One year after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, nothing seems to be the same anymore. But how has covid-19 affected our relationship with food?
Both physically and mentally it has been and still is a threat to us all. The world found itself in a new reality, with no outside travel, for some combined with endless hours of work at home. For the rest with a constant sense of boredom. Of course through it all there was a relationship that was irreparably affected. It is about our relationship with food. To learn more continue reading this article.
The relationship with food pre-quarantine was pretty much normal – with a few exceptions – for most of us. But the covid-19 virus turned things upside down and suddenly we were faced with a full fridge of junk food, testing recipes we were watching on tik tok, watching/playing constant netflix in the background.
New changes in food quality
According to a survey of over 1.5 million people on the effects of COVID-19 and the way we eat, it found that four out of ten people experienced a change in the quality of their diet. In addition, most appeared to have increased (15%) their alcohol consumption, compared to those who reduced it (8%). However, there were some positive changes, such as slightly increased consumption of fruit and vegetables (15%).
Eating disorder in the midst of quarantine
Food can be something we turn to either for comfort in the face of difficult situations, in pleasant moments with loved ones or as a reward. However, when we have feelings of guilt after eating in emotionally charged situations, or feel out of control during these so-called “overeating episodes” , it can reinforce a cycle of negative emotions, potentially leading to further restriction and unhealthy-dangerous patterns.
And precisely because food acts for many as an anti-anxiety mechanism, there have been findings this time from a study in Australia of people with existing eating disorders and the general population which concluded: The pandemic increased levels of disordered eating behaviours. Specifically, the general population showed increased restrictive and excessively disordered eating behaviours, while the group with existing eating disorders showed additional forms of food “purging” and overeating behaviours.
These results suggest that the lockdown led, a significant proportion of the population, to adopt unhealthy behaviours which, in the main, were due to coping with intense stress. Therefore, if these unhealthy eating patterns are maintained even after the end of the quarantine, they may lead to long-term malnutrition or obesity and thus increase the nutritional burden of the disease and health in general. To address nourishing your body in a healthy and safe way, it is advisable to start by taking small steps, for example by incorporating a few healthy recipes into your routine.