Its the 28th of November and I can still feel the effects of holiday grazing. Holidays are so rarely one day any more. They are entire weekends. Fourth of July weekend, Thanksgiving weekend... And, like most of us I grew up celebrating every one of them with special foods. Its a tradition I like and am unlikely to dispose of. But choices that I make and the extent to which I indulge are always a work in progress.
Brief summary: Red wine, pizza (night before a food holiday nobody cooks...), eggs, toast, coffee cake, coffee, ham sandwich, baked bree w/ orange fig spread, turkey, stuffing, red wine, mashed potato, sweet potatoes, apples, spinach and goat cheese salad, mince meat pie, ginger bread...leftovers...
The spiral downward usually starts this way. We have a big day, the next we are lethargic and there are leftovers so there is an encore presentation on an only slightly smaller scale and we still have no energy the next day to get chopping and fix ourselves a real meal. So we procrastinate and are "off the wagon" longer and longer.
Every holiday growing up I saw my aunt drink a Pepsi and grab a second piece of cake and say, "My diet starts Monday." And we would all laugh at the line we had heard 100,000 times. But its something we could all relate to. Thinking we'll get back to that diet the next day or the next day. I think there are a few ways I've learned to combat this downward spiral.
1. is to not diet in the first place. If the way I eat is on a continuum there is no starting place to put off. I try to eat well every day. Even on Thanksgiving survey the buffett and choose the most delicious foods that will make you feel good. Same as any other day.
2. is if its your event or you are charged with bringing a dish, make your contribution light and delicious to balance some of the heavier more traditional foods. My contribution to Thanksgiving was the spinach salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, a sprinkling of goat cheese and a very light apple cider vinegrette.
3. is to recognize these days are for celebration and don't beat your self up over a little indulgence. If we concentrate on the meaning of the holiday it is much easier to forgive, sure, but also to not spend as much time at the table or picking off the desert tray.
Giving Thanks for This Meal
Thanksgiving is sometimes downplayed these days. It is glossed over by Christmas decorations already in stores and football and turkey are certainly highlights. Even the parade was mostly cartoon balloons, teen heartthrobs and Rockettes as little Santa helpers.
Thanksgiving is about bringing together people you care about. Being thankful for their place in your life and the things we do have. Right before Christmas we think about all the things we want. But Thanksgiving reminds us what is important that we already have. For some its shelter, some its family and good friends, this season we could be lucky to have a job, and we need to stop and give thanks for those things. That we even have food on our table at all is a blessing and that we have the option to buy and eat it with our famlies. Other famlies around the world are not always blessed in this way and have very different things to be thankful for that we would most certainly take for granted.
I would like to give thanks for my ability to make my own choices. And thanks for my family that, although we have our share of challenges, was healthy enough to be together at my parents for our Thanksgiving meal this year. I can't be thankful enough for these gifts...