Me, the interviewee

Hey there everyone! I hope your day is going as sunny as it is outside my office window…

The other day, I was asked by a fellow blogger, Tiffany of The Gracious Pantry, to help her with an article she was working on for her clean eating blog. The topic was about stress eating. There were a list of questions on the topic that I am posting my responses to below. And today, she posted her article. It is very informative and gives great advice on the topic of emotional/stress eating, along with ways to combat it. Take a look here.

1. How would you personally define “stress eating” or “emotional eating”?
Stress or emotional eating, to me, is impulse eating. Impulse because one does not think before diving into the food of choice. This type of eating is almost done unconsciously, usually ending in remorse or more unhealthy food choices.

2. Do you, or does anyone you know turn to food when stressed?
I have definitely eating emotionally or turned to food when I have been stressed. It’s an automatic response, stemming from that flight or fight reaction that our ancestors put to good use long, long ago. Now, it just hinders the mental, physical, and emotional ties with food; at least with me.

3. How do you think this impacts a clean eating lifestyle?
I do think that emotional, stress-related eating has an impact on a clean eating lifestyle, or at least can. When we are stressed or upset or sometimes even happy, we tend to reach for something that will bring us joy. Sugary or salty food choices are made without a second though and usually they are not the sugary or salty whole foods that are “clean.” And most of the time, these food choices lead to other unhealthy food choices or cravings. This, obviously, may throw off someone who is new to clean eating or has a tendency of veering towards a conventional, Standard American Diet.

4. What would your suggestions be for someone who is a stress eater and trying to follow a clean eating lifestyle?

Get exercise. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress and curb cravings, not to mention just make you feel better. Even just 10 minutes a day helps. Yoga is also a great way to reduce stress and help you stay in tuned with your body and mind. Another idea is to write down every piece of food you put into your mouth. Sounds tedious, and yes, it is, but you will be much more aware of what you are eating and may even see patterns of why you are eating a certain food.

5. Please share any tips you may have for handling stressful moments in ways other than eating. (Please be budget conscious)

Yoga, yoga, yoga. Like above, exercise helps reduce stress. Yoga is a fantastic, non-impact way of cleansing your mind and body, and getting the joints, lungs, heart, and stress moving. Other ways to combat stress is to stop everything and just breathe. Take a break from the internet, the cell phones, a hectic work environment and take a few moments to breathe and disconnect.

6. If somebody feels they absolutely have to eat to handle a stressful situation in their lives, what foods do you think would be the best foods to “use”?
 I would definitely suggest people grabbing freshly juiced greens and/or juice when needing to handle stress. This may not be the most convenient thing to get but, hey, that just might help one forget about the stress that drove them to make or pick up a green juice. Fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates are another, much more available option. Try sprouted whole grain bread topped with unsweetened almond butter and sliced banana. Filling, satisfying, wholesome, and even tastes a little sinful. Perfect combination for fight or flight stresses.

Anyway, back to more food writing. Last night we had a feast. Made for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, the dinner was composed of:

Green Salad
Yummy Lentils cooked with spinach, feta cheese, and marsala powder
Brown Rice
And for the carnivores at the table, chicken wrapped in prosciutto (I was told it was amazing)
Fancy, fancy.
Thanks Mama Samaan for the great dinner!
Side note: I’m publicly announcing that Sunday, January 17th is mine and my boyfriend’s 2 year anniversary! Crazy how time flies so fast! But tomorrow night, Friday, we are celebrating (celebration day one of three) at California Cafe and using all the change that (my boyfriend) has been laying around the house, in jean pockets, found in the washer/dryer, etc. This may sound a little weird, but we counted just the quarters last night, and we have $68. Definitely using that money. Why the heck not! And I still need to count out the pennies, nickels, and dimes… we just may be rich…
Anyway, more on the anniversary celebrating tomorrow. Bye!