Eating Through the Holidays

by Susan on November 29, 2010

Raw Eggless Nog

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently. I was talking about shooting 5 top chefs for an upcoming magazine. The food not only looked divine, it smelled heavenly. Dish after dish, that I needed to be intimately involved with, teasing all of my senses. It was a challenge.

As I sat with my friend, describing this incredible food, she looked at me and said…you love food, don’t you. She could take it or leave it. And her 5’6″, 110 lb frame is an testament to that. Another friend, when discussing Thanksgiving dinner stated that, “I am just not that orientated towards food.” I laughed, “I am,” which he promptly responded with..well we need to change that orientation. Because…?

Food is powerful. It is memories, it is companionship, it is gathering and family. All through our lives, many happy memories are developed around food, around meals. And with the holidays upon us, the draw towards the old, unhealthy favorites is strong. So, how do we get through the holidays without completely derailing ourselves?

It is an interesting conundrum. My suggestion is to not try to be too militant. Let yourself have a little leeway. I have observed that super strict rules and regulations tend to lead to colossal failures. I have also observed that when we have really gotten into a great groove with healthy eating, opening the door, just a little can cause major problems.

So, what’s the answer? For me, it is all about making sure that I am full on my healthy food before I even consider a bite of the more unhealthy stuff. When I shoot, if I go hungry, I struggle the entire time. If I have filled up on healthy food before hand, it is so much easier. If you are going to a party, eat before you go. If you are tempted by the plate of cookies, fill up on some great raw food first and then see if the temptation is even still there. Make sure you start your day with a green smoothie, it will set the tone.

Another great way to deal with the temptation is to have some of your favorite raw food treats around. But even with those, the green drink comes before the raw cookies, the raw cheesecake comes after the beautiful salad. Don’t fool yourself into thinking just because the cheesecake is raw, you can have it for breakfast.

Use common sense and if after you have filled up on your favorite, healthy recipes, you still want a taste of those holiday cookies, you will be in a much better place to make that decision. And, please, let’s just let go of the shame and the labeling. The holidays are all about love, and the best place to start is with ourselves.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly November 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

This is so true! When you do drink a green smoothie first or you fill up on raw foods you won’t tend to feel as guilty when you have a bite or two out of one of your favorite cookies or pies at a gathering. This way if your struggling with fitting in when others are not Raw Food people then you didn’t completely go off track for the whole night with non raw foods. Besides your body will appricate it the next morning when you wake up and do not have the aces and pains that others are experiencing from eating the non raw foods!

Elle (thewaybyelle.blogspot.com) November 29, 2010 at 10:59 am

Great advice to hang on to! I have been trying to incorporate raw and vegan foods into my holiday weekend. I’ve been trying to make decisions on a gradient, what are the foods that will make me feel the worst and which ones can I eat and still feel okay.

Thanks for sharing! : )

Cindy November 29, 2010 at 11:06 am

A good friend of mine who is a clinical nutritionist said that as long as you follow the 80/20 rule you will be okay. If you can eat very healthy 80% of the time, then that 20% when you don’t will be better handled by your stronger system! Love love love your writing style Susan!! Your writing creates such warm, cozy images!

Deanna November 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Great advice. After Thanksgiving, I have renewed commitment to eating healthy through the holidays, because even 1 day of indulgence left me feeling blech.

angela usher November 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

In our western society women aren’t supposed to eat and enjoy food. I remember a “Lean Cuisine” ad on TV where a group of young women were discussing what they’d eaten for dinner ie. a lettuce leaf or a carrot stick and one of the group described what she’d eaten ie. salmon and veg and rice (OK not our style but you get the picture) and the group looked at her aghast to think that she had the temerity to eat that much food! Raw food is so freeing : )

Aileen Devonshire November 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Great advice, I couldn’t agree more. I started my raw adventure in the middle of winter and somehow, around the same time, found myself going out to cafes frequently where I would be drinking bottled water or organic juices whilst those around me had delicious coffee and cakes. I tried to make sure my appetite was satisfied beforehand and rather than being a temptation I loved being around the smells and sight of luscious food. I wasn’t tempted to eat it, and I could still have the cafe experience thanks to my friends. Even recently (6 months on) I was out for dinner and enjoyed just smelling a glass of wine – that was enough. I’m amazed (and grateful) that it is like this for me and wondered if anyone else feels the same.

Ronn November 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

Aileen, I know just what you’re talking about! I can walk through a mall and smell the tantalizing aroma of the cinnamon rolls in the food court, without being tempted in the least to have one. You can smell something delicious and think “Oh, that’s a nice smell” and just enjoy it for that alone. It’s like smelling a rose — you can fully enjoy its beautiful scent without wanting to eat it! lol. Yes, I do know what you mean. And like you, I too am grateful it’s like this for me!

Rena December 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

Thank you for hitting the heart of the matter! We can have ‘treats’ and should not beat ourselves up over them – otherwise they wouldn’t be ‘treats’ would they?

Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA December 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

It is strange how some people are really into food and some people are not. My roommate constantly forgets to eat or doesn’t feel like it. That just doesn’t happen to me!

Sarah Mendenhall December 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I will be content if I just don’t get any chubbier. The holidays are not the time to try to slime down!

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