Curing Heartbreak One Bite at a Time

Spare your stomach from post-heartbreak emptiness with these tips.


Li-chun Pan

(Illustration by Li-Chun Pan)

Calais Watkins, Dining Editor

Some say ice cream and romantic comedies are all it takes to get over a breakup. Your mom keeps reminding you of how many fish there are in the sea. Your friends encourage a night out topped off with a rebound. You delete what you can, but then Snapchat Memories do you dirty and the pattern repeats. The one thing you can count on is the healing that comes with time, but time moves slowly for the broken-hearted.

Or maybe that’s just me. After getting my own heart broken this summer, my writing is fueled by personal experience.

Whether you’re facing the end of a high school romance, a whirlwind summer fling or a relationship with the person you thought was The One, breakups suck. Period. But here’s the good news. Your heart might feel empty, but your stomach doesn’t have to. 

There are two types of people when it comes to dealing with stress, anxiety and food: the stress eaters and the stress non-eaters.

CAS junior Emmett Hannigan, shared some advice for those who find it difficult to eat when grappling with negative emotions.

“Keep meals small and frequent throughout the day rather than trying to force down huge meals when you have no appetite,” Hannigan said in a text message. “Whether you’re hungry or not, it’s important to eat, and over time it will become as enjoyable as it was before the breakup.”

As a stress non-eater myself, I highly recommend smoothies. Liquiteria has smoothies, juices and acai bowls that both taste great and come with the option of adding powder shots, such as protein and energy-boosting blends. Liquiteria has three locations close to campus, but if getting off of your couch feels like an unachievable feat, they also deliver. You really can’t go wrong.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the stress eaters. At 11:30 p.m., there’s a pint of peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with your name on it. At 11:40 p.m., the ice cream is gone and you’re left with a whole lot of regret, cursing the people over at Häagen-Dazs for making their product so tempting.

I’m not suggesting holding out on food when you’re feeling hungry. However, instead of filling your shopping cart with junk food, try picking up some healthier items. 

Not convinced just yet? Steinhardt junior Kate, who used an alias because her ex attends NYU, spoke about her struggles as a stress-eater.

“Healthier foods actually made me feel better,” Kate said in a Facebook message. “Salads, hot tea, vegetables, and other things like that made me feel stronger both physically and mentally after the breakup with my ex.”

This change of habit could look like something as simple as swapping out the family-sized bag of Doritos for some Trader Joe’s organic popcorn. Baby steps.

When asked what her go-to comfort food was, Kate recommended frozen yogurt from 16 Handles, located on Second Avenue and 10th Street. And I can almost guarantee that your stomach will feel better after some fro-yo than it would after a pint of ice cream.

However, it’s not only what you eat, but how you go about preparing your food that could make up the difference between a terrible and a not-so-bad night when going through a breakup.

Gallatin junior Noah Rosner expressed his belief in the healing powers of cooking. 

“First, you have to go out into the world and buy ingredients,” Rosner said in a Facebook message. “When all you want to do is beat yourself up on the couch, getting up and doing something productive can go a long way as far as changing your flow of thoughts.”

What’s more, following this excursion out into the world comes a sense of accomplishment and pride in preparing a meal. In addition to providing a healthy distraction for your thoughts, cooking also means you’re taking care of yourself physically. 

All of this advice sounds great, but you and I both know it’s hard to actually implement into a post-breakup mindset and lifestyle. If cooking and eating healthy seem too daunting for the time being, it’s okay. You can start whenever you feel ready.

A version of this article appears in the Sunday, August 25, 2019, print edition. Email Calais Watkins at [email protected]