A practical guide to just eating – and enjoying – the food this holiday season.
Holiday meals are about pleasure.
Here we go again – it’s the holidays. Tomorrow, Thanksgiving. Next month, The Rest of It. If you’ve ever had a complicated relationship with food like I have, you’re probably feeling that holiday-specific mix of excitement, dread, prophylactic guilt and shame, and mouthwatering anticipation of Aunt Louise’s Sausage Cornbread Stuffing.
Eat… Holiday = Food. Not only is that OK, it’s AWESOME.
…as much as you want… Unless weighing, measuring, or portioning-out food is something you already do in service to your health (and it feels GOOD), stressing and obsessing over about how much you’re having of this or that can make even the most fantastic holiday meal feel stressful and sad. Life’s too short to nickel-and-dime one of the most enjoyable meals of the year.
…of the good stuff… Take the best – because that’s where the magic is – and leave the rest. Get the yummiest scoops, the choicest cuts, and a piece of whatever-the-hell you’ve been dreaming of. Remember: If you don’t take what you really want, your good-for-nothing brother-in-law will.
…and enjoy it. Before you take a bite, pause and smell it. Smell is the foundation of taste. Chew each bite – really chew the hell out of it – to give the flavors the time they deserve on each taste bud. Take time to appreciate the beauty of the meal, the company, the bounty, and the gifts.
Recognize how lucky you are to have everything you have. Be conscious of your good fortune. Say ‘Thank you’ to every stranger who holds a door, to every glimpse you get of someone smiling, and to every person who offers you a plate of food. Say ‘Thank you’ to your body for being your vessel through this one miraculous life. Finally, accept thanks with an unqualified, full-strength ‘You’re welcome.’
Collect data. If you eat to the point of feeling ill, or find you can’t stop eating certain things once you’ve started, or if you feel the weight of guilt and shame bearing down on you after a holiday meal, note that information. Don’t bother judging yourself – that’s so last year – just notice what’s happening, and when, and how. That information will help you get and stay happily grounded in healthier habits when you’re ready.
You’re alive, and it’s harvest time. You’re programmed to gather together with the ones you love, to eat, to reflect on the past, and make plans for the future.
Do it up.
All good things,