After years of research, filmmaker Byron Hurt blessed us with the documentary Soul Food Junkies, which tells the story of his father’s love affair with soul food and eventual death, likely related to an overall unhealthy diet. This story is exactly why I do what I do. I know first hand what it’s like to have family members addicted to unhealthy eating. In fact, I inherited the trait.
Did you catch my Krispy Kreme Testimony? Well it didn’t start there. I remember my mother telling the story of how the neighborhood doughnut shop used to give her a courtesy call at her request each morning at around 4am to inform her that the doughnuts were hot and ready to be picked up. Sound familiar? She told me she would get three dozen; one for her, one for my dad, and one for us 3 kids to share. Damn shame, huh?
At some point during the documentary Byron touched on the fact that the comfort his dad got through soul food was likely his way of escaping the pain of the loss of his first born son. I, too, know the comfort of food after losing a child. That’s exactly how Sweet Tooth Therapy was born. Fortunately for me, I was able to catch myself after gaining 12 pounds and switch from baking and eating for comfort to baking and selling.
If you ever watch The Biggest Loser, you may notice a common thread, other than obesity. My hubby would watch the show and say “wow, he really loves food.” And I’d always say “no, he’s loving the comfort the food is giving him in the midst of some deep pain or void.” And sure enough, somewhere during the season, Each contestants’ demon is revealed. Molestation, rejection, secret homosexuality, abuse, loss of a child, parent or spouse; something devastating is usually brought to the surface.
Myles Munroe was the first person I ever heard say “when you don’t know the purpose of a thing, you abuse it.” And that’s exactly what soul food junkies do. And all other food junkies for that matter.
It’s a combination of food abuse and self abuse. The ethnicity of the food has nothing to do with it. For me it was sweets. For my mom it was good food, period. For Byron’s dad, it was soul food and fast food. It’s interesting how food abusers are often seen as food lovers. it’s like a person can abuse another person and the one being abused can actually think they’re being loved. When you really love food, you’re too selective to eat just any and everything. And when you are loving yourself, you only eat what you need and no more. When it slips over into greed and gluttony, there is no love in that neighborhood. I’m just sayin’.
If you find that you’re abusing, or neglecting yourself by habitually overeating and having an unhealthy diet, the main thing is to fix what’s eating you, and then you can fix what you’re eating. When you try a new diet and don’t deal with the real internal issue, you’re just putting a bandaid on a deep, infected wound. You deserve better treatment than that.
I thank Byron Hurt for sharing his father’s story. I know it will get the attention of someone who is self medicating with food, and hopefully cause them to take notice before it’s too late.
Have you ever felt out of control or like a food junkie? If so, what, if anything, did you do to turn it around? Do you, or someone you know need prayer in this area?