Healthy Swaps for Your Favorite Comfort Food During COVID-19

Healthy Swaps for Your Favorite Comfort Food During COVID-19
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If Instagram is anything to go by, COVID-19 has caused a serious rise in baking. People are stuck at home and stressed — a recipe for baking if ever there was one.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The pleasure that comes from making and sharing a delicious meal is sacred, but there are two things I try to be mindful of with my love of comfort food.

Am I eating my way through my emotions and not addressing them?

And am I choosing foods that will cause me suffering due to my endometriosis (or painful bladder syndrome)?

This doesn’t mean that I can’t also comfort eat or that I’m demonizing comfort eating (especially during this particularly tough time). It just means that I’m being mindful of the way that I’m doing it. I’m trying to make it intentional and healthy, while still enjoying the release that it brings me.

So, today I wanted to share with you some ideas for making your favorite comfort foods more endo-friendly.

Cake

Who doesn’t love some cake? No one, judging by the state of our supermarkets.

Flour is in seriously high demand.

But white flour, butter, and sugar can cause a lot of inflammation and may increase pain levels, so I’ve been making some healthier (but seriously delicious) versions over the past couple weekends.

I’ve been using ingredients such as ground almonds, coconut flour, nut milk, coconut oil, flax seeds, inulin syrup, or stevia. These ingredients help to create a cake that is blood sugar-stabilizing and won’t cause heightened inflammation.

If you’re wondering about eggs, it really depends on your body. I use flax or chia most of the time, but if you’re not sensitive to eggs (having a sensitivity can cause inflammation in the body), then organic eggs from free-range hens mean you’ll be avoiding any added hormones or chemicals that might affect endometriosis.

I use recipes from Sweet Laurel’s Bakery, tweaking them to suit my needs with endo. For example, I tend to use inulin syrup instead of maple syrup and flax eggs instead of eggs. And with total honesty, I can say these are some of the best cakes I’ve made in my life!

Chocolate

Chocolate is such a powerful comfort food because it actually helps us to feel good. But of course, most conventional chocolate is packed with sugar, which can trigger painful endometriosis flare-ups.

I’ve developed my taste buds over the years to adore dark chocolate, which is usually lower in sugar, and now I actually eat 100% dark chocolate with no sugar at all. I am addicted to this range and these buttons!

But if that’s a bit too extreme for you, you could try chocolate made with natural sugar-free sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit. In the U.K., SoFree is a good brand, and over in the U.S., Lakanto is incredible!

You could even try your hand at making your own sugar-free or low-sugar chocolate. Plenty of recipes are online, like this one and this one.

Pizza

Pizza is another comfort food that can cause really big blood sugar spikes and raise inflammatory levels due to the gluten, carbohydrates, and dairy from the cheese.

One way I love to make pizza healthier is to use cauliflower. Yes, really. Cauliflower can make an incredible base for pizza, and cruciferous veggies like cauliflower have been shown to support the body to clear out old and excess estrogen, which can affect endo. I then top the pizza with veggies to help reduce inflammation, and either buy a vegan cheese made with good ingredients like coconut oil or I make my own using this great recipe.

It does mean that having a pizza is a much lengthier process, but given that many of us are in quarantine, it makes an event out of the occasion and is a fun way to spend a Saturday evening.

And I promise you, the pizzas are delicious.

Bread

Is there anything more comforting than a loaf of bread? Not to me there isn’t. But of course, I can’t eat the standard bread due to gluten being inflammatory for me.

Bread can also cause blood sugar spikes, so if you are craving a hunk of traditional bread, one made from whole grains will be a better option, as they are more slow-releasing.

Alternatively, some wonderful gluten-free brands are out there, such as Rana’s Bakery — the bagels are so good. Incredible gluten-free recipes also are online if you want to see what all the baking fuss is about at the moment.

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Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.

Jessica is the creator of This EndoLife.com, a website dedicated to supporting women with endometriosis, women’s health conditions and the associated mental health issues that accompany them. She is also host of This EndoLife Podcast, where she interviews guests managing chronic illnesses and mental health problems in their own unique ways and are helping others to do the same. Jessica has a background in the arts and charity, having spent the past six years working with organizations supporting women with endometriosis, vulnerable young people and survivors of domestic violence and trafficking.
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Jessica is the creator of This EndoLife.com, a website dedicated to supporting women with endometriosis, women’s health conditions and the associated mental health issues that accompany them. She is also host of This EndoLife Podcast, where she interviews guests managing chronic illnesses and mental health problems in their own unique ways and are helping others to do the same. Jessica has a background in the arts and charity, having spent the past six years working with organizations supporting women with endometriosis, vulnerable young people and survivors of domestic violence and trafficking.

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