Now Is Not The Time For Dieting

A spoon full of dulce de leech

A spoon full of dulce de leche anyone?

To the people who know me best for my low-carb eating approach, my commitment to intermittent fasting and my inspiring post on Instagram about morning routines: I’m currently spooning 200-gram can of dulce de leche. At times, on a daily basis. Sorry, not sorry.  #quarantinelife

In this article, I will address why our bodies turn to comfort food in times of crisis, why it’s necessary to be nice to ourselves nicely while the world seems to be up in flames and how you can find a balance of treats and nutrition. 

Comfort Eating In Times Of The Covid Pandemic

What is it your Lockdown Lifeline during this global pandemic? Unless you’re not reading this from your yacht or domicile in the Hamptons I assume you, too been affected by major changes to your daily routines and trying to cope with this strange, new situation. 

The global health and economic crisis brings us uncertainty and stress. And the routines, that gave us a form of stability and predictability, have vanished. It’s understandable if you’re feeling anxious right now.

As the world went into lockdown, I find myself in Lima, Peru. At first, I embraced a new adventure in a new country and was eager to explore local food customs and tastes. The new quickly turned into being locked in the same room for weeks, I also seek into indulging into something familiar.

I suddenly found a can of dulce de leche in the supermarket. Despite my better knowledge, I choose some childhood memories instead of worrying about all that sugar.   

Long before dulce de leche became popular in Germany, it was used in Poland and my mum and aunt would add it into their baking. The cans of sweet condensed milk would need roughly two hours to cook on the stove and required real patience. After ages, when the can was finally cooled and could be opened, I was only allowed to spoon out the leftovers.

The good thing about being an adult is, getting to eat all the good stuff like cookie dough or a full can of sugar by yourself.

In a mix of sugar rush and childhood memories I could drown my responsibilities as an adult for a while enjoying its pleasures. (And maybe I was so greedy that I cut myself on the rim of the can when I wanted to sniff out the rest.)

Crisis Mode And Comfort Food

According to theOxford English Dictionary, “comfort food” is “food that comforts or affords solace; hence, any food (freq. with a high sugar or carbohydrate content) that is associated with childhood or with home cooking. orig. N. Amer.” Merriam-Webster’s 10th editionCollegiate Dictionarydefines comfort food as fare “prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal,” while in theEncyclopedia of Food and Culture(2002), Julie Locher notes that it is “any food consumed by individuals, often during periods of stress, that evokes positive emotions and is associated with significant social relationships.” 

Jones, M., & Long, L. (2017). Introduction. In Jones M. & Long L. (Eds.), Comfort Food: Meanings and Memories (pp. 3-16). Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. doi:10.2307/j.ctv5jxmmz.3

With our society being obsessed with food, this is the ressource best available when we deal with emotions.

The Role Of Sugar And Carbohydrates When You’re Stressed

In a crisis, our body produce the stress hormone cortisol. Under stress, the body requires as much fuel as possible to fight or flee, and sugar is the ultimate fuel. It gives you immediate energy. Cortisol raises blood sugar and increases the desire for sugar and salt. But fast releasing carbohydrates like sugar, glucose, wheat, cereals and crisps cause your body to spike your insulin levels, but what follows is a fast crash of insulin, and you are soon hungry again.  

We almost cannot avoid cravings.

To prevent the insulin crush, it would be better we would consume slow releasing carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. But under stress, we rather make short-term decisions, based on the resources that we have now. Processed food is easy and everywhere available. You don’t have to wash, peel or cut anything – just tear open a packaging and stuff it in your mouth (nobody’s watching anyways). 

Beware Of Malnutrition

When we’re in survival mode, we tend to turn to cheaper, less nutritious food.

It’s a trap. The insulin rush from the sweet or salty “treats” makes you crave more sugar and more crappy food. The food industry designed food that makes us addictive. You are supposed to eat when you’re not hungry and buy more of whatever gives you quick pleasure. Or did you ever actually not finished a package of crisps once it’s open? How long did this joy actually last?

This is why poor communities with lack of nutritious food are the most often overweight. Poor people make poor decision because their brains are in constant survival mode.

We must not fall into the trap of seeking short term gratification because we pay for it long term with our health. (I can already see my skin paying the price for my newly addiction to dulce de leche.)

Although the couple of pounds more you’re gaining in this lockdown aren’t the problem, the new trained habits are. It will be hard to get back into a healthy food routine again. It’s easier to maintain a lifestyle than create a new habit.

