The last couple of weeks I’ve been in need of some comfort.
They’ve been nuts-o! My website was hacked (twice!), the hosting stopped working and my web basically exploded and stopped working all together. And all of this happened after a trip where I came home with a not-so-fun traveler’s bug. So as soon as I was able to eat again, I was craving some serious comfort food.
But what really is comfort food?
The definition is, “food that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family, or friends”. It’s all about feeling like we’re home. -Like being curled up on the couch with a blanket, wearing a pair of fuzzy socks or a warm hug. Because this is based on personal experiences and memories, what is comforting is different for everybody.
That being said, ALL food is supposed to make us feel good.
Eating should make us feel fulfilled and nourished. To literally comfort us physically by satisfying our hunger and emotionally bringing us together with those we are sharing a meal with.
When we are babies we are fed while in the arms of a caregiver. Eating makes us feel good and there is no guilt involved. But somewhere in adolescence or adulthood it takes a turn. Food becomes something we crave, stress over and often times, feel bad about eating. We judge ourselves and say we are being good or bad, or we put food into “this will make me fat “and “this will make me skinny” categories. This is so ingrained in our culture and so much of this is unconscious, making it really difficult to change.
There is some science involved in why food is comforting too. Foods high in carbohydrates can increase the body’s production of serotonin, which can make you feel good, calm and happy. And studies show that foods higher in fat can trigger the reward centres of the brain, which in the moment may make you feel less stressed and put you in a better mood. The problem however, is these chemical changes that helped us in the past when we needed a boost to find richer foods in order to survive, no longer serve us. We now have access to these foods everywhere and end up overeating them.
Preparing a dish that makes you feel good because it reminds you of your childhood and taking pleasure in eating is fine. Abusing these foods and making them your best friend… not so good. And more often than not, we end up grabbing the cheap and fast chemically processed version of these foods. And if you want to feel that comfy feeling, reaching for those sugary or processed foods will actually have the opposite effect of what you’re looking for. The result after eating these foods is far from comfortable.
So let’s put a new spin on comfort food. Feeling cozy, satisfied and nourished.
Which brings me to these two delicious recipes. Both are easy to make, and will achieve that grounded, warm, comfortable feeling you’re looking for. But with healthy fats and sweetness.
2 cups chopped pitted dates
3 tbs chia seeds
1 cup water
1 tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut oil (+1tbs melted)
* Preheat oven to 350F/ 175C. Line an 8-in baking pan with parchment paper. (Press a create in the parchment at the edges, and fold the extra under.
* Combine dates, water and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until thick; 6 to 8 min. Remove from heat.
* Stir in and chia seeds. Let cool.
* In a bowl, combine oats, buckwheat flour, chestnut flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add coconut oil and stir until mixture is crumbly.
* Spread 2/3 of the mixture into the pan and press firmly. Layer date mixture over crust and spread evenly. Cover with remaining mixture and press down lightly.
* Bake for 30 to 35 min (until top is golden brown). Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely in pan, about 1.5 hours. Cut into squares 12-16 squares.