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Eating and loss

large tomato in cupped hands

I attended an interesting webinar recently; local funeral directors Full Circle organised for nutritionist Sabine Horner to talk about nutrition and bereavement. It has inspired me to reflect and share the learning I took away.

Sabine began by saying that experiencing grief triggers a stress response in the body. This can be overwhelming and contribute to all sorts of digestive issues such as acid reflux, nausea, bloating, IBS, constipation or general discomfort.

Digestion uses a lot of energy and at times of stress our bodies respond by temporarily diverts energy away from our guts. This inhibits the digestive system. It is part of the flight or fight response that directs energy into dealing with a perceived threat. How our bodies respond through the "brain-gut axis" is of interest to researchers to develop understanding of how psychological or social stress might be linked to digestive problems.

The death of someone close to you is not the only thing that can cause grief. Many different life experiences can result in emotional stress and feelings of grief and loss. For example a cancer diagnosis can be devastating. Losing a job, moving house, divorce or other big life changes can all trigger stress.

Comfort food
Craving comfort is a natural response to loss. Yet when this comfort comes from foods high in sugar and fat it can create issues in gut. Sweet-tasting food is comforting. You can make choices that are satisfying and will provide good nutrition. For example sweet potatoes, banana bread with walnuts or a dish such as watermelon curry (a meal on the Cooking for you menu) provide a range of nutrients and fibre in addition to comfort. It is helpful to aim for satisfying meals, rather than snacking because if you constantly snack your gut never gets a rest.

To help you through times of stress eating well is a choice that can help you feel better. Cooking for you plant-based meals are here to help you eat well. With no shopping, cooking or added stress.

More on this
Read more about grief and its impact on our digestion on the Full Circle website.

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