Is comfort eating really comfortable? This is a valid question and one I have come to today simply because lately I have not been comfortable - and damned if it isn't because I have been comfort eating.
When I did the intro to my baking course I clearly stated that I bake every day. This is no lie, not even stretching the truth a jot. I honestly do bake every single day. A daily staple is bread. I have three men living under the roof and sandwiches/toast/toasted sandwiches are the order of each day. Beyond that, though, I love to bake treats. I also like a challenge, so I am often experimenting and in experimenting there is a LOT of tasting and I don't hold back. You will also note on the course that I emphasise that I like to use real butter (full fat - whole hog, butter) when I bake. So by now you get the picture. I bake a lot and not all of it is super-healthy. This means that when it comes down to a need to get into some serious comfort eating, baby I am the queen.
The way I see it, comfort eating goes hand in hand with love. Good, bad or indifferent - the base line is L-O-V-E.
Good = In love, watching romantic movies, feeling open to all the good stuff and enjoying it.
Bad = Dumped, broken-hearted, let-down by someone you need approval from, hurt, exhausted, scared ... (man, that list could go on and on)
Indifferent = Who cares? I'm getting old and fat anyway why not enjoy it? Hey, I want the food, I'll eat the damn food if I want ...
Now to the uncomfortable part. I am edging to the big 5-0 (a little faster than is comfortable) and this means that the metabolism slows down and I'm not as invincible as I used to believe. Last week was a BIG comfort eating week for me (including doughnuts and croissants - to name but two decadent delights) and after almost two weeks of sleepless nights, constant exhaustion, headaches and sinus issues I finally clued in. I was in the classic Catch-22 situation. I was tired from lack of sleep, depressed (likewise from lack of sleep), in pain and very, very unhappy and what did I do to deal with eat? You're darn right - I grabbed another bit of comfort cake; which of course made me feel worse. Vicious cycle. At 3:00 a.m. in the morning I had an epiphany. Too much comfort was making me uncomfortable. I immediately switched back to the gluten free ... um, diet is too strong a word... gluten free "lifestyle". Two brilliant nights of sleep, clear sinuses and no headaches and I'm feeling so much better. I want to emphasise that I am not allergic to gluten, I have just found that time has changed me physically. I still eat a slice of cake or pie or croissant at least once or twice a week, but my comfort eating is becoming more savvy with how it makes me feel at the end of the day.
My next course will be on gluten free baking. No, I will not be including bread made with GF flour (tastes, looks and feels like a rock - yeach!) or cake for that matter, but I will show you some fantastic treats that are super easy (and some a little more challenging), just perfect for comfortable comfort eating.