Having worked in the addiction field I’m amazed, as most of us are, at the way insurance companies randomly deny treatment to those in need. One “reason” given for denying inpatient treatment is: The patient doesn’t have to leave the state to get treatment. (And yet, as most of us know, many states have subpar facilities and the best chance for success is often for a patient to leave his usual triggers, people, places and all of the dynamics that contribute to relapse.)
This made me think of how ‘leaving’ or ‘interrupting’ patterns can be helpful in mental health in all its varieties. If you are in the midst of an unhealthy dynamic, a pattern of anxiety, a spiraling into sadness, perhaps it’s time to change things up as best you can. There are dramatic ways to do so and on a case by case basis it’s often appropriate to change jobs, cities, even spouses! But I would never encourage that without knowing you. However, as the Food Therapist I can most certainly say that if you are in an emotional rut, one prescription would be to go for a recipe, flavor, or food you’ve never tried. And by never I mean….NEVER!
You will not believe the ‘legs’ that simply cooking something you’d never think of cooking, can have on the rest of your mood. Like other concrete therapies, this one is full of metaphors that you can take with you. And as always, if nothing else, you have a meal. In this case a meal you can give away since you probably won’t want to eat it—or will you?
I say this because the Sous Therapist is always her own guinea pig. Therefore, I picked something I’d never made, don’t like, never have, and probably never will. For the food therapist, this is kind of hard to find since (sigh) I almost never met a food I couldn’t at least go on a blind date with. But there are a few exceptions and here they are:
Coconut cake, Root Beer, Black Licorice and Key Lime Pie. Having just visited Florida, I chose the Key Lime.
I have had key lime pie only once in my life, while traveling in the Carolinas about 10 years ago and let me put it this way: I prefer my lime juice in margheritas or on chicken that order. Maybe it’s the green that doesn’t seem to go with pie? More likely the citrus.
But, I’m here to report that after patting, squeezing, zesting, stirring, beating and browning the ingredients that make up key lime pie I have a completely different attitude about it and am glad I decided to go on the second date. What I once thought too tangy now seems refreshing. What I once thought cloying now seems deliciously creamy. And come to think of it, a lot of people I know have grown on me much the same way. Think about it; maybe that ‘zesty’ girlfriend who seemed over the top is now so much fun? That sensitive guy that you almost discarded is now the love of your life?
In my new book Cook Your Marriage Happy, the first title in my Cook Yourself Happy series, I affirm that cooking heals and fixes and helps you feel things in an organic way. I know for sure it can also change your perspective and your tune. Much in the way that changing the “key” can change the way a song sounds. Naming this recipe, then, is almost too easy. Key Lime Pie?
The Sous Therapist’s Key LIFE pie! Change your habits, change your views, change your life.