Hope you are staying safe and nourished. Are there times when you are feeling a bit stressed and eating more for comfort than hunger? Well, I sure have!
When this happens, the secret is to NOT feel guilty, because we have used food to comfort us since we were children. Whether it was chicken noodle soup, warm apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream or scrambled eggs with extra cheese, these foods soothed us. Comfort foods cause a release of endorphins to help our brain feel safe, happy and relaxed, especially in a state of stress.
Why can comfort eating become an issue? It isn’t an issue if…
- All of your stress hormones are balanced
- Your blood sugar and insulin are balanced
- Your gut flora is healthy and we don’t have any digestive issues (which is a very LOW % of people, especially Americans)
- Your organs are detoxifying
- You are sleeping deeply and through the night
- Your body and liver are utilizing stored fat for energy
- You are efficiently hydrated
But as you can guess, this is not always true for the majority of us, especially if we are experiencing life stress.
When the impulse hits us to create a comforting meal, Do IT and add a bit of adult supervision:) I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and soup yesterday. So I waited until I was hungry and felt my stomach growl (we will expand on this below), then I chose Vegan cheese, fresh tomato, pea shoot sprouts and added my leftover carrot ginger soup to dip it into.
Instead of the mental power struggle that may be going on in your head of not giving yourself permission for comfort, take time to connect with your hunger signals, pause and then create a meal that helps both your inner child with your mindful adult supervision.
If you haven’t felt hunger sensations for awhile or since the beginning of quarantine and keep feeling your blood sugar dip making your brain think you are hungry, here are a few tips to connect to your TRUE hunger and cease the over-comforting and guilt cycle.
- On a morning when you wake up VERY RESTED and are not hungry, drink some lemon water or a 2 oz of green juice and wait until you feel sensations in your stomach FIRST before you eat a meal. If this does not happen, don’t stress and try some of the following tips first and then revisit this step another day.
- Between meals or upon waking try a bite of fermented veggies, wait until you have a good poo and/or you feel your digestive juices ignite. This is the time we are meant to eat so our food has the best chance to break down and become properly absorbed.
- If it is a surge of emotions you are experiencing, take 5 deep breaths, identify the main emotion without trying to fix it, drink water or tea, call a friend and then reassess your NEEDS.
- Try a piece of fresh fruit such as papaya, pineapple or an apple between meals for extra hydration and minerals. See if your mind is trying to tell you if you need more and then observe is this is true for you and what other subconscious beliefs you can uncover.
Being creative can help us enhance our physical, emotional and mental well-being. If you enjoy being creative and cooking fun meals for yourself and your loved ones, here are few ingredients to keep on hand and help get your creative and digestive juices flowing:
1. Flavor: Garlic, shallots, green onion, ginger: Add green onions toward the end of your cooking to add in a bit of freshness and flavor. In my Conscious Nutrition Recipe book I add ginger to heaps of the recipes, carrot ginger soup (recipe below) or carrot/ginger dressing. Shallots and garlic keep long are great to saute with oil for flavor with your meats or veggies.
2. Longer lasting proteins: Anchovies, smoked salmon, organic fofu: Anchovies are great to top on salad or to add into a tomato sauce for extra flavor on your pasta. My smoked salmon has been an extra burst of flavor in an egg scramble or to add into leftovers for a bit more protein. Tofu is great to add into curry or have sauteed like “chicken-free tenders”, when you don’t feel like cooking.
3. Sauces: Curry paste, tomato paste, pesto, GF soy sauce: Our taste buds demand different flavors and when I have these sauce options on hand I can make meals full of flavor.
4. Starch: Your favorite Pasta, quinoa, potatoes: Ok, ladies, we do NOT eat like men so let’s not try to follow their diet plans. There are certain times of month when STARCH is my best friend and certain times when I don’t need it. Please do not try to control this instead learn about your body and add in starch when it suits you. Learn more about Starch Meals and the Conscious Nutrition Food Tree here.
5. Sweet: Honey, dates, frozen berries and bananas: The sweet taste buds cover half of our tongue. Add a drizzle of honey in tea or on top of quinoa or fruit. Add in frozen fruit to your whole food smoothies when the taste isn’t yummy enough and have dates on hand when you are not feeling chocolate but what a pick me up. Try not to judge when you crave sweet instead add in these options and notice if your sweet craving becomes less overwhelming.
6. Salty: Cheese, olives, fresh herbs: Salt is a major component to our taste buds and organ function. There is a fine balance to where salt can become beneficial or a risk factor. When our salt craving is running wild, it is a sign we are low on essential minerals. Parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, micro greens and pea shoots have been the main fresh herbs that I am rotating to keep my minerals balanced. Rotate your cheeses and try not to have dairy two days to help with mucus and congestion.
Here is a video of my carrot-ginger soup to help us with all of the above! We added a bit of honey when my friend’s daughter need extra sweet!
If you are choosing an old meal plan or diet structure because it worked for you in the past, there may be some underlying beliefs that are not supporting you now. This can hold us back from trying foods that we love and that have healing properties.
If you are craving a different mindset around how you choose food, check out my Upcoming Course! The Appetizer course. This isn’t another “program” for you to follow, instead it is learning how to FOLLOW your body. For one week we practice and observe how your mind and body relates to food. The course begins on June 9th, Click here to learn more and sign up!
Love from your nourishment leader,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.
P.S. What are people saying about the one week course…
P.S.S. Also, if you are feeling isolated and wanting a bit more community support, head to my complementary, private Facebook Group, click below!
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