Dagmar von Cramm: What to eat when the news hits your stomach? A nutritionist has advice

Given the current news situation, the good old calming schnapps could experience a revival.

Dagmar von Cramm: What to eat when the news hits your stomach? A nutritionist has advice

Given the current news situation, the good old calming schnapps could experience a revival. But does he keep his promises, Ms. von Cramm?

It can be relaxing at that moment, that is, if I don't have it for breakfast. But of course this is not sustainable and not an option for everyone. There is also a risk that as stress increases, there will be a connection at some point: I have stress, I drink schnapps. That would be bad.

So what you think you urgently need for your soul's well-being and what your body really needs are by no means always in harmony with each other?

Exactly. And it likes to swing up. You eat what you shouldn't eat, drink what you shouldn't drink and get caught in a vicious circle. Some people may go to the candy aisle more often than usual because they feel like they need to treat themselves and think that because they're eating something, they'll feel better. But these are short-term escapes. In the long term, things like chocolate and hard liquor, when consumed in large quantities, have detrimental effects and ultimately weaken resilience rather than strengthening it.

Is there a trick how to distinguish one from the other?

Hunger expresses what the body really needs. It starts slowly and in the stomach. Hunger is never spontaneous. It goes away as soon as you have eaten something and does not come back again half an hour or hour after the meal. But the other thing is appetite. It comes suddenly and cannot be alleviated by a piece of chocolate. Because this is a hunger of the soul that cannot be satisfied with calories. In principle, you need relaxation in such moments.

In which form?

I always find breathing exercises to be a good first aid. Or just go out for a moment, go for a walk – away from your desk for a moment. These are small things that can help. Many teas, verbena tea for example, also have a soothing and calming effect and can possibly even take away your sweet cravings. You can consciously pour the tea in challenging moments, thus developing a positive ritual. There are also studies with chewing gum that show that chewing can reduce stress. That's why I always have a bowl of unseasoned, unpeeled almonds on my desk. If things get really bad, I'll take a small handful.

Has the great hour of so-called soul food now arrived?

There is something about soul food that can be beneficial. And if I do it right, it doesn't have to harm me and lead to more distress, namely bacon and blood sugar and so on.

Which foods are suitable as soul food?

Soul food can be many things. Soul food is something that is associated with childhood, with soothing and pampering situations, with something that is good for the soul.

And more precisely?

As a rule, soul food is high in carbohydrates. There are reasons for this: carbohydrates have a relaxing and calming effect. Proteins, on the other hand, have the opposite effect. And fat, in turn, is more difficult to digest than other nutrients. Soul food can also have something to do with the consistency. Yesterday we had polenta at home that was so delicious that it made you feel really good while eating it. You didn't have to fight with anything, you felt enveloped. Cream soups, puddings and pastries can do something similar.

In "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust, the main character feels transported to happy moments of childhood when the smell of madeleines fills his nostrils. The episode is world famous. Do dishes that we associate positive emotions with help us feel good?

That can definitely help. But only if you don't eat these dishes when you're stressed out, but rather if it's a conscious decision. In any case, it's good to consciously listen to yourself and think for a moment about what you actually really want to eat and not just grab the first thing that comes along.

What should you eliminate from your diet because it can put your body in further turmoil?

I would cut out sugar and put all protein drinks in the cupboard. I would avoid thick steaks for now and maybe eat a little more fish and instead of cold cuts a little more veggie spreads or cheese. In short: I would try to eat a little less meat and protein.

And caffeine?

Exactly, nothing stimulating - no dark chocolate, no drinking cola, no too much coffee. Mild things are good. Juice fasting could also be a bold but possible strategy to combat this current chaos around us. Fasting can be liberating. You don't have to shop anymore, you don't have to cook anymore, you just shut down completely.

... also fasting?

If you can't imagine fasting at the moment, I have another quick and simple tip: creamy vegetable soups. They can be easily prepared for several days. Cabbage and root vegetables are currently available up and down, add a little cream or soy cream, puree, and you're done. The soups are pleasing to the palate and bring a soul food feeling. But that's not all - they contain many strengthening minerals and vitamins and bioactive substances.