A biocultural investigation of comfort food during COVID-19 in Oaxaca, Mexico

Graduate Research Grant
Grant Year

Coping mechanisms help people who have been displaced from their homes during crises, but what happens when the displacement is social, and people are forced to shift inside their homes? The COVID-19 pandemic is a novel opportunity to examine how people cope with this sudden shift into their homes and its impact on their choices about health and wellbeing. Specifically, this project investigates how people use food as a coping mechanism despite structural barriers that limit food access/choice. Building upon pilot data from participants in Oaxaca, Mexico, who claimed to be choosing healthier foods despite the pandemic’s structural and social barriers, this project will investigate people’s perceptions about their diet before/during/after the pandemic and examine the embodiment of these choices. Employing a mixed methods approach, this project will showcase the nutritional impact the pandemic has had on participants and capture the relationships that people have with food during crises.