Great News! Grab Your Forks and Napkins Because Now Many of Your Favorite Comfort Foods Are Still On the Menu, Even If You’re Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

Health Comfort Foods - For Real!

Cool Weather and Comfort Food: You Know It’s Coming, Don’t You?

It’s hard to miss the signs here in the heart of the Midwestern United States.  No doubt the same thing is happening all over the northern hemisphere. With the advent of cooler days, longer nights, football in the stadiums and autumnal color on the trees, it’s time to think about serving up a slew of your favorite cool weather comfort foods for dinner.

(Sorry for talking “fall weather” to you readers in the southern hemisphere, especially those of you in Australia and New Zealand. I know it’s springtime for you… But keep reading,  you won’t want to miss the book I discuss  at the end of the post…)

No Doubt You Have an All-time Favorite Hearty and Comforting Meal

When it comes to comfort foods, my favorite – hands down – is a fabulous beef pot roast, complete with potatoes, carrots, onions, and maybe some green beans.  All slow-cooked or stewed in a delicious tomato-based beefy gravy.  Served with homemade biscuits on the side…  With perhaps a nice hot apple cobbler for dessert.

I’ve always loved preparing this meal for my husband and family, but lately I’ve discovered that it’s a meal your dinner dinner guests probably crave as well.

You wouldn’t believe how many friends and business associates give me major hints that they’d love to be invited over next time I’m serving this up.  These days I’m not afraid to serve it up for company.  Try it! You’ll be amazed at the compliments this homey meal will earn you!

But pot roast isn’t the only star when it comes to favorite comfort foods. Yours might be something else. Perhaps, as the Fall season comes upon us, you find yourself craving one of these other delicious treats:

These Are All Delicious Options

But did you know they they can be healthy choices, too? That’s really good news. Especially so if you’re newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, right?

Healthy choices? Before you got to that last sentence, you were probably crossing your arms, shaking your finger, and giving me the hex sign, right? I know, I know.  If you’re just learning how to live with diabetes, yo’ve probably taken a look at your newly imposed carbohydrate limitations  and decided these delicious favorite dishes are history. Meals that are forever relegated to your “forbidden foods” list…

Good news! The fact is that with just a few — mostly minor — changes to your preparation techniques, you CAN still enjoy these favorite meals. This week’s issue of Diabetic Living Weekly Newsletter is chock full of articles complete with delicious recipes, including “14 Comfort Foods Made Healthy.”

The link takes you to a great slide show-style post, complete with photos, recipes and all the nutrition facts and diabetic exchanges you need.

(If you haven’t yet made acquaintance with this resource, I suggest you check it out right away!)

Just click the link and prepare to start enjoying two week’s worth of  “legal” comfort foods, OK?

But Wait! Are You Looking For Even More  Recipes That Are Both Delicious and Diabetic-friendly?

  • Maybe you’d like to see some diabetic-friendly yet comforting desserts? Like a carrot cake? Or maybe cheese cake?
  • Or perhaps you need recipes that are also gluten-free or low-glycemic?
  • You’re in luck! Here’s an amazing recipe resource I’ve just discovered:  Fun With Gluten-Free Low-Glycemic Food!

This amazing cookbook is by Debbie Johnson, the former owner and executive chef of The Golden Chalice Restaurant & Gallery, in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Debbie’s mind-boggling claim to fame is that she offered her hungry Golden Chalice clientele delicious food — without telling them that everything on the menu was 100% gluten-free, sugar-free, low-glycemic, organic and allergy-friendly.

  • Many of her guests ate the food and thoroughly enjoyed it – without realizing just how healthy it was.
  • Those who came because they had challenges with their diets would look up at the servers and say things like, “You mean I can eat anything on this menu, anything?”
  • The server would smile and say,  “Yes, you can eat anything you like.”
  • And why not? Debbie’s recipes are delicious and chock-full of healthy fruits and veggies, legumes and certain nuts and seeds, especially sprouted nuts and seeds.

As a Hungry Person with Special Food Needs, Can You Imagine How Amazing It Would Be to Be Able to East ANYTHING on the menu?

Debbie notes: “Our entire restaurant was geared to people with food and environmental sensitivities of all kinds, yet we didn’t advertise the fact on our signage. So locals came in and thought we were just a fine gourmet restaurant. Who wouldn’t? our menu offered only the freshest, organic, foods that were rich, flavorful, and delicious. Desserts were always a must at The Golden Chalice, they were just hard to resist.”

Now You Can Enjoy Debbie’s Amazing Golden Chalice Recipes at Home

The recipes in Debbie’s amazing ebook (yes, you can download it and start checking out the recipes instantly, no waiting for shipping!) are not only delicious but they are helpful for people with everything from allergies, celiac disease and diabetes to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). And, every recipe contains “healing” food of some type. Not to mention that they are more alkaline.

