Monday, December 28, 2009

Healthy Comfort Food

Let's cut to the chase. The final weeks of the year can be a tough time for sugar addicts and emotional eaters. Really tough. All those foods that you work so hard to avoid all the other 50 weeks of the year are literally surrounding you! Dark-chocolate-covered almonds at the pharmacy. Cakes and cookies at work. Cheese platters and cracker assortments and sweet drinks galore - even in your own kitchen! (How did that happen?) It can be daunting; it can make you want to throw in the towel. As one client put it, "I don't want to do the diet. It feels like a punishment."

How did we create a world where eating fresh juicy salads, tangy fruit smoothies, creamy avocados, savory raw goat cheeses, sweet garnet yams and quality dark chocolate feels like a punishment?

Clearly, it's not about food, it's about feelings. Feelings are what emotional eating is all about.

To begin, we have EMOTIONAL TIES to certain foods, ties based on our childhood associations and past experiences with these foods and ties based on messages we receive from family, media and society about what these foods represent. "Denying" ourselves these foods cuts to the quick of our inner child. Ouch.

Second, we USE FOOD AS A DRUG, to cover up, numb and avoid our feelings. Eat this, forget your problems (you know the drill). Better yet, have a brand new problem to distract you (you choose: stomach ache, weight gain, despair, guilt, shame, etc.)

Emotional eating comes to a head during holidays because these ritualized moments and events bring up a lot of feelings. Hard feelings for many of us. Our hearts may feel practically ripped open as we are forced to confront personal loss, stressful family dynamics, workplace pressures, cultural expectations and social conditioning all at the same time. No wonder we want to stuff the world into oblivion!

Food doesn't really help, though. We all know this. So the trick is to learn how to negotiate our feelings, recognize our needs and find alternatives.

Blogs, books, counseling all can help. That's why I'm here, dedicating these pages to supporting you. And I am just one of many. When you feel like you are "failing" at following your program, there is a lot of support for you. You are not alone.

Always remember, YOU CAN DO IT! You can achieve your highest potential, you can have the healthy, sane, balanced relationship with food that you KNOW, in your heart of hearts, is your birthright! Your natural, radiant state of being is part of you RIGHT NOW!

Understanding what foods best serve the health of your body-mind-spirit is an important and necessary step in this process. In order to be healthy, you must base your diet upon the evolution-appropriate, fresh natural foods for which the human body was designed. That's just the bottom line, and you know what I'm talking about! It's not factory-generated chicken eggs, or protein bars, or 100-calorie packs of canola-fried tortilla chips or even low-fat ice cream that will help you lose weight and feel great! No matter how much the diet and food industries want you to believe otherwise, you KNOW what is real food, and that's the food you need to THRIVE.

One of my favorite nutritionists, Natalia Rose, addresses this issue in Part One of her newly released e-book, available to members of the Detox the World Community. The following quote made me lol; I share it with you here:

“My friends, no other species in history eats according to a clock or from a package, or chooses their food based on the numbers on a label or the persuasive powers of a commercial! Can you imagine a bunch of bunnies huddled around a TV screen determining what to eat after watching an ad for Mr. McGregor’s carrot chips–or buying into the olestra version? Yes, in our culture, we’d rather consume indigestible fats and have gas an diarrhea than go without our potato chips! Olestra is right up there with saccharine, margarine, and fat-free milk products–marketed as healthful to the addicted, hypnotized masses. This is your brain on social conditioning!”

(Natalia Rose, Emotional Eating SOS Part 1, page 20.)

Can't you just picture those crazy bunnies?!? It's funny because we all know they know better. And so do we.

Overcoming emotional eating involves exercising our intelligence and experience, breaking free of what the mainstream tells us is "good for us" and realizing that our bodies desire something different, something more TRUE and LIFE-GENERATING. Real food. That is the diet piece. It is not the only piece of the puzzle, but it is an important one.

There will always be situations that drive us to seek comfort outside of ourselves. As we progress on our path of wisdom and self-knowledge, we learn ways to cope with these situations that actually help to move through the feelings, even beyond the feelings so that we can solve the underlying problem! These ways do not harm us, they do not sabotage our efforts to be healthy, they allow us to be clear and to attain and maintain our ideal weight.

