Nourish vs. Nurture

I remember sitting at a table, surrounded by people who struggled with their relationship with food. Don’t let me fool you – my relationship with food was far from ideal – I was on a similar page as everyone else in that group. It was this particular day though that something struck that deep down, soul-wrenching, life-changing part of me. Simple words hit me like a ton of bricks and my inaccurate, ill-perceived image of food was slapped in my face.

“Food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture us.”

Well isn’t that interesting? I look back on my relationship history with food and the memories that surface are…

  • Coming home from school, feeling broken, scared, and alone, grabbing a bag of chips and sitting in front of the TV to zone out.
  • Competing with others to see who could eat more food.
  • Having no regard for the nutritional component of food and what I was putting into my body.
  • Stuffing myself to the brim with food to conceal the negative emotions I struggled with.

Many more memories come to mind and in due time I hope to share more, explain more, and explore more with you. But for now, the point I hope to make is that this food that I thought I loved so much, was actually the reason I struggled in various aspects of life. It was a cover for the things I didn’t want anyone to see and provided a numbness to all I didn’t want to feel. When I realized that I was using food to nurture feelings rather than nourish my mind and body, the road to self-destruction I was on became so clear.

My challenge to each of us is to consider what we use to nurture ourselves and then take a look at how we nourish our bodies. If this question strikes a cord with you, if it raises more questions, and if you have come to a new realization and want to explore this more, we at Sage Nutrition are available to join you on this journey. Food has a unique and innate ability to nourish the human body – let the journey begin to find new and positive ways to nurture ourselves.

-Emily Estes, MS, RD, LMNT