Comfort food healthy: our recipes that boost morale and body

The scene is as follows: the main character of the film has just been dumped by his girlfriend. His best friend ran to cheer him up and pulled out heavy artillery: XXL ice cream. This situation, seen and read, could be gleaned from any romantic comedy, in which ice cream was the favorite post-breakup food of a pop culture fed generation. But these sweet delights are not alone in the cuddly food pantheon. According to a Harris Interactive study for Deliveroo in 2018, pizza, hamburgers and pasta carbonara are three of the favorite home-cooked meals of the French, who also admit to liking chocolate, pastries and cheese when they are feeling sad or depressed. It’s as if, to bounce back after a bit of slack, nothing beats fat, salt, and sugar. At times like these, “we don’t think about what’s really good for us, our culinary instincts are completely irrational,” explains Victoire Loup, culinary journalist, consultant, and author.

Comfort food

Who hasn’t devoured a ham shell or Nutella sandwich like an 8 year old dreaming of better days? “There’s this notion of regression with good food that goes beyond what we eat,” he continues. It’s a matter of texture, even of container: “eating in a bowl with a spoon can transport us back to our childhood and give us that feeling of comfort we seek when things go wrong,” he explains. However, despite the pleasure that the first bite provides, this hard-to-digest food has no nutritional properties that are truly refreshing. Is home cooking just fast food in disguise? No, says Clémence Catz, co-author of “Comfort food… healthy and organic” (Éditions Terre Vivante), which offers tons of (really) helpful recipes in her book. Brain-hacking healthy dishes with a texture worthy of the most decadent home-cooked meal. For us sauces, creams, gratins, purees! And if it’s made with uplifting ingredients, all the better. We love anything that contains magnesium (a powerful natural anti-stress agent), tryptophan (which participates in the production of serotonin), omega-3 (which maintains nerve balance) and vitamin C (which tones the body). Follow the guide.

Shopping lists are (really) entertaining

To keep it from cracking in case of a slump, chef and naturopath Angèle Ferreux-Maeght compiled a list of foods that should always be in the house.

CABBAGE This superfood is packed with chlorophyll, iron, vitamin C and folic acid, which aid in the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone.

Comfort food recipes? Kale chips are made by massaging the leaves with a small amount of olive oil, mustard, brewer’s yeast and soy sauce. Bake at 160°C for 20 to 30 minutes until you get crispy and very tasty leaves.

SMALL FAT FISH Their omega-3 content allows for better communication between neurons and greater neural stability in times of mild stress or anxiety.

Comfort food recipes? We make creamy rillettes by crushing herring, mackerel or sardines with good raw butter and a little seaweed. We spread everything on rye sourdough bread.

OIL Walnuts, hazelnuts or even pumpkin seeds contain vitamin B6 and magnesium, allies of choice in the fight against depression.

Comfort food recipes? We make our own spread with three handfuls of hazelnuts from Piedmont. After spreading on parchment paper, bake at 200°C, until cooked. They are then massaged with a cloth to remove the skin, then blended gently to achieve a smooth texture. Dark chocolate melted with a little plant milk. Mix with hazelnuts.

© JHJR/iStock

BLACK CHOCOLATE Magnesium, present in large quantities in dark chocolate, plays an important role in regulating the nervous system, and has a calming effect.

Comfort food recipes? We love hot chocolate wraps by heating 1 liter of vegetable (rice or wheat) milk, in which we melt half a wafer of dark chocolate once the heat is off. Mix and then sprinkle everything with a pinch of cinnamon.

SOBA CAKE Packed with trace elements and minerals, buckwheat is a re-energizing, easy-to-consume food in pancake form, which can be purchased at organic, ready-made stores.

Comfort food recipes? Relive the vegetables from the previous day by reheating them in the pancakes, then adding a little hummus or avocado. In the sweet version, a simple drizzle of maple syrup on a pre-heated pancake will transport you back to your childhood days.

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