Do you ever turn to food for comfort when you are sad, tired, stressed, mad or lonely?
Food is one of our first experiences of comfort as newborns and food continues to be a symbol of love and nurturance throughout our lives. So, it is natural to reach for certain foods for comfort when we experience uncomfortable emotions.
Emotional eating, as it is now called, can become a bad habit if you regularly binge and neglect to face the issues that are making you uncomfortable. But nurturing yourself with food once in awhile doesn’t have to be all bad.
Perhaps you have had an unusual conflict with a coworker, a stressful drive home in a snowstorm or a week when you have worked yourself ragged and feel like you deserve a treat. Or maybe….let’s say you attended an event that you had looked forward to for months. Gosh, perhaps you even bought a new outfit and got your hair done in anticipation of the wonderful gathering. But then …at the event…. maybe due to a misunderstanding and miscommunication with a dear old friend and then an unaccepted apology….you left the event, heartbroken… with tears in your eyes…..sniff, sniff.
Of course these are all hypothetical situations…but should you find yourself in such a circumstance that moves you to reach for food as comfort, why not reach for something healthy like this Brown Rice Pudding made in the rice cooker!
You can curl up on the couch and sulk while the rice and cinnamon bubble away to creamy, smooth, comforting perfection.
BROWN RICE PUDDING
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
2 cups water
4 cups milk (I use vanilla, unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar, or a little more to taste
1 vanilla bean pod, split, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cardamom or nutmeg – optional
1.Put the rice and water in the rice cooker and put on rice setting
2. When the rice is cooked, stir in the milk, raisins, brown sugar, vanilla, sugar,cinnamon and cardamom.
3. Set on rice setting again.
4.Comfort yourself with warm rice pudding…MMMMmmmmmm!
Tips to healthy emotional eating:
Show respect for your food and yourself; serve it in a pretty bowl or dish. (This bowl is from my family home – circa 1960′s. It was a favourite bowl of mine as a little girl. Sniff, sniff……)
Eat the food slowly and with minimal distractions so that you can notice the smell, taste and texture.
Be aware of when your belly feels full – time to stop eating and do something else that makes you feel good: go for a walk or jog, call a friend or family member, do some yoga, take a bath, meditate, cuddle with a loved one….
Don’t let the food take the place of dealing with the problem. Take time to think about resolutions to the conflict or situation.
If you find yourself eating out of emotions instead of physical hunger daily – you need to take a look at your stress level and coping methods. Make some healthy changes to reduce your stress level and learn new coping techniques.
Be grateful for all that you have…your life, family, friends, food, home….dog!