Saturday Morning Message: Eating While Grieving

Author: Carol Lane

Food is something needed for the body, but the desire for food often changes when people are grieving. Some find that nothing tastes good, and others eat foods that are not good for them. There are two articles from the TAPS Magazine archives that give some good advice on how to give your body needed nutrients when you're experiencing the emotions of grief. 

Food PrepGood Morning,

In "To Your Health: Eating to Live of Living to Eat?," Victoria H. Hawk, MPH, RD, CDE,gives tips on making sure your nutritional needs are met. She wrote:

"Take into account that you will have good days and bad days during your grief journey. Planning ahead for healthy, appetizing meals on the bad days is essential.

  • Have a supply of shelf-stable convenience foods on hand - items that are ready to eat with minimal preparation such as soups, frozen meals, and meal replacement shakes.
  • Buy foods that are quick and easy to prepare - bagged pre-washed vegetables, frozen vegetables, packages of pre-cooked brown rice, pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts, canned tuna, eggs, canned beans, chicken broth, and whole grain pasta.
  • Cook larger quantities of foods on good days and store some in the refrigerator or freezer for days when you are not able to cook.
  • Freeze foods in small portions that are easy to re-heat in the microwave oven."

Ruth W. Crocker, Ph.D., surviving spouse of Cpt. David R. Crocker Jr.,  shared her ideas in the article"Nutrition and Stress Finding Strength for Your Grieving Body." She suggested eating "wholesome foods in small quantities: whatever is appealing. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; easily digestible proteins like eggs, fish and poultry; nuts and seeds; low-fat dairy products." As food becomes more appealing, "choose protein, vegetables and complex carbohydrates like whole grains first. Then enjoy a small amount of sweetness, preferably something like a baked apple or a fruit custard made with low-fat milk. Eat slowly and mindfully, thinking of nourishment rather than the need to fill an empty place in the heart." 

These articles give great ideas about taking care of your body's physical needs while you are also working with the emotional side of grief. In that way, you can keep your body healthy. 

Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. 

We can also honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to respond to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing online@taps.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the week's Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send them to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone who reads or sends comments.

Hugs,
Carol 

QUESTION FOR NEXT WEEK'S SATURDAY MORNING MESSAGE 

This week's question came from two survivors, Kay, spouse of Kenny, and Linda, mother of Gene. They both were approaching upcoming difficult dates like birthdays, angelversaries or, in the case of spouses, wedding anniversaries. Their question is: How do other survivors mark days of remembrance? Your reply may help other survivors "celebrate the life" of their loved one.

  SONG FOR THE WEEK

Adra, mother of Kyle, sent the song for this week. Adra wrote, "My husband's family are Native Americans with Creek citizenship. I'll never forget seeing Kyle's obituary in the Muskogee Creek News; I was so grateful they published it. As with many Creeks, my husband's family is closely connected to the Cherokee. I'd like to share a Cherokee version of a song that meant a lot to Kyle. When we cleaned up Kyle's apartment after he passed, I found many journals. The first one I opened, which was by his computer and recording equipment, had lyrics and chords to "Amazing Grace" on the first page. Here's the Cherokee version of "Amazing Grace." It brings me peace even though I weep for us all."


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS
 

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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.


Other Items and Events of Interest
 

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Breath of Fresh Air With TAPS Outdoors - Season 2

The Breath of Fresh Air series, presented by TAPS Outdoors, is for everyone and requires no previous outdoor experience! With bi-weekly videos and Campfire Chats, we'll help you find the right tips, tools and tricks to navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief.

In Season 2: Sowing Seeds, we will utilize the skills we developed over winter to plant seeds of hope for the flourishing summer ahead. Spring is the season of new beginnings, and we look forward to preparing the ground, planting seeds and growing with you in the journey to blooms. The official launch date is Wednesday, March 3.


Free Webinars Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

Gain valuable information and coping strategies through the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing. In February, you have two opportunities to participate in free online sessions. 


You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.


Virginia National Guard

Tips And Resources To Help You Navigate All Stages Of An Emergency

Our hearts are with our TAPS Families impacted by recent winter weather. You are not alone. You've got this! And we've got you! We are always available to provide compassionate care to our military survivors in any circumstance. We also want to lessen the added stress you may be experiencing due to such emergencies. If you are in need of support, due to a natural disaster, contact our Casework Team at 202-588-TAPS (8277) or via email at casework@taps.org for information on available aid and supportive resources as well as read our TAPS Natural Disaster Response article.


We're All In This Together

COVID-19 Support and Resources

At TAPS, we’re no stranger to challenging times, and we’re all doing our part to support one another and get through these difficult times together. As always, TAPS is here 24/7, and our team is working hard to provide resources, services and support to surviving military families as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or questions, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page or please email us at info@taps.org.


Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit smile.amazon.com, log in, and select TAPS as your charity of choice. Amazon will give 0.5% of your eligible purchases to TAPS.


About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email online@taps.org.

If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 202-588-8277.