Pink Tea

I feel I need to start this post by saying that Pink Tea is not a magical new food that will cure all your illnesses and make your life magically better.  Although for me it does.  Let me explain...

As people we all have different strategies for coping.  One that often gets talked about is Emotional Eating.  You can flip through fashion/food/health/fitness/gossip magazines (I still love reading things on actual paper..but you could find these and more on the internet) and find articles on how to "curb your emotional eating", "take charge of your feelings without food" and "tame emotional eating and lose weight".  All of these types of articles talk about emotional eating (often defined as eating larger amounts of "unhealthy" (those are sarcastic air quotes-I need a button for that..) or eating out of control while being upset) as a negative reaction to some emotion...think 80's teen movie of dumped girl eating ice cream from the carton in her pj's.  Yet is it really bad??

Isabel Foxen Duke (best name ever and person who speaks a lot on the topic of emotional eating) made a mind blowing (to me) statement on a podcast I was listening to recently (can you tell I am back to commuting more frequently, I keep referencing podcasts).  She said something to the effect that if eating is your coping mechanism it is likely better than doing heroin.  Which made me actually laugh quite hysterically as I had never thought of the two things together.  Both are coping mechanisms.  Both are used as ways to soothe/escape/forget whatever caused the initial stressor.  One of these things is often discussed in a way that is horrible for our health (some will say weight gain here) the other is just not talked about at all.  Both may lead to feelings of guilt and shame.  Both may lead to secret behaviours.  Both may leave the person feeling out of control.  But I am not sure both are the same. (Disclaimer here- I have never done heroin therefore I am guessing about how it makes an individual feel- I might be crazy incorrect in my assumptions and I am sorry for that)

For me (and I really only know me in this situation as I have only lived in this body with my set of experiences) I lose my appetite when I am really upset.   Immediately following an incident that really upsets me food loses all appeal.  You could put the most beautiful tray of sushi and a cheeseburger in front of me (my 2 favourite meals) and I would just stare at them. This can last for a few hours or a couple days depending on my ability to find other coping strategies.  And this is where my body takes over (stay with me here) and moves into what people in popular culture could call emotional eating.  I immediately need to go to my parents house for pink tea.   Now I should likely explain pink tea.  When upset as a kid my mom and/or grandma Kay would make me tea to talk.  During these times they would put much more sugar in the tea than they would any other time.  Often times I would take a mouthful of the very sweet milky tea and would think the word pink.  Pink for some reason was the only word that came to mind when drinking this tea.  Hence the name pink tea.  

This past weekend I saw something that really upset me.  It was just before dinner time so I called my parents and said that I was coming over for tea.  I think my body "craves" the pink tea when I am really shaken for 2 reasons.  The first being that I drive to safe place where I feel loved and protected.  To people that can help me find perspective and calm or just let me lie on the couch snuggled in a warm blanket until I am ready for perspective and calm.  The second and likely more complex reason is that my body knows it does not want to eat food but it realizes it needs energy and carbohydrates to get me through whatever it is I am experiencing.  My body is driving me to the pink tea so that my brain and body get some energy until hunger comes back.  Is it the perfect way to cope?  Well I am not sure there is a perfect way.  But I do believe that sometimes the foods we "emotionally eat" are chosen for a reason.  Whether it be a food that conjures images of compassion and care in your mind or a food that your body knows will provide you with some quick (sugars) or sustaining (fats) energy to get you though.

Pink tea does not cure whatever I am going through. It does not have the magical answers I need or the power to go back in time.  Pink tea provides me warmth and sweetness.  It provides me the safety of those who make the pink tea.   And it gives me the time to come back to reality to start processing whatever I need to process.  It is not perfect but for me it works.

Next time you find yourself in a Pink Tea moment be curious as to why you here, why you chose this food or beverage, or why this particular time.  Try to be curious without being shameful or guilty.  Remember this is just an attempt at self care.

Until next time be Unapologetically you while I be Unapologetically me