Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stress Eating

Food is amazing.

It is required to keep us alive and it gives us tremendous pleasure.

When things feel out of control in our life, it is natural to turn to food for comfort and pleasure.

Making the connection between what is good for us at a deeper level and what tastes best to us requires a meditative attention to detail. To discern the amount of joy we are getting from a bite of something loaded with vitamins minerals and photochemicals compared to something that has no nutritive value happens more in the mind than in the mouth. The mouth tastes the sugary pastry, the crunchy baguette and says, "Yum!" but the mind may be telling us something different.

I have been in the middle of a high stress situation for the past two weeks, so my old friend "Stress Eating Monster" has been camping out on the couch. He goes with me to the grocery store and stands next to me in the kitchen as I bake a few dozen chocolate chip cookies.(Current favorite recipe is to follow the directions on the pack of the Guittard chocolate chips.)

(taken from their website)

Yield: 7 dozen 2 inch cookies

2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in chips and walnuts.

Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

My old nemesis "The Scale" is like a ship turned the wrong direction, and my paddles are giant spoonfuls of ice cream.


Well, everyone has these moments in life. Part of the trick to maintaining a healthy relationship with food is to not turn it into a battle between good and evil.
Over the past two weeks in addition to the chocolate chip cookies, I have made a few amazing salads and really enjoyed them.

Both salads started with chopped raw spinach.

The first salad was a combination of black beans, strawberries, blueberries, grapes and 2T balsamic vinegar. The black beans were a little odd with the berries, but if I paid attention to what I was eating and alternated between a mouthful of spinach with beans, and a bite of strawberry or blueberry with spinach it tasted heavenly.

The other salad I made took advantage of some leftover roasted parsnips, turnips and sweet potato with some red wine vinegar (mixed with a little black pepper and red wine and a hint of olive oil).

By focusing on good things to have around the house (avocado, blueberries, spinach) and putting the worse choices in the back of the cupboard in opaque containers so they are out of sight it makes it easier to feel what I need to feel instead of numbing the pain.

Bad food choices in moderation aren't the end of the world. Tilt the scale so you are making more good choices than bad and you will continue to make progress toward your goal of being the happiest healthiest version of you that you can be.

That is my wish for you,

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