Instead of actually listening to my body when I started feeling crap, or when I was retching over a toilet bowl, where it was obviously telling me I was ill, I tried to keep working, and only gave up when my sinuses were so blocked and felt so swollen that keeping my eyes open was difficult. Then comes the hard part. You feel ill, you go home, you reach for the duvet… and all you want is comfort food.
When you’re ill, or busy, or stressed, it’s so easy to quit and give up on your health and fitness goals. So here you’ll find some cheats so that when you’re craving major comfort food, you can easily replace it with a more nutritious option and get a hit of similar flavours to your favourite guilty pleasures, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
Also, they’re quick and easy to make – if you’re anything like me, you don’t have time to faff around in the kitchen forever!
Craving…? Well don’t eat that, eat this…
Pizza? If I want something bad for me, this is usually my go-to junk food. Or hangover food haha! There are great cauliflower or quinoa healthier versions which clean up the crust, but they’re still quite dairy heavy (and if you’re ill you should avoid dairy as it builds up mucus in the body – nice!), so instead of considering pizza, whip yourself up a tomato and lentil soup (sometimes I cheat and buy mine!) This way you get much higher nutritional value but with all the tomatoey flavour of pizza, plus protein and complex carbs that are MUCH better for you in the lentils. If I’m reeeeally craving pizza, I like to add a teaspoon of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, some chopped black olives, fresh basil garnish, lots of black pepper… and if you’re not suffering from a cold, a cheeky pinch of mozzarella or parmesan won’t kill you.
Pasta? I’m not actually a big pasta person, so I actually prefer the healthier swap. Make some courgetti with a spiralizer (or I actually just grate mine!), and throw in pesto or tomato sauce, and take your pick of your ‘pasta’ dish:
- shrimp and smoked salmon
- broccoli and pine nuts
- tuna and anchovies
- chicken and red pepper
- tomato and black olive
- mixed vegetable
Chinese food? I’m told this is a popular craving but I have to say I’m not a big Chinese food fan, I much prefer Thai (and I mean real thai bangkok street food, although UK thai restaurants seem to do a whole lot better job of making great food than Chinese restaurants here do!)
Anyway, go for a SMALL quantity of BROWN rice, and bigger portion of veggies and protein in a mixed stir fry. Stir fry your vegetables, chicken and or prawns in low-sodium soy sauce, and replace sticky white rice with brown rice, or, alternatively, make ‘coodles’ (courgette noodles, as above with using courgette as a pasta replacement). Or do it properly, without improvising, and check out this stir-fried chicken with broccoli and brown rice.
Burrito? This one can be soooo easily replaced with something far less heavy – healthy wholewheat fish wraps (/tacos!). Marinate some white fish in tomato sauce with some chilli, lime and cayenne pepper. Warm some black beans (and sweet corn if you fancy), shred some lettuce, and stick it in a wholewheat wrap. Skip out on the cheese and the sour cream as they really ain’t good, and it tastes amazing without anyway. You can also substitute chicken in for the fish if you like.
I like to whip up a homemade natural guacamole too – you can find a real recipe here, but The Boy and I prefer to just roughly mash an avocado with a little red onion and black pepper.
Chocolate? This is hard, but sugar is more addictive than cocaine – TRUE STORY – they tested it on rats.
So it’s UBER important to kick the habit, because the reward centre in the brain stimulated when you eat this stuff overrides your body’s ability to tell when it’s eaten enough. And so you eat more. And you want more dopamine-pleasure-hormones so you reach for more of the sweet stuff. And next thing you know, your jeans won’t zip up.Late night chocolate cravings can be kicked in the ass with THIS amazing tea – Pukka cinnamon and licorice. I swear by it.
So there you have it.
What do you crave when tired/ill/stressed? And how do you avoid giving in to temptation?
I’m now off back to bed to sleep it off, as I feel like death. 🙂