Feel-good Comfort Food
Winter has arrived, and although I love the snow…as long as I’m watching it from the comfort of my own home, it stresses me out when I’m outdoors and I’m forced to drive somewhere. In addition, my ancestors are from the Mediterranean climate and I’m not comfortable and feeling cozy until I boost up the temperature in my home to 75 degrees. It is a time where we bundle up, stay indoors, watch a lot of television and eat! It’s the time of year where we tend to lazy away from doing things that our body needs such as exercise and eating healthy. We also end up drifting away from being social, we find every excuse imaginable to stay home. Most people turn to comfort food during this time of year and I find absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as what you’re eating is good for you and will make you feel good all around, not just for a few minutes.
So why do people choose comfort food? Comfort food makes you feel warm in your tummy and makes people feel some sense of joy temporarily while eating and digesting. Comfort food is consumed not only during the cold months but during periods of high stress or depression. Prolonged periods of stress produce cortisol which increases appetite. Studies show foods high in starch and sugar seem to counteract stress. However, this is only a temporary fix, and the craving for the comfort foods continue to persist. The result is weight gain and after some time of continuing this habit, could bring about health issues.
Comfort food, especially in the winter months was always one of my biggest weaknesses, more than any other unhealthy habit that most people have. During those months when stressing about driving in the snow, shivering in the cold that felt like it was going to bite my skin off, I stayed in and ate. It was mostly pizza, baked ziti, mac and cheese, chicken fingers or brownies, and of course chocolate cake. I stayed in my super warm apartment, avoided the gym, lied down on my couch watching tv for hours, and ate and ate and ate. As we all know, comfort food has its consequences. You can gain a lot of weight, not only from the food, but also from lack of exercise and not relieving any stress. Eventually, the consequences could get bigger…
None of these are healthy choices, and not only will you not feel good, you will not be looking so good either.
So what do you do when you got the blues and you are seeking that comfort? Fortunately, there are healthier options. Comfort food does not necessarily have to be foods high in sugar, starch and salt and over the years I learned ways to substitute the heavy stuff.
Over the next couple of months, I will share with you some of my favorite comfort foods that are low in the glycemic index, non-gluten and guilt free. There will be a way for you to avoid the pound packing fat and be ready to slip into that swimsuit as soon as the snow melts. No going through the grueling crash diet, no hard-core exercise routine to sweat off the calories, and no other unhealthy quick weight loss fads such as diet pills, body wraps or the lemonade diet.
There are comfort foods that can nourish your body with nutrients, won’t weigh your body down, and contribute to better moods, oh, and they taste good too!
I’m very excited, not only about cooking this food but also sharing it with you. This winter, let’s overcome these winter blues together by taking care of our body and soul. We will feel great and alluring in our bulky sweaters.
I wish you a safe and happy winter!
To your health!