I’m mostly a popcorn girl when it comes to eating my feelings, and that hasn’t changed since the election, except I am eating a lot more of it. A. Lot. More. Sometimes I have to go down the street to another deli so no one at my regular deli will realize the depth of the problem. But I need it my corn! Anxiety, frustration, anger, and despair over personal ineffectiveness—my most consistent emotions—all seem to be relieved by munching angrily on the stuff. It doesn’t much matter whether the popcorn is microwaved, homemade, or pre-popped, as long as I can chomp for a good twenty minutes, scrolling through Twitter and reminding myself that I am getting some fiber out of the process.
I have developed a few healthy Trumpfort food habits. When I switch from anxiety to despair and sadness, I turn to Brussels sprouts (shut up.) Maybe it’s down to my friend Allie once telling me that she loves Brussels sprouts “Because they make me feel like a giant.” In any case they work. As I chop the sprouts and garlic and prepare whatever else is going into the dish, I feel a sense of calm wash over me, knowing I am doing something purposeful that is going to nurture my body and make me feel better not only when I eat the food, but also the next day when I have the fuel to do what I need to do. Thank you, tiny green friends!
I know I’m not alone in my post-election eating behavior. We’ve all had to make change and accommodations to survive the Trump regime and the emotional body blows that have been coming at us. So I asked a few activists and non-activist but politically mindful people to tell me what they’ve been chomping on since November 9.
Bread And Moonshine
“I’ve been baking no knead bread rolls constantly so I always have fresh bread in the house and can eat it with anything and dip it in my whisky at night when I am multitasking my coping mechanisms. Fresh bread dipped in apple moonshine is quite good, to be honest.” — Arabelle Sicardi, beauty writer
“Tons of them. Even for breakfast after the morning damage report. At first I was humiliated to be eating food so like him and his 🍊 ness. Now I view it as a Kali-esque endeavor.” —Victoria Manassero, “angry mother”
“The food people brought to the airport (SFO) protests! I don’t usually eat pizza, but when, hours into the first day, people showed up with stacks of pizza boxes — I had to partake. When I thanked the police for their professional handling of the situation AND asked if they were allowed to eat pizza on the job — someone had already given them some. They were pleased. (Later people brought all energy bars, string cheese, water, you name it, but the pizza came first.)” —Susan McCarthy, co-creator of SorryWatch
A Variety Of Symptoms
“I have upped my cheese intake by 8 oz. a week, guaranteed. I’ve also been drinking heavily. My body seems to have chosen to not drink water like I used to, perhaps in protest of the EPA slashing. And in my sorrow I’ve found myself twice finishing a box of Hot Tamales candies (while NOT at the movies).” —Laura Williams, legal associate and creator of the blog Tipsy Shaker
“I recently had surgery so I can’t eat a lot of things, but popsicles have become so soothing. I think it’s a very tasty reversion tactic, similar to sucking on your thumb , or bottle, or mothers nipples. It soothes my nerves and provides hydration. Especially if i give in to my adult dies sensibilities and go sugar free. It’s a very ‘responsible’ indulgence of my need to be comforted and coddled in ways that aren’t always very well articulated and even in the sugar free versions there is so much variety.” —Sydette Harry, activist and community lead at the Coral Project
A dastardly dairy move
“My favorite thing is to microwave Polly-O string cheese for 30 seconds and just chow down on the gooey monstrosity that results.” —Lux Alptraum, sex writer, consultant, and speaker
“I’ve stopped most of my emotional eating now, but right after the election, I gathered up a bunch of leftover Halloween candy, made some early Thanksgiving casseroles, and ate nothing else for about a week. I called it Thanksween. It was scary and out of character, but of all the ways to partially self destruct, probably not the worst.” — Catherine Baab-Muguira, freelance writer
Wine, stew, and delivery
“Besides too much wine as I try to escape reality and release the tension in the back of my neck, I’m cooking lots of dals and stews. When I’ve given up and can’t cook, it’s easy crap, like pizza that someone else makes for me and delivers to my door.” —Rebecca Andruszka, non-profit professional and writer
Relaxing some rules
“I’ve definitely done some crap eating, but I’d say the biggest change is a 75% reduction in my hyper-vigilance about the various ways toxins in foodstuffs could indirectly contribute to my family’s demise. There are so many things to be anxious about, my brain just does not have space to worry about arsenic in rice and wild vs. farmed salmon.”—Rebecca Odes, activist and producer
Training For The Apocalypse
“I bought one of those microwave steam-case thingums and I’m now eating a lot more vegetables. Want to be good and healthy when all of this BS is over!” —Alissa Bader Clark, writer
“I basically consider red wine a food group now.” —Jenna Gribbon, artist and founder of The Oracle Club
“I actually started eating better because diabetes runs in my family, and since we don’t know WTF is going on with health care, I’d better do all I can to take care of myself and avoid preexisting conditions if I can. So I cut out a lot of simple carbs and am eating more fruit, veg, nuts, and tofu.” —Leah Zibulsky, graduate student
Making mindful ramen
“I’ve had to use all my resources to not just eat Oreos and nachos, only because I know my mood is strongly linked to what I eat. I’ve been getting really into making homemade ramen as comfort food. I buy fresh noodles and experiment with all different ingredients. There are many steps so it takes my mind off the world and doesn’t bog me down.” —Caroline Contillo, Buddhist meditation teacher
“I’m finding solace in slow cooked pots of carne adovada taken from my mother’s recipe using red chili pods sent by my family in Santa Fe—my entire clan has a palate for hot trained since birth” —Nicole Ozumu, mentor, Women’s March Youth Initiative and co- founder of AtOnce