During the colder, winter months our bodies crave comfort foods – foods that ‘stick to your ribs,’ making you feel full and satisfied, but why? Unfortunately, the verdict is still out on this one; but some say it’s related to our serotonin levels, which are at their lowest during the winter months. Serotonin is a brain chemical that regulates mood, appetite and sleep. So, eating a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack will increase your brain’s production of serotonin making you feel better…at least temporarily. Now what to do when you’ve eaten too much?
First, determine the overdose: too much carbohydrate or protein? Feeling bloated, craving cheese, feeling jittery and a headache brewing? Sounds like a carbohydrate overdose! Or feeling like something heavy is sitting in your gut, craving sugar and feeling sleepy & slow? Then a protein overdose is your culprit.
If you are the victim of a carbohydrate overdose you need to bring your insulin down by eating a little healthy fat and protein. Sip some water and get moving – a gentle walk or some slow yoga will help wake up your digestive muscles.
If too much protein was the culprit drink some tea or coffee to stimulate your adrenal glands to help you process the protein or take a digestive enzyme supplement to break down the protein.
Enjoy your favorite comfort foods in moderation with family and friends this winter but pay attention and listen to your body because when you do, your body will feel good and allow you to enjoy that cake without any guilt.
Jess is a Registered Dietitian working in Vancouver, BC. She is registered with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia and is an active member of Dietitians of Canada. Jess graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Food Nutrition and Health program, and completed her dietetic internship with Provincial Health Services Authority after finishing a Psychology degree from Simon Fraser University. Jess is passionate about education, prevention and creating a healthy community. In her spare time she updates her personal food blog where she discusses hot topics in nutrition. She loves working with kids and parents helping them create a positive relationship with food and enjoys discussing sustainable farming practices with anyone who will listen!