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With Donald J. Trump in the white house and O.J. Simpson up for parole this summer, the idea of stress eating or emotional eating has made its way back into the public lexicon.

You know a stressful situation when you see one, right?  The rent is due and you don’t have the money.  The boss wants to see you.  Your boyfriend is dumping you. The police are pulling you over for a broken taillight and your trunk is loaded with heroin and 13th century swords.

These are times when food can be of some comfort.  And it’s not usually food that’s good for us.  The treats that are accessible and satisfying are often high in sugar, fat, sodium, and calories.  You can’t get kale or quinoa from a vending machine.

I did some research to see if there is any consensus as to how to battle stress eating.  I looked at “powerful tools” (mindbodygreen.com) and “weird tricks” (Huffington post).  I read a few articles that brought the brain into the conversation.  But this isn’t the place for a high brow discussion of serotonin and cortisol.  And I’m not sure I understood it anyway.

Sometimes the advice was contradictory.  One article said not to abandon yourself, while another suggested to create a new identity.  A third article was maybe straddling the line when it told readers to talk to themselves.

One article concluded that you’re not really hungry unless you’re hungry enough to eat raw broccoli.  I like broccoli, but that’s just silly.  What if you don’t have any broccoli on hand or you don’t even like broccoli?  I think a better argument would be, “Are you hungry enough to eat an entire pint of ice cream?”  If a few spoonfuls would satisfy your craving, maybe you aren’t that hungry.  Or stressed.

So, does the literature offer any constructive takeaways for stress eaters and liberals?  I think so.

Bubble baths seem to be very popular for reducing stress.  I’m not sure if it’s because bubbles by themselves are fun or it has something to do with being clean, but more than one article recommended getting in the tub.

Breathe.  The in-and-out of air is critical to lowering stress.  Although, if you don’t breathe, you don’t have to worry about stress, or, for that matter, stress eating.

Keep a food journal.  Writing something down gives it more credence.  It’s hard to deny you had a Milky Way if it’s in black and white.  That would give me pause if only because someone else might read it.

Don’t keep junk food in the house.  Just like our broccoli example earlier, you can’t eat what isn’t there.

Go for it!  A 2007 Women’s Health article said that stress eating is actually okay. But, before you get too excited, they say it’s okay if you eat the right things.  Their list includes almonds, spinach, skim milk, avocados, salmon, oranges, and oatmeal.

You know, a bubble bath doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

What do you eat when feeling stressed? Please leave a comment…