that can ruminate around eating, we can establish a new relationship to nourishment. Food can very much be a positive tool for connection, love and nourishment. However when we attach emotions with food we can become in webbed in relying on food to make us feel a certain way. Think of the term comfort food, we are seeking comfort from food as we are unable to fulfil the desired comfort elsewhere in our lives. It’s s important to stay mindful around cravings and relate them back to your state in the present moment. If food was used solely as fuel, we wouldn’t not turn to food when we are stressed, in pain, anxious or tired. We would uncover the route cause of the issue and solve it or work to relief the most pressing issue. So instead of looking for a temporary relief and using food as a coping mechanism, we can address the real emotions and find the awareness of the deeper feelings.

What Causes Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating can be caused by anything from work stress to financial worries, health issues to relationship struggles. Whatever may be the root cause of the emotion, can be a trusted trigger source of emotional eating. Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. Food is then turned to, as the way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “fullness” or temporary wholeness. This is a common misconception many make. We must feel the emotions through, sit with them, question them, let them go and use the correct tools to process them.

Some ways to healthily release emotions:

  • Move your body. Go for a walk, dance around or shake out the body.
  • Taking mindful breaths. Breath work is amazing for releasing the old stagnation and welcoming the new.
  • Get immersed in a book or creative activity . Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the situation in order to process emotions, getting lost in a really good book can be an adventure in itself.
  • Get out into nature. The fresh air does us a world of good, listen to nature, look up at the sky.
  • Get it out. Talk to a friend, or write it down. Physically letting go of your emotions and sending them out into the world can be the best way to release, you will feel energetically lighter.

After using beneficial tools to deal with emotions you will find the desire to turn to food a little less appealing.

So when are we actually hungry?

With all this confusion of when emotions can control our impulse to eat, we must still remember that we may actually just be hungry. Physical and emotional hunger may be easily confused but there are key differences between the two. Pay attention to how and when your hunger starts and how you are feeling at the time and as well as how you feel after eating.  

Some examples true hungry could look and feel like: The hunger, develops slowly over time and is not activated suddenly or abruptly. You desire a variety of food groups opposed to an intense craving for an individual food. You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.

Opposed too emotional hunger looking like: Binging on food and not feel a sensation of fullness. Experiencing shame or guilt, rushing whilst eating and feeling disconnected to your food.

When honouring your true hunger cues you have no negative feelings about eating and do not attach shame or guilt to food.

Emotional hunger isn’t as easily recognised as true hunger, but with practise you will begin to find the awareness to separate the two. Remember emotion hunger is fast, impulsive , quick and secretive. By eating and filling up, you think it will work in the moment to relieve emotions. Afterwards, eating because of negative emotions often leaves us feeling more emotional than before! This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses their emotional needs head on.

Primary Food

As humans we can live a very fulfilling life, if we focus on primary food. Primary food Is the fuel that nourishes us, off the plate. Think; friendships, connections, relationships, hobbies, passions, finances ,career, home environment and self care. All of these factors, when out of alignment of satisfaction can be mis conception-ally filled by food. Address the primary food and look at balancing your primary food plate before relying on secondary food. Secondary food is the actually food we eat.


An ideal food philosophy is individualised to the individual and their own lifestyle. It resolves around the constant self discovery of our own biology and curiosity around improving our primary food and incorporating a healthy balanced secondary food diet. It is this balance that is what I believe to be the key to a thriving and fulfilling relationship to food, that becomes second nature.

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This post was written by Amelia Crossley