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."

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer based connection, survivors helping survivors, for support and encouragement along the grief journey. 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 SMM is edited for spacing considerations and grammatical corrections.  

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 1-800-959-8277.