Treat Yourself But Find A Balance

“Satisfaction is not a sign that you’ve lost control”. Christiana Johnson

A treat is something occasionally. When it becomes the norm, it’s not special anymore. Apply the 80/20 rule. Give yourself in whatever you please 20% of the time without guilt, but do something for your body the rest 80% of the time. This way you are better able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and some snacks sporadically won’t destroy that. 

The common sense of natural, unprocessed food. Protein and fat will keep you full for longer than carbohydrates. Put the sweet treats after a nourishing meal. Your insulin levels will increase slower and therefore fall slower. You will feel less tired and have better energy. Keep the pizza and crisps for the night. 

Nourish your brain and body. Get out in the fresh air, cook fresh if you can. And I know you don’t like to hear it, but give some workout a try. It will reduce your stress and anxiety, give you lucky hormones and help you to sleep better. Don’t do it because you must, but because you may. Don’t see workout as a punishment for your body, you only link with an excessive routine to lose weight or trim yourself. 

Begin with a little stretching routine. Just a couple of minutes. Make yourself comfortable. Be nice to yourself. You deserve it. 

Parent Yourself

There is no shame in indulging or fighting stress the easiest way. 

We have to parent ourselves now. So remember what our parents teach us: Eat your vegetables first, then comes dessert.

Continue Reading Now Is Not The Time For Dieting
Sorry, “the best chocolate” doesn’t exist
melted chocolate drops by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Sorry, “the best chocolate” doesn’t exist

melted chocolate drops
melted chocolate drops by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

People keep asking me “which is the best chocolate on the market?”

Working in marketing, I’ve been selling this for a while, “the best chocolate.”

Sorry to break it down for you, but:                  It’s a lie.

You swallowed the truth pretty good so far. It’s getting better from now on. Let me tell you why you don’t want there to be a best when it comes to chocolate: you would limit your experience. 

Our taste is changing and so is the chocolate market 

Imagine your favourite song from your favourite artist, let’s say, back in the 90ies. Yes, good times. But as we still might enjoy the songs from years ago, new artist have come along since then. Some of our favourite singers, rappers and bands have evolved (others disappeared for the good). Imagine, if you never have listened to anything else but 90ies music ever since. 

Craft chocolate or the fine flavour sector of chocolate is still young and only at its beginning. Because many small chocolate makers are disrupting a market now that has been dominated by big players for long. 

You might have come across a chocolate bar that is different from what you have known before. Or you might have already discovered craft chocolate for you and are looking for the holy grail? The best brand? The best bar? Don’t.

Every origin has its own flavour

Well, this is a broad subject I will dedicate an own article soon. But for those of you unfamiliar with the term single origin – you may think of it like terroir when it comes to wine. When we’re talking about coffee, it’s also very common to know where our beans are originated from. For cacao, this is still new, though the environment plays a major role for the aroma and taste of a bean. 

For example, cacao from Madagascar has distinct vanilla aroma. Piura in the north region of Peru is known for its fruitiness, while dry African regions like Tanzania can have an earthy taste, and it’s closer to what we know of a chocolate taste. Because most chocolate comes from Ghana and Ivory Coast, and that is the chocolate taste we’ve been used to and grew up with. When you then taste a Vietnamese chocolate for the first time, you’d be surprised by the variety of flavours you have never been exposed to before. 

Everything that plays into the flavour of a chocolate

  • The Origin (climate, soil) 
  • The fermentation process 
  • The roasting
  • The grinding 
  • The tempering and conching
  • How much sugar you add 
  • What kind of sugar (or other sweetener)
  • For milk chocolate: the milk (cow milk, buttermilk, goat milk, nut milks)

And the finished covertures you can still 

  • blend, mix with spices, herbs, nuts etc.

As you can see the variables are endless and so is going to be the end product.

  • And last but not least: warehousing – can make or break a bean or a chocolate. 

Each chocolate maker brings his own handwriting

Chocolate making is an art. Like a writer, singer or photographer, every creator wants to wake your emotions a different way. Every chocolate maker will bring his own handwriting and signature.

This piece of expensive craft chocolate that is now melting in your mouth? Someone has put all their passion into crafting this for you to enjoy. But I will tell you yet another secret: even chocolate makers do not have a favourite of their own. Because in a different mood, we’re seeking a different kind of comfort. As you have a different playlist for when you need to focus, when you are working out or are heartbroken, you seek another taste. How we taste things differ even during the day, depending on what we are eating and drinking. What might be your favourite to enjoy on a Friday night with a glass of wine is something else you want and need at 10 am at your desk.

