There's magic to be found in winter with the lure of great food casting a spell most people just can’t resist.
No one knows for sure whether the desire to indulge is an 'animal instinct' - the sleepy bear in all us wanting to fatten up before heading back to our den in order to survive the chill - or whether it’s simply because comfort foods are more readily available this time of the year.
Forget about traditional fatty winter foods that leave you feeling... well, fat and miserable. This season is the perfect excuse to over-flow with awesomeness! Healthy and warming gastronomic delights from slow-cooked stews, thick filling soups and steaming one-pot wonders mean there's something for every craving. Although there are fewer foods that are in season now than in summer, winter boasts some surprising health superstars, so you can still splurge on the foods you really love.
Dieticians explain the urge to gorge on carbs is just one symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a pattern of depression that affects millions of people across the world. SAD sufferers complain of heightened carbohydrate cravings when temperatures drop. And there's a reason your body wants them. Consuming carbohydrates boosts the availability of the amino acid tryptophan, which is what sunlight converts to mood-boosting serotonin and vitamin B6. The bad news is loading up on carbs in the winter can destroy your mood. Even though they give you energy and provide a short-term mood lift, carbs are really just a short term fix. They tend to flood your system with tons of energy all at once, and then you experience a blood-sugar crash that causes you to crave more carbs, and the cycle goes on and on.
"The secret to surviving winter is choosing foods that still induce feelings of 'comfort' without being notorious diet de-railers or mood droppers. The good news is, you can find tryptophans in various other foods aside from carbs including seafood, poultry, grass-fed meats, leafy greens, and green vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli," says Tarryn Nash, marketing coordinator at Doppio Zero, a full service restaurant with a wide range of Mediterranean specialties and traditional Italian fare. Doppio Zero's new winter menu features a wide range of healthy winter comfort foods, whether you’re Banting, going green or simply looking for hale and hearty options.
Off the new menu, Doppio chose the most popular dish and created a winter offering based on that dish, which will be announced next month. Dishes you can enjoy for breakfast include Citrus Jar (grapefruit, orange, pineapple with cinnamon flaked almonds, poppy seeds & double thick yoghurt), The Arnie (grilled chicken fillet, sautéed baby spinach, scrambled egg whites, feta & cherry tomatoes), and Doppio's Famouse Breakfast (eggs any style, bacon, beef, chilli lamb or hormone free pork sausage, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, balsamic grilled tomato, zucchini rösti & toast).
There's an array of various specialty coffee blends, smoothies, freezo’s and gourmet shakes to lift your day. Doppio's 'Juiced' selection is just what you need to kick-start a sluggish morning. The Incredible Green (cucumber, broccoli, avo, baby spinach & apple), Vitamin Blast (fresh seasonal fruits blended with yoghurt, honey & nuts) and Mango Mamba (mango, banana, apple & yoghurt) are packed with antioxidants.
Studies indicate that about 9 out of every 10 people suffer from dwindling energy levels during the winter months, which is why most don't want to leave the comfort of their home in winter to dine at a restaurant, no matter how appealing the menu is. Getting more sunlight is essential in helping lift your mood, whether it’s through choosing a window seat at Doppio, incorporating a walk every day or investing in a full spectrum light box for your desk at work. The old healthy living standbys’ have a lot of sway here, too. Don’t forget to get enough sleep and enough downtime with friends and family.
"We all know that winter can be drab, which is why Doppio has created a cosy, warm and inviting environment that lifts your mood," says Tarryn. "A social place, with a sense of community. There's always a Doppio close to home…so no need to travel far, making it the perfect place to go when you feel low and enjoy comfort foods."