Perhaps these recipes will become your new definition of Comfort Foods. After all, these recipes are:

  • Delicious
  • Easy to digest, and
  • Leave you feeling both full and energized.

Isn’t that the very definition of comforting?

If you’d like to take a look at one of these great recipes, here’s a gluten-free favorite: Golden Chalice Carrot Cake.

One Last Thing: What’s The Deal With “Alkaline” Foods?

Debbie says her recipes are “more alkaline, ” which might not be a term you’re familiar with.

On the other hand, perhaps you’re aware that some nutritionists are now recommending we all enjoy a more alkaline diet in order to prevent cancer and other diseases? It’s a concept that’s controversial and perhaps still a bit “out-there,” but it’s been getting a lot of attention recently. To help explain what alkaline foods are all about, here’s a clip from CBS News that explains it for you:

In closing: Fun With Gluten-Free Low-Glycemic Food! is a cookbook for people who love delicious food but don’t want to get sick eating it!

Whether or not you decide to subscribe to an alkaline diet, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the recipes. And why wouldn’t you? After all, the book’s title says it all: Fun With Gluten-Free Low-Glycemic Food!

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Good Gravy! If Comfort Foods Can Make the Most Nerve-Wracked Day Seem Happier, Should You Learn to Make Healthier Versions? Or Does That Defeat the Purpose?

October 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Food & Recipes

Do Comfort Foods Really Reduce Stress?

Given the Major Tension and Trauma In the World Lately, You’ve a Lot Of “Heavy Stuff”  Weighing You Down. Perhaps You’re Stressing Over Your:

  • Decimated stock portfolio, recently failed 401(K) and the uncertain economy  
  • Impression that the war has been going on forever and is costing our nation too much
  • Frustration with the lying attacks in this interminably long presidential campaign 
  • Worries over skyrocketing food and energy costs – high gas costs this summer, but now there’s your next unknown: the expense of heating your home this winter – and/or even how you’ll be affording the big holiday meal
  • Concern over how you’re going to get through the coming holidays – financially, emotionally – or both
  • Real fear that you really ought to have that lump (or sore spot) checked out… you worry that it might be really BAD NEWS
  • Trepidation over your parents’ failing health and your suspicion that you’ll soon be approaching the time where current arrangements must change
  •  Parental concern over the fact that your daughter just lost her job and her husband’s serving overseas – you’re worrying over whether she and the kids will have to move in with you? 

That’s A Lot of Stress You’re Carrying Around With You! Especially Since You Can’t Immediately Resolve Most of Those Problems! 

No wonder you’re looking for some way to ease your feelings of frustration, and make yourself feel better. 

  • After all, you can make a plan for:
    • How you’re going to approach rebuilding your challenged finances and retirement plan 
    • How to get along with the squabbling relatives over the holidays
    • How much to spend on all those holiday gifts
    • Seeing your health care provider to be tested or get the worrisome lump/sore spot examined
  • And you can even come up with an effective strategy to allow you to afford your utility bills this winter, though it may involve wearing layers and setting up a long term payment plan
  • With regard to your worries over your parents, your children and grandchildren, you don’t have to solve those problems alone. You’ll have to work that out together – perhaps with some outside assistance
  • As for the election, well, it will be over soon. Then you’ll just have to wait out the time until the new regime takes over

But All of This Strategizing Takes Time & Effort – And You Pay With a Toll on Your Soul.

Beyond that, you have to realize that you are never totally in control.

This is no doubt why, in challenging times all humans seek outlets for stress… We’re looking for comfort AND something we have the ability to control:

  • Some people turn to drink
  • Some to sex (think David Duchovny and this “sex addict” thing)
  • There are those who find solace in just sitting there doing nothing (or maybe watching way too much television?)
  • Others immerse themselves in solitary games, like online Scrabble, or hide out from the world for awhile (My grandfather would confine himself to the basement, where he slept away whole days on an uncomfortable army cot. But when he emerged, he was ready to take on the world again!)
  • A lot of people become workout or exercise fanatics
  • Some people try gambling
  • But the number one choice for dealing with your stress: eating your favorite comfort foods

Mmmmm. Comfort Foods.

Sometimes Just Saying the Names of Your Favorite Comfort Foods – or Just Thinking About How Wonderful They Would Taste – Can Be All the Soul-soothing You Need. Other Times, You Really Need to Chew and Taste the Food… 

With regard to the comfort you can derive from imagining comfort foods, here’s a story you might relate to: Back when I was in high school, I and a group of friends spent the tumultuous “Summer of 69” (also known as the “Summer of Love” and the summer man first walked on the moon) far away from home, studying in Europe.

