Currently there are an estimated 1 billion people who are overweight worldwide (1 in 7), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these billion people, at least 300 million of them are classified as clinically obese. The numbers of overweight and obese people are rising quicky and the crisis is just as severe amongst young people as it is amongst adults.

According to researchers at the University of Maryland, 75% of overeating is caused by emotional eating, which means that a lot of us are using food to cope with our feelings. In today’s high-stress society, many of us eat high-fat or high-sugar foods to temporarily relieve our stress and to sooth our emotions.

Most of us turn to food to relieve stress or cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom. Even thinking about foods like mac-n-cheese, french fries, ice-cream…these images elicit a smile for us. Often these “comfort foods” are nostalgic and sentimental, they remind us of the times that we were rewarded for good behaviour e.g. being taken out for an ice-cream by our grand-parents. Yet the reality is that in most cases, after eating, we feel even worse. Not only does the original emotional issue remain, but we also feel guilty for overeating. According to a study by Dr. Traci Mann, psychology professor at the University of Minnesota, it’s not the food that is actually comforting, other factors contribute to the comforting effect, factors such as the idea of the food, its image, the memory it brings up, or perhaps the situation we’re eating it in. By practising mindful eating, we can change the emotional habits that have sabotaged our diet in the past, and regain control over both food and our feelings.

We started Chef Koochooloo 3 years ago to help teach children build a new emotional connection to healthy foods from around the world. To strengthen this emotional connection, we teach them about the origins of ingredients and recipes, and the role food has played in forming cultures and civilizations. As we began teaching them about different countries, we noticed that cooking was a wonderful way to enhance their math and science skills as well. Thus far we have launched our program as a gamified mobile app and curriculum for 30 elementary schools in Northern California. Our next goal is to redefine the traditional meaning of ‘comfort foods’ to one that brings to mind foods that are healthy for the body and mind. We want to help students to effectively quell difficult emotions using the power of healthy food. Below, we have listed some recipes found in our app that contain beneficial ingredients that can help us to overcome difficult emotions.


Chef Koochooloo Comfort Foods


iPhone and iPad:


Below we have listed beneficial ingredients that help to alleviate difficult emotions. We have selected recipes from our collection that incorporate these beneficial ingredients, to access these recipes:

  1.  Download our app for free
  2.  Select the specified country
  3.  Pick the selected recipe!





Beneficial Ingredients: Almonds , Saffron , Chia seeds, Sweet Potatoes, Avocados, Broccoli, Walnuts
Azerbaijan- ‘Plov’ (Almonds)
Azerbaijan – ‘Kufta bozbash’ (Saffron)
El Salvador – ‘Fresco de Chan’ (Chia Seeds)
Antigua and Barbuda – ‘Ducana’ (Sweet Potatoes)
Bolivia – ‘Stuffed Avocado’ (Palta Rellena)
Thailand – ‘Red Vegetarian Curry’ (Broccoli)
Azerbaijan – ‘Lavangi’ (Walnuts)





Beneficial Ingredients: Oranges, Spinach
Bolivia – ‘Citrus Salad’ (Oranges)
South Korea – ‘Vegetarian Japchae’ (Spinach)
Azerbaijan – ‘Dovga’ (Spinach)




Beneficial Ingredients:
 Blueberries, Pistachios, Dark chocolate, Milk
Estonia – ‘Bubert’ (Milk)


Beneficial Ingredients: Ginger, Oatmeal, Chocolate, Berries, Nuts, Bananas
Kiribati – ‘Glazed Fish (Mahi Mahi)’ (Ginger)
Andorra – ‘Pine nuts coca’ (Pine nuts)
Uruguay – ‘Buenolos de Banana’ (Banana)




Think of someone you love and are missing ,what is a healthy dish you shared with them? Mexican Tortilla soup? A vegetable casserole from that particular country/culture? What country does that person remind you of? Visit that country in our app and select a recipe from there.




Discover facts and foods from a new country through Chef Koochooloo!