They say that the most important relationship you ever get is the one you have with yourself. But what they used not to tell is that the quality of this connection is influenced by what you eat. Do we need the new definition of so-called comfort foods then?
This is not another what you eat you become article or what healthy food should I eat index. Neither my intention is on delivering some sort of superfood ranking. This is more of a balanced gut flora is the hottest accessory of any season kind of statement. I have learned the hard way how important that is: fighting thyroid inflammation for almost two decades now.
Some of my symptoms, viewed from a distance, are amusing. For example: I can’t eat oatmeal for breakfast and not get vertigo. I won’t touch regular milk without feeling nauseous. Cheese gives me rush and most of the fruits make me sleepy. So switching two years ago to so-called healthy food options or plant-based substitutions was not something I had to do for the older version of myself or for the sake of our planet. I needed to do something for my present self and that made the process easier: it was a necessity not an investment.
That is not the case for most people. But my extreme example is just a particular story behind a universal rule about how everything in life adds up in time. Eating is one of the illustrations of this symmetry. And there are new research studies being published each day that proofs how mass produced food with diary and artificial sugar, triggers hormonal imbalance, inspire poor gut flora diversity and start inflammations or changes in the brain which result in dementia (especially for women).
With all that in mind I was thinking about the definition behind ‘comfort food’ and how misleading its common understanding is. ‘Comfort’ is not real if in a long term it charms the basic functions of a body. And I don’t mean throwing out the window all the pizzas, French fries and ice-creams of the wold and going full vegan over nigh. I am talking about small changes like adding turmeric to spaghetti or a salad to strengthen the immune system. I am thinking about basic nutrition education like how to count how many grams of protein you should consume and experimenting with what is the best food choice for a person. I wish someone have told me to read fruit yoghurt labels when I was a teenager instead of forcing me to eat it because ‘it’s healthy’. And that there are plant-based options which are as much beneficial. Or that raw cacao can make me happy and at the same time be a source of good fats and vitamins so if I mix it with banana or avocado and add almonds it is as fun and filling as my favourite chocolate (minus the refined sugar).
It is not what you eat you become.
Instead, what you eat becomes you.
So the real ‘comfort’ would be to choose consciously what the body is build of from the inside and consume what makes a person strong, energized and genuinely happy. Don’t even get me started on how this attitude should be passed on to the children…
So-called superfoods are a good place to start exercising new food strategy by hacking the ‘traditional’ recipes : giving them a gut flora friendly twist or a unaverage color that comes from adding an antioxidant booster. Healthy food can be fun if you give it a chance … (I will leave an example at the bottom of the page)
In the meantime here are my go-to comfort foods.
Spinach or any dark green leaves. The rule is: the darker, the more antioxidants it contains. I add spinach to most of my dishes: as whole leaves or a filler too boost the consumption of plant fiber. It is important to use eco farmed spinach, because leaves are easily poluted.
Quinoa and sorghum. They go gentle on the stomach and leave my mind sharp for longer. Plus are full with antioxidants and keep the blood’s sugar level in check. Quinoa also have good proteins. I use these grains as a gluten-free substitution of flour for muffins, pancakes and cakes.
Berries. Full of antioxidants, low in sugar while still being insanely sweet. Berries are the royalties among fruits. I eat them with plant-based yoghurt, with avocado muss for breakfast or use them as “chocolate chips” for pancakes (recipe below).
Anything soy. Tofu, tempeh, miso – there is a soy product for each day of the week! With the magic of little soy sauce any of these can become a whole dish or a light snack. Founding a good source of natural tofu supported many of my previous delicious moments. I eat is also in sweet version with an apple and peanut butter.
Avocado. Healthy fats bomb with fiber and protein. Plus, it has such an optimistic and energizing color. You know the saying one apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, the same applies for avocado. It supports balanced gut flora and nourish the nervous system.
Cacao raw. Do I really need to explain this one? The secret is not to use the unfatted version of cocoa powder. Otherwise you lose all the vitamins and good fats. With the right amount of the powder, seasonal fruits and yoghurt, I can firmly say I am over my milk chocolate cravings.
And now the promised recip.
How to make the best vegan pancakes?
Ingredients: 2 glasses of cooked quinoa or sorghum, one flat table spoon of hemp protein, half or one green banana (depending on how sweet you want it), one table spoon peanut butter or tahine paste (don’t be shy), plant milk of your choice (check for any added sugars), water, optional half of the natural tofu block, 2 handfuls of spinach or 2 tea spoons of matcha green tea powder
‘Decoration‘: 4 handfuls of berries, coconut flakes, cinnamon, cacao
Action: put all the ingredients in the blender. Add one glass of milk and start the machine. Keep adding milk and little water until the mixture has your favourite consistency (I prefer it more solid). Next, fry the mixture on a dry frying pan forming small pancakes. Add berries on the top of each, before the dough solidities. Bake on both sides until tanned. Put pancakes on top of each other sprinkling each with coconut flakes, cinnamon and cacao. Use optional peanut butter in between. Enjoy with no afterwards sugar crash and anti-inflammatory side effects.
Do you love it or do you love it?
Knowledge is the currency of the future. Maining it:
For more anti-inflammation food habits consider the book by Food Pharmacy. My copy is so used the pages start to fall out!
The internet is buzzing with valuable podcasts lead by doctors who speak about holistic approach towards food-health duo. Check The Doctor’s Farmacy by Dr. Mark Hyman and Feel Better, Live More hosted by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. They work better than caffeine.
To get the newest information about how different substances from food stimulate particular organs, try to read Lisa Mosconi’s book Brain Food. I dream of interviewing here about the around-period nutriment.