Food Glorious Food
“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” Voltaire
The festive season is here and the first thing that comes to mind is what is on the menu?
Food plays an essential socio-cultural role in our everyday lives. We no longer eat solely for nutritional purposes, the food we ingest is highly connected to our daily emotions and social interactions. The modern-day culinary world is linked to creativity, pallet stimulation, and innovation. Where culture and cuisine work in tandem, defining identity, preserving traditions, and weaving people together.
Whether we are happy or angry, celebrating a birthday, or commemorating a loved one we often turn to food for our emotional support.
So, what is the link between food and emotions? Can our food affect our mood?
The simple answer is affirmative. The taste and smell of certain foods do in fact evoke emotions and memories both pleasant and unpleasant. That is why we are all familiar with the term “comfort food.”
The beginning of our relationship with food was primitive, it began with the simple concepts of survival and aversion to pain. Hunger was painful, being satiated caused satisfaction and ensured survival. We ate to abate pain, enjoy the pleasure of satiety, and live. Over the years our relationship to food evolved, our lifespan increased, and we began enjoying the pleasures of the pallet more frequently.
Our connection to food, however, begins before we are conscious of it or can control it. It’s predominantly influenced by necessity and later by the choices of the household and our parents. As we grow, we create a relationship with food that is based on pleasure and rewards; having dessert if we finished our vegetables, celebratory outings, and festive holidays.
The emotional link to food is a chemical one since the brain releases neurotransmitters into our system as we ingest our meals. They have a direct effect on our mood and emotions. Dopamine is the feel-good neurotransmitter it signals the brain to interpret pleasure as we eat, endorphins are the brain’s feel ‘good hormone’ that cause a sense of euphoria and may also help the body know when it is satisfied, finally, you have serotonin a hormone that is responsible for our feelings of well-being and happiness. Combining the brains’ chemical reaction to food with our sensory reactions to basic taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) and the importance of food in our social interactions, we can easily understand the common concept of ‘emotional eating.’
As we come close to our festive season CIIN would like to address the Psychology of Food and the choices we make in our relationship, with food, people, and culture. Please tune in to our U-tube channel as we tackle this subject matter with…..