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5 Ways to Use Food as Medicine for Grief and Healing

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Poached eggs with vegetables and tomatoes on blue plate. Photo credit: Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Brad Wolfe
Brad Wolfe, Reimagine

February 22, 2023

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Grief is a complex and challenging emotion that can have a profound impact on every aspect of our lives, including our health. While food may not solve all of the problems associated with grief and loss, it can play an important role in helping us to heal and find comfort.

At Reimagine, we believe that food can be an important form of medicine that can help to support our emotional and physical wellbeing during difficult times. In this article, we explore five ways that you can use food to help you through the grieving process.

1. Eating Mindfully

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to use food as medicine is to practice mindful eating. When we are grieving, it is easy to fall into unhealthy eating habits such as overeating, skipping meals, or indulging in junk food. Mindful eating encourages us to focus on the experience of eating, including the flavors, textures and smells of the food.

By slowing down and savoring each bite, we can become more aware of our hunger and fullness signals and make more informed food choices. This can also help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and promote feelings of calm and relaxation.

2. Nourishing Your Body

During times of grief, it can be easy to neglect our physical health, but it is important to remember that what we eat plays a crucial role in our overall wellbeing. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help to support our immune system, reduce feelings of stress, and boost our energy levels.

Incorporating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, as well as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, can help to reduce inflammation and support mental health. It’s also important to limit your intake of processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, as these can have a negative impact on our emotional and physical health.

3. Cooking as Therapy

Cooking can be a therapeutic and nurturing experience, especially during times of grief. The act of preparing and sharing meals can bring comfort and provide a sense of connection and community, even when we are feeling lonely and isolated.

Whether you prefer to cook alone or with others, taking the time to plan and prepare meals can be a meditative and grounding experience that can help to ease feelings of stress and anxiety.

4. Sharing Meals with Others

Sharing meals with others can be an incredibly powerful form of emotional support, especially during times of grief. Whether it’s cooking a meal for someone you love or enjoying a meal together with friends or family, the act of breaking bread together can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and create a sense of connection.

For those who may be struggling to connect with others in the traditional sense, Reimagine’s Passed and Present series with Allison Gilbert offers a supportive and healing space for individuals to connect with others who have experienced loss.

5. Honoring Memories

Food can also be a powerful tool for honoring and remembering loved ones who have passed away. Whether it’s making a favorite recipe, sharing a meal at a special location, or simply savoring a favorite dish, incorporating food into your grieving process can help to create a tangible connection to the person you have lost.

Incorporating food into our grieving process can help to provide comfort, create a sense of connection, and promote healing and growth. Whether it’s through mindful eating, nourishing our bodies, cooking as therapy, sharing meals with others, or honoring memories, using food as medicine can play an important role in supporting our emotional and physical wellbeing during difficult times.


Food is a powerful tool for healing, especially for those who are grieving. Whether it's cooking for ourselves or for our loved ones, incorporating healthy and nourishing ingredients into our diets can bring a sense of comfort and calm. By making small changes in the way we approach food, we can bring love and care into our kitchens, and in turn, into our lives. Reimagine encourages everyone to try these five ways to use food as medicine for grief and healing and to seek out other holistic practices that bring balance and peace to their lives. Remember that grief is a journey, and taking care of our bodies and minds through healthy food choices is just one step in the process of healing and growth.

Food is not just fuel; it's a form of self-care and self-love. At Reimagine, we believe that life's challenges can be transformed into meaningful action and growth, and using food as medicine is just one of the many ways to make that happen. Let's come together this February and embrace the power of food as medicine in our journey toward healing and growth.

Discover more resources and events that can support you on your journey.

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