As the Aerosmith song proclaims….”Sweet Emotion!”
We all have days where we just want to throw in the towel and tell ourselves I am too stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, worried, or tense to press onward. Controlling our stress hormone is an essential cornerstone of taking charge of our emotional performance. The hormone at the epicenter of stress management is cortisol, a hormone released from the adrenal glands atop the kidney.
Designed to give you a quick jolt of energy when you need to flee a dangerous situation (there’s a cheetah chasing you, an earthquake strikes, etc.), this is the role of cortisol. But our modern way of life, rampant with chaos and deadlines, has us frazzled into thinking that everything is a threat. What’s the result? Adrenal glands begin to emit cortisol which keeps us on high alert, even when there isn’t imminent danger looming. Enough time passes and this puts strain on your adrenals and creates a serious hormonal imbalance, not to mention raising your blood pressure and insulin levels.
It might help to think of cortisol as ‘The Hulk’ hormone: it’s not supposed to always be on, but that’s exactly what happens when you’re constantly stressed. Once cortisol gets a taste of its own power or can’t control the rage, Bruce Banner’s alter ego emerges and wreaks havoc on other hormones like insulin, growth hormone, epinephrine, and thyroid.
Keep that cortisol high enough on a daily basis, and fat storage increases. This is due to the fact that our body is now in survival response mode. Our body will not release weight when in this state; it’s going to slow our metabolism so that we have extra energy stores in case they are needed. Couple stress, poor sleep, and unbalanced hormone levels with a high-sugar, high-processed food diet, and you’ve got a surefire formula to feel crummy, sluggish, and unattractive.
Don’t despair, amidst this viscous cycle of stress there is hope. They key is moderation. Learning to achieve balance between the foods you consume, exercise you expend and the stress you allow in your life.
Through moderation and NOT deprivation we are able to control our indulgences for life’s sweet treats, in turn taking charge of our emotional performance (one chocolate-y bite at a time)! Decadent Chocolate Soufflés will provide a sweet treat without overindulging.
We leave you with this: Stressed spelled backwards is desserts, coincidence…I think not!
*Adapted from the New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground almonds
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup 1% milk
4 egg whites
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
1 cup raspberries
90 calories, 3g fat,
5mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium,
15g carbohydrate, 2g fiber,
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat bottom of 12 – 3 oz ramekins (or soufflé cups) with cooking spray.
In small bowl, combine cocoa and hot water, stirring until smooth; set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in canola oil. Add flour, ground almonds and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in brown sugar, honey and salt. Gradually add milk and stir constantly until thickened (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir into the cocoa mixture. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy with electric mixer on high speed. Add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cocoa mixture, mixing gently only until no white streaks remain.
Divide the mixture into the prepared dishes. Bake for 15 minutes or until the soufflé rises above the rim and is set in the center. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with raspberries. Serve warm.
In Good Health,
For more information on Jan Tilley, MS RDN LD, check out her website at jtawellness.com.