Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother

Nov
27
2013

'Tis the Season of Comfort and Food

CRAVING WINTER CARBS? THERE ARE REASONS FOR THAT

So, the season is upon us—the season of comfort and joy and carbs.

As I write this, I am wolfing down leftover cheese-stuffed pasta with Alfredo sauce and a grilled cheese and bacon panini sandwich beckons.

These are the things that make me drool when the winter months arrive.

The other night, I was craving salty potato chips and the only thing preventing me from devouring a family-sized bag was the cold trip to the corner store to get them. This was after a pretty solid day of eating; the kind of day when no matter how much you consume you just didn’t feel full or satisfied.

After a summer of salads, light sandwiches, and a rigid fitness routine, all bets are off. I am like a bear storing up for winter, craving an endless amount of carbohydrate-heavy deliciousness.

Comfort. I want comfort, in the form of a heaping plate of spaghetti with big, fat meatballs, cheesy chicken Parmesan, thick, wintery soups, and homemade mac and cheese. Seriously, I could happily tuck myself under a toasty blanket and eat mac and cheese for days. Don’t judge me. I know I am not alone.

If you’re among the cold weather, carb-craving crew, there are reasons behind the sudden urge for a gooey plate of nachos, pepperoni pizza (just writing the word pizza made my belly grumble), rich pastas, stuffed baked potatoes, and loaves of fresh buttery baguette.

Carb-heavy foods temporarily work as a mood booster by raising happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. See, they’re not so bad, right?

On the downside, after the blissful high of sugar wears off, we’re hit with a low that leaves us hungry yet again.

And the even darker side—all of this yummy noshing can lead to weight gain. Sigh. But it just feels so good, like a little reward for surviving gloomy, grey days that cause our Vitamin D (also known as the sunshine vitamin) levels to dip.

Yet, too much of a good thing is unhealthy. We know that. 

But for now, I can’t resist. For the next couple of weeks, I am declaring a free-for-all. I’ll still keep my running and weight-lifting schedule, but I am going to eat like no one’s watching. Yep. That’s what I am going to do.

Then of course, I’ll return to a more sustainable way of living and eating. After all, no need to eat my way into a new jeans size.

Meantime, if you have any must-try, comfort food recipes to share, send them my way! Happy eats, folks.