There is no point in hiding it: it has been a stressful year. All our norms, lives & livehood has been turned upside down, we have been isolated, left in fear and anxiety.
We all had to find ways to cope with stress, me included. When we are stressed we are more likely to crave sweets and fatty foods, have our sleep disrupted, and past the first initial bout of adrenaline response, struggle with our levels of energy, so looking for more stimulants to carry on.
And this is when it gets complicated. While having a slice of cake and coffee as treat once in a while is one of the many pleasure of life, relying on sweets, coffee, stimulants, fatty foods, comfort foods like ready made meals, crisps or alchool can hinder our ability to cope with stress, creating a vicious circle that will keep us in that disfunctional zone for much longer.
Breaking vicious cycles is difficult for everybody, so it is much better to put in place “more efficient coping strategies” once we realize that we are stressed.
Make these ” positive coping strategies” the easiest as possible, so that they are really easy to stick to.
Personally I found what works for me, so that when I see the first signs of stress I can act fast to support my resiliency.
I am not a big avocado eater, but when I am stressed my craving for fatty food increases and so avocado is perfect for that. I have it in all sorts of ways in open sandwiches or salad which make it perfect for busy days or when you simply feel to lazy to cook.
Avocado is super rich in nutrients, from potassium to vitamins B, but most of all it “brain food” with its rich content of moninsaturated fats that help feed our brain cells that are made of essentially fats.
Another benefit of avocado is that will help you feeling full and fight sugar cravings, stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
RAW COCOA DRINK
I have already posted about this little trick of mine for when I feel drained I crave coffee and I am in need of a sweet. Basically it is quite normal to race for coffee and sweets when you are in need of energy and need to keep going, the problem is that coffee and sugar can boost you sense of energy and focus on the moment, but end up sapping you energy later on, making you even more tired. So my strategy is that as soon as I feel that I ma relying too much on coffee and the I am craving sweets more than usual, I switch on something that will give me the same boost of energy and attention, satisfy my “sweet” craving and it is utterly delicious too! It can’t go wrong, can it?
My favourite “healthy swap” is this delicious raw cocoa & cinnamon drink that has the benefit not only to satisfy my sugar craving and boost my energy better than a coffee, but it also rich and anti-oxidants and crucially magnesium a mineral that is important for calm and good sleep.
VITAMIN C RICH FOODS
Vitamin C is often what I call a “forgotten” vitamin but is also one that we need to have every day as it gets eliminated daily with our urine. I personally always feel more energetic when I have foods rich in vitamin C, which is in fact a vitamin needed for hundred of biological reactions, from supporting our immune system, iron absorption, detoxification and energy production too.
One of my favourite way to get more vitamin C into my daily die strawberries ( but any other berry would do) and this lovely “Grapefruit, clementine & lemon juice”.
Also, did you know that Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen? So, yes, some vitamin C will also help the formation of those frown lines….
This full-bodied tea that originates from South Africa, is one of my favourite drink when I am a bit stressed and craving too much coffee. It is caffeine and tannin free, so I can have it until late at night. I like to have it when I need to take a break as a substitute for my coffee. Try it with a few drops of lemon and no sugar!
HOME MADE LOW SUGAR TREATS
If you really need to have some sweet treats go for low sugar homemade ones, so you can reduce the damage. Too much sugar can create a rollercoaster of high and low sugar levels ( reactive hypoglicemia ) that can leave you even more tired, irritable and unable to function well, on top of giving you an addiction to the white stuff.
Sugar is inflammatory and hormone disruptor. Insulin resistance ( which happens when your cells become resistant to insulin, the hormone that is supposed to drive the sugar into your cell and out of your blood stream) is an underlying factor for many conditions, and a disruptor of for your immune system.
So if you get that craving for the white stuff, you cab try for all the things above or treat yourself with something sweet but not too sugary and possibly made with wholesome ingredients rather than processed stuff.
If you are looking for more wholesome a low sugar recipes, have a look around the blog or into my Vegetarian Cookbook on sale here.