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How do you stop being an emotional eater?

Well, there are a few ways you could do it, but the way that worked best for me was accepting that I am one, and choosing to eat the tastiest, prettiest, healthiest foods that make me happy.

It’s difficult to imagine not being an emotional eater. It’s a trait that I love within myself. Food lights me up––so much so that I’ve built a career around it. When I’m sad, frustrated, happy, excited, bored, or confused, food is there.

You know me, I’m not binging on boxes of Wheat Thins, Cheerios, cookies, or ice cream. I did that for most of my life and it caused an unhealthy emotional relationship to food.

I like healthy things that aren’t inherently addictive, yet pack amazing flavor and are super satisfying. I love flavors, textures, smells, and the feeling of being nourished by yummy nutrients 🙂

Being an emotional eater doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, as long as you’re not causing yourself emotional or physical harm with the food. As a former junk food junkie, I can attest to the ability of healthy food to be as delicious, satiating, and joy inducing as any of the junk I used to eat. I went from devouring a box of Fig Newtons in one sitting to eating a couple of handfuls of dry figs with nuts a day. The latter is very very tasty, and causes me no guilt or physical pain. Its taste makes me happy, the nutrients make my body happy, and I will happily choose the healthier option any day.

My main emotion when it comes to food is L.O.V.E!

I say all of this to introduce you to my new favorite dish, kale puttanesca with creamy vegan polenta. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most comforting, I would give this dish a 10! Oh yes I would. The polenta is creamy and cheesy (thanks to nutritional yeast). The puttanesca, boy oh boy! The puttanesca is salty, savory, herby, and full of texture. It’s—of course—tomato heavy, which is perhaps one of the reasons I love it so much. My Nana always made the best rigatoni with turkey bolognese, and it kind of reminds me of that. And did I mention, it’s totally healthy!

Even writing about this dish makes me happy!

As Julia Child said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Amen to that 🙂

Are you a happy emotional eater? What foods light you up?
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Kale Puttanesca & Creamy Vegan Polenta

By: Jenné
Recipe adapted & inspired by Isa Chandra Moscowitz' very sexy quinoa puttanesca recipe on PPK.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 24- oz can of diced tomatoes, I like the Whole Foods brand Fire Roasted Diced tomatoes
  • cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas or cannellini beans
  • 1 tsp dry sage
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 5 cups kale, chopped & loosely packed
  • 3 tbsp tarragon, chopped
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped


  • 3 cups water
  • scant teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup polenta
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil



  • In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, preheat your oil.
  • Add the garlic, and saute until slightly golden.
  • Add the wine, and simmer for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, beans, sage, fennel, oregano, thyme, chili flakes, and kale.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let it cook.
  • While the puttanesca cooks, you can work on the polenta. (Ingredients and instructions below.) Once the polenta is finished, add the fresh tarragon and basil to the puttanesca, season to taste, and serve hot.


  • Bring 3 cups of water and sea salt to a boil.
  • Slowly pour in the polenta, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk (my choice). If it pops, reduce the heat even more.
  • Keep stirring the polenta until it begins to thicken up, about 20 minutes total. It's okay if you walk away for 30 seconds, but you'll want to keep an eye on it to prevent clumping, sticking, or burning.
  • When the polenta is the consistency of porridge, add the nutritional yeast and olive oil.
  • Stir for another minute, then remove from heat and season to taste.
  • Serve the puttanesca over the creamy polenta. Garnish with fresh black pepper, and basil.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Jenne

I’m a Georgia Peach living in Los Angeles (by way of NYC), with an insatiable love of sweet potatoes, travel, animals, and cooking. On Sweet Potato Soul you’ll discover hundreds of delicious and easy-to-make vegan recipes.

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  1. Hi Jenné,
    Wow, I really love what you have to say about emotional eating. The fact is, I do really love food and spend a lot of time thinking about it. What’s different from my previous life, though, is that I now crave healthy food! I don’t complete agree with the saying, “You should eat to live, not live to eat” that gets bantered around in healthy/vegan circles. I say, why not do both!

  2. Thank you so much for giving me a new perspective on emotional eating. I like the idea that if I accept it, I can take control over it, rather than constantly fighting it. I can’t really put into words how it felt to read this – just, thank you!!!

    1. Layla! I’m so happy to hear that it was helpful to you. Keep me posted on how you’re doing 🙂

  3. Hi Marilyn,
    Thanks for asking. I haven’t had the chance to change all of the old recipes to my new recipe plugin. However, I did change the format of this recipe so that you can easily print it. I hope you enjoy it 🙂