Of course naturally, in the meantime, we have to eat something! Sometimes, we have to eat a LOT of something. May that something really serve you. May it move through your body with a quickness, leaving little or no waste residue behind. You may need food to help you get through today, but choose wisely and it won't ruin your tomorrow.

My number one rule of thumb is this: you can't go wrong with vegetables. Vegetables are the best health food, the best diet food, the best alkalinizing food, the best food period for humans to eat. Choose your favorites, and when the need arises, eat piles of them. Steamed broccoli and cauliflower and summer squashes, baked roots and winter squashes, beets and parsnips and leafy greens. Serve them with spices, seasonings, butter or flaxseed oil, Himalayan pink salt (my favorite!), or even a sauce (mushroom-garlic-tomato sautée anyone?) Fill up on these foods when you need to EAT. Add salads, add avocado, or substitute raw goat cheese or fish for the starchy veggies. Eat well, and be well.

Here is a list of incredibly tasty comfort foods that help to hit the spot without derailing your best intentions. With deference to Food Combining guidelines, may you enjoy them with gusto!


Baked Garnet Yams, served with flaxseed oil or organic butter and sea salt.

A bowlful of Baked Beets topped with pesto if you like, or raw goat cheese.

Organic Vegetable Soup, canned, loaded up with leftover veggies or chopped greens and curry paste

Practically Raw Miso Soup


Dulse seaweed, right out of the bag!

1 or 2 Bananas + 1-2 Tablespoons Raw Almond Butter.

3-4 Medjool dates + a big handful of raw cashews.

Raw carrots dipped in Ginger-Miso dressing.

Raw Goat Cheese, plain or stuffed into leaves (romaine, endive, raddichio).

One Avocado, sprinkled with Herbamare or Spike. Eat out of the shell, or wrap in a nori sheet.


Freshly blended or packaged Almond Milk with cinnamon. Sweeten if desired.

"Cereal Coffee" (Pero, Inka, Cafix) with agave or raw honey and Coconut Creamer. (A new product that, while processed, makes a decent alternative to pasteurized Half and Half.)

Nut/Seed-Based Green Smoothie


Organic Dark Chocolate (70%+) or Sacred Chocolate or other Raw Chocolate Bar

Instant Fudge (1 teaspoon each: raw almond butter, raw cacao powder, agave or maple syrup)

Instant Halvah (equal parts raw tahini and raw honey)

Frozen Banana "Ice Cream" (use juicer Blank or a regular blender + patience!)

Frozen Berry Sorbet (just whir frozen berries in blender - quick and sweet!)


glutenfreeforgood said...


This is perfect timing! Although I'm supposed to know better, I've fallen off the wagon the past couple of weeks. Some red wine here and there, a piece of cheesecake, some tasty muffins, treats the darling little neighbor girls made and brought over with such love (and sugar), gluten-free/vegan cupcakes my daughter made and on and on. Oh my gosh, it eventually catches up to you (or me, I should say). I actually can't wait for this week to be over and then it's back to "normal." Your yummy looking recipes will help kick-start the new year.

Thanks, sweet girl!

Peace, love and raw veggies!

DeLeon said...

Well said! Excellent food suggestion list also....
I love the image of the bunnies!

You are the best!

Catherine Fabrizi said...

Hi Diana,
I have been reaching for sweets and fat laden stuff, with the breaks on, but giving in to them has had unpleasant consequences. Thank you for helping me stay on track by reminding me that the healthy "alternatives" are the real deal - feel good, taste good, true nourishment...
Love you and love your blog!

Diana Allen, MS, CNS Holistic Clinical Nutritionist said...

We all do it, folks! And then we wake up, it's a new day, and: back on the horse.

Thank you, dear friends, for your honesty and your resolve. I am so glad to be of service.

Health really is the greatest wealth. There's simply no substitute for feeling as GREAT as we do when we make the right choices.

Love to YOU,