Your next favourite song

There is so much more to explore in chocolate. Why would you limit your taste experience? Why would you want to find the best chocolate and stop there? Don’t settle. Chocolate is the easiest way to take our emotions on a journey. Close your eyes and wander …


Continue Reading Sorry, “the best chocolate” doesn’t exist
Keto-Chocolate or a lesson on food marketing
Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

Keto-Chocolate or a lesson on food marketing

Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

Don’t try to convince people

I performed a deadly sin on the internet: bashing another account and getting into an argument in the comments.

It got me nothing and nowhere. It solved nothing. But it taught me a valuable lesson on food marketing.

What happened that upset my harmony-loving soul? A shitty chocolate that came with the label “keto-chocolate”. It tasted horrible.

(For those not familiar with the topic, the ketogenic diet – short #keto –  is low in carbohydrates and avoids sugar. But you still wanna have your treats, your cake and basically don’t change anything about your lifestyle but to be thin and super-productive, just like those fitness-influencers.)

Beside the fact that one simply destroy every taste by adding artificial sweetener – seriously, it makes chocolate taste like nothing. After a while comes this dominant taste of Erythritol, and that’s it. You might as well skip the part of making a chocolate.

What upset me about it was that people are probably willing to buy this shitty chocolate for an expensive hipster-price, just because their marketing is so good.

While I spent my time spreading the word why you should spend more money on your chocolate to be direct traded and good for the planet, bla bla bla. I should accept, that there are people that simply don’t care.

People will buy shit for premium prices that promise to make them happier, skinnier, more productive or whatever. They don’t care if your chocolate or speciality coffee is direct traded, grown in environmentally friendly circumstances or monocultures, single origin or a blend of everything. They don’t care about your product. They care about themselves.

So what kind of lifestyle do you sell?

How do you get the people that are paying premium prices for expensive shitty chocolate (or coffee), to buy your expensive good bean product instead? You don’t. They simply want other things. They are not your tribe. They are not your customer. Don’t bother.

Continue Reading Keto-Chocolate or a lesson on food marketing
1 Gründe warum Currywurst mehr Superfood ist als Salat

1 Gründe warum Currywurst mehr Superfood ist als Salat

[Hier sollte bestimmt ein catchy Teaser stehen aber SEO my ass]

Ja, Currywurst ist #healthylifestyle galore! Denn wenn man sich die ganze Woche mit seinem Bulletproof Coffee und Salat seinen Körper zu einer gut geölten Produktivitätsmaschine macht kommt irgendwann der Punkt an dem man sich unweigerlich fragt, wo der Spaß bei der ganzen Sache geblieben ist.

Currywurst ist das Sinnbild des Anti-Lifestyle Produkts aber so hipster, dass es schon wieder cool ist. Mancherorts kann man sie mit Goldblättern bestellen, wenn man sich als Elite mal wieder den normalen Leuten verbunden fühlen möchte.

Die Currywurst ist das #craftedfood unter dem Fastfood. Wenn man mal davon absieht, wie eklig Wurst tatsächlich ist, geht es ja auch gar nicht um deren Geschmack, denn die wird eh in Sauce ertränkt. Hier kann sich der Grill deines Vertrauens darin mühen, eine kultige Sauce herzustellen und sie als besonders vermarkten.

Erinnerungen werden nicht bei Salat gemacht.

Salat ist für Lunches und Business Meetings. Currywurst ist Mittach und bodenständig. Wenn man nachts um 2 vor den Curry 36 in Kreuzberg steht und sich fragt, wie man da eigentlich wieder gelandet ist, sieht man sich um, und dort kommt alles zusammen: ein Querschnitt der Gesellschaft.

Und dort wird in der Regel nicht für Instagram fotografiert. Frittierte Kohlenhydrate mit dicken Klecksern Mayo auf Papptellern unter grellem Licht des 24-Stunden-Imbiss sind in der Regel nichts für Instagram. Das ist der Moment, wo man einfach nur sein kann mit seinen Freunden oder wen immer man dort eben kennen gelernt hat und das Handy mal stecken lässt.

Manchmal kann so ne unfotografierte Currywurst oder ein Bier mehr für deine #mindfulness tun, als die vermeintlich 5 besten Tips, wie du deinen stressigen Alltag bewältigst.

Continue Reading 1 Gründe warum Currywurst mehr Superfood ist als Salat

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