When I was breastfeeding Benji and he had reflux problems, I pared my diet down to the bare minimum and experienced the impact of food on mood. Of course, the postnatal hormones were raging as well, but as I reintroduced food into my diet, I got some sense of what made me feel how.
And I realised that my feel-good foods were chocolate and spice. By which I mean, I need them almost on a daily basis, some days more than others, to maintain my good cheer. That’s not to say I can’t live without them – I went without for three months when breastfeeding and I had cut out chocolate completely during a weight loss phase I went through before my wedding (hmm, I was in quite a bad mood then though). I just like how I am with them in my life better.
In fact, if I had to cut out one to see a dramatic improvement in my health, it should be my penchant for chilli because I have a runny tummy. But super-spicy food gives me a high. So I let my stomach rumble and I know eventually I’ll pay the price.
Chocolate, of course, sits on my hips, but what I learnt from pregnancy is that I’m comfortable with some body fat, or at least not uncomfortable enough to make the big sacrifices. I try half-heartedly not to eat so much, but that’s about it. Once at dinner an acquaintance was going on about how she had cut out chocolate because she realised she was addicted to it, and I thought “so what?”
One thing the whole episode of eating a bare bones diet taught me is that we are all addicted to something. Even constantly trying to quit something can be addictive for some people. Alcohol and drugs get the hard rap but most of us have some things we get very grumpy without, and chances are our health would be better if we didn’t have them but our heads are better when we do.