Does anyone else start craving creamy comfort foods this time of year? Why is it that when the temperature starts to drop and the days get shorter, I am in the mood for warm, hearty, creamy, and comforting foods? Historically, the next 2 months are when my body chooses to pack on a few extra pounds. I always chalked it up to the fact that my body actually needs these extra pounds to handle the cold weather. And, in reality, that is exactly what our bodies are trying to do. According to John Douillard, author of The 3-Season Diet, we have a natural desire to insulate, storing fats and proteins to rebuild in the winter.
But that’s not all. As the weather turns colder and the days become shorter, we experience actual chemical changes in our brain. Ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD? Well, those chemical changes in our brain that are responsible for seasonal depression are also to blame for the changes in our food cravings, causing us to want to eat more and to eat those warm and creamy comfort foods. Comfort foods are generally sweet, fatty and calorie-dense, which may help temporarily improve mood and alleviate anxiety or stress says Dr. Melina Jampolis in a recent CNN health article. Our bodies are always striving for balance and this includes our mental state, so we look for ways to boost our mood on those dark and chilly days, giving rise to those cravings this time of year.
To avoid too much winter weight gain, choose healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods. Try this pumpkin and pear soup to satisfy your need for a warm, sweet, and creamy meal. Both pumpkin and pear lend a sweet flavor and healthy carbohydrates among other nutrients, and an avocado gives a creamy texture and healthy fat. I hope you enjoy!
pumpkin and pear soup
Recipe type: soup, vegetable
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pears, cut into slices
½ onion, cut into slices
2 inches of fresh ginger, diced
2 cups organic chicken broth
2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Saute pears, onion, and ginger in olive oil until tender.
Place chicken broth, pumpkin, avocado, cinnamon, and sea salt in a Vitamix or other blender.
Add the sauteed pear, onion, and ginger.
Blend until smooth.
Transfer to a medium saucepan, and warm over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.