  • We enjoyed the trip and the cultural experiences, and gamely ate the meals we were served – both at the school cafeteria and in the local bistros. But we often found ourselves intensely hungry for the comfort foods of our homeland.  
  • We’d get a bunch of us together in someone’s dorm room, and do a round-robin, where we talked about what we most missed and took turns reverently saying the names of the favorite comfort foods we were most looking forward to diving into on our return home. Maybe you did a similar thing when you were away at camp, college, or the serving with the military. I suspect we weren’t unique in our lust for the familiar in the midst of uncertainty.
  • Anyway, we discovered that just reverently saying the names of our favorite foods and fantasizing about which one we would eat first, once we got back home, was actually very soothing.

The ever-evolving list we came up with looked something like the one below. So if you’re questioning the benefits of dining via your imagination, feel free to run through the list below and try out the “fantasizing method” for yourself. It’s quick – and very low-calorie:

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Tuna noodle casserole
  • Rice pudding
  • Chicken a la King
  • Pot roast with plenty of rich fragrant homemade gravy to ladle over cooked carrots, potatoes and other vegetables
  • Bacon cheeseburgers
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Lasagna
  • Beef stroganoff served with noodles
  • Cream of tomato soup with gooey grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Meatloaf and baked potatoes
  • Chocolate cake with thick fudge frosting
  • Scalloped potatoes and ham
  • Warm, melty chocolate chip cookies and milk
  • Hot fudge sundaes made with rich French vanilla ice cream, plenty of thick, rich fudge and toasted pecans
  • Warm apple pie with cinnamon ice cream

Feeling Better Now? If Not, Then It’s Time to Get Cooking for Real…

Pick Out Your Favorite Comfort Food and Make It Right Now. How About Putting a Really Good Gravy Onto Something?

After all, gravy’s not only soul satisfying, it’s quick and easy to make, and can be made with virtually combination of liquid, fat, flavorings and a thickening agent.
That’s right: you can make gravy using liquids like meat stock or broth (go with low-sodium if you’re buying it pre-packaged), cream, milk, water, juices, wine — even beer. And your fat can come from pan any sort of pan drippings – even those you get from grilling hamburgers!

  • With regard to the liquid: I’ve made a fabulous and soul-satisfying “beer-based gravy for a wonderful pork roast. And think what a wine-enhanced gravy does for your best chicken casserole — suddenly you’re making your own personal version of “coq au vin!”
  • As for the fat: If you don’t have pan drippings, you can also use reserved bacon grease, butter, margarine – even heart-healthy olive oil!
  • If you don’t want to thicken your gravy with flour,you can also make your roux (that’s the official name for your “pre-gravy” mixture of hot fat and flour) with cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot
  • For flavorings, your imagination is the only limitation! Some flavor will come from your choice of liquid and fat of course, but you can also make liberal use of fresh or dried herbs, spices, salts and peppers, packaged sauces like Worchestershire, salsas, fruits, onions, mushrooms – even oddities like mustards, ketchup, tomato paste, lemon or lime juice, instant coffee granules and peanut butter have a place in flavoring gravies… Just hold off on the MSG and Kitchen Bouquet, please!

Now, If You’re Still Feeling “Gravy Challenged”…Here’s More Help  

That is, you’ve never yet been able to make gravy that’s thin or thick enough, or perhaps lump-free – relax. This can be easily resolved with  simple lessons and a bit of practice… No need to resort to bottled gravies for creating gravies for your best comfort foods.

Actually, once you know the secrets of making great gravy, you can also put those culinary tricks to good use making similar sauces: Think of a wonderful, homemade three-cheese sauce for your mac and cheese, for example.

Not to mention that the same lump-free sauce tricks apply to chicken a la king, stroganoff, chicken and dumplings, and even homemade tuna noodle casserole.

Aren’t You Feeling More “Comfortably” Empowered Now?

One final comment: Should you try making healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods?  Since you know that proper nutrition and exercise are so important to your ongoing health, this may be a good idea.

On the other hand, sometimes, you just have to have your comfort foods “just like Mom used to make.”

So in that case, you’re going to have to learn to exercise portion control. For example, I love a good grilled Reuben sandwich. I mean I really exault over the otherworldly combination of corned beef,  Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on dark rye bread.  

But I know there’s too much fat and salt in a traditional Reuben for my own good.

So, aside from learning to make a healthier version, using turkey instead of corned beef; which is an excellent substitution, I also have a personal rule not to allow myself to eat more than a half of a Reuben, and then only once or twice a year…

But if you want to know how to make healthy comfort foods, help is here…

Yes, You Can Make Your Own Versions of Healthy Comfort Foods

If you’re interested in learning how to make your favorite comfort foods using healthier methods, you’ll want to check out these great cookbooks I just discovered:

So bring on the challenges. You’re empowered to handle them now, with the help of your favorite comfort foods, right?