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Pass the potatoes, PLEASE!!!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I've seen a few blog entries around here from people who are dreading the Christmas dinners their families put on, and instead are bringing their own food and intending to eat it in a kind of Christmas dinner solitary confinement

Now, I have more than a few pounds of extra padding. I have struggled with weight my entire life, and weight has pretty much won the battle. But I really wanted to respond that I'd rather be fat than to have to eat like that.

Food is more than just fuel for our bodies. It's an integral part of our social structure, and sharing meals is a bonding experience that carries tradition into our times together and memories out of those times. A good meal, particularly a festive meal shared with family or friends (or both), feeds more than just our stomachs: it is pleasing to the eye, pleasing to the sense of smell, tactile, and even pleasing to the sense of hearing as conversation and laughter fill the room. A shared meal should fulfill all five senses.

We have gotten out of the habit of lingering at table, and food tends to be bolted down in front of the TV or the computer--I'm just as guilty as anyone else about this most of the time. It's partially because of this that the disconnect between fueling our systems and the true nourishment of dining has occurred. Even though dining out used to be considered a lingering experience, some fine restaurants are now making reservations for three separate seatings per table per evening, because they know that they can hustle diners in and out without the customers feeling rushed; they are so used to eating on a fast food schedule now that they don't even notice. Much of the time, they barely notice what they are eating.

There is some pushback going on in response to this speed-eating insanity. Restaurants like San Francisco's Saison are decreasing the number of tables and taking reservations for only one seating in an evening, with the expectation that diners will linger, talking and eating small portions of numerous courses over several hours. It's the kind of dining experience that was once common, and now is a sort of novelty.

How sad for us all. Where we used to spend time with family and friends, we now rush off to watch TV or play on the internet. Where we used to make memories of shared times - some good, some bad, some funny, some tragic - we zap something in the microwave and stuff forgettable food into our mouths. And wonder why we feel unfulfilled.

The holidays are often all we have left of those shared traditions. A group of people coming together to prepare and share a meal has a certain sacred, ritual nature to it. That nature doesn't belong to any one faith or creed; it doesn't depend on believing in anything - except the value of each other as human beings.

Yeah, lots of us suffer from difficult relationships with our families. Yeah, there can be division of labor issues with who does the cooking and cleaning up. But these issues don't detract from the bedrock nature of sharing both food and ourselves. Nurture is not just about providing the proper number of kcals and nutrients to ensure our internal combustion engines run at optimal efficiency. It's about feeding our minds and our souls as well, if not with the family of your birth, then with the family of your choosing: friends and loved ones.

And I come back to the idea of those bloggers surrounded by lovingly-made food, eating their solitary dinner while regarding the dishes around them as a sort of enemy, rejecting the love and caring that went into them in favor of food they've prepared only for themselves, and brought only for their own benefit. Will they feel smug and superior as they eat their spartan meal? Will they feel resentment? Will their families look at their plate with ridicule, guilt, hurt feelings that they have rejected their traditions in favor of something so meager? What will or won't be said because of their choices? What opportunities will be lost?

I'm not saying that the notions of healthy eating should be tossed to the winds and people should stuff themselves sick just because it's Christmas. But imagine that instead of setting themselves apart from family ritual, they'd brought a big green salad and some roasted brussel sprouts to share? That instead of turning their noses up at the ham or tenderloin or prime rib, they'd asked for just a sliver of a slice? That instead of closing themselves inward to the food-is-fuel mentality, they'd embraced the idea of dining-is-sharing? For them, Christmas dinner is an ordeal to be overcome, instead of a communion of family. And it doesn't have to be.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WSHAYES1 12/21/2011 10:02AM

    These special times and meals with family and friends should never be about the meal. It should be about the love and support we have for them. It's a time to share family time and the love we have for one another.

My family was from the old school of cooks, but my Mother developed heart trouble years ago and changed the way we do things. Watching someone you love struggle to get out of bed each day or to walk across the floor was not easy. It taught me that I needed to cook healthier, exercise and live a healthier life.

I tell people all the time that just because you didn't cook it doesn't mean you can't control it going into your mouth. Don't be afraid to ask the cook how she/he prepared the dish. Most of the time they are happy to share and then you know if you want to eat it or not.

I wish you and your family the best of the Holiday Season.

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MANDIETERRIER1 12/20/2011 9:03PM

    I totally agree

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EUPHRATES 12/20/2011 5:02AM

    Good points all (and why I'm a staunch "moderationist" if there is such a word - I'd rather have a taste of what I love and control my portions than deny myself things).

At Thanksgiving I brought healthy dishes to SHARE (mostly to say "See, healthy CAN be tasty too"), and enjoyed them along with all the other lovely foods my sister prepared, and did just fine. :)
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THE-MORE-GIRL 12/20/2011 12:38AM

    Amen! And there's also the issue of treating ourselves as adults. I am an adult. I can eat a small amount of high-fat stuff and a big salad. I'd rather stay home than bring a hermetically sealed baggy of oat groats and wheatgrass. And I LIKE oat groats and wheatgrass. emoticon

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THISISPRIVATE 12/19/2011 11:42PM

    I do agree with you so much. Sharing all the family meals is what I so look forward to. My Son and Daughter in Law are great cooks. They are healthy eaters but of course there will also be so many goodies that are not all that healthy because I am bringing them treats they would not buy. I can make a choice to eat their healthy food and forgo many of the goodies. I am so looking forward to my family time. Life has dealt me a couple of blows this last little while and celebrating Christmas with my family is just what I need!

emoticon MERRY CHRISTMAS

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TRAVLNWOMAN 12/19/2011 11:23PM

    I get what you are saying and agree with you. I count myself as very fortunate that I can stick to portion controls and good choices no matter what is served and where. I can enjoy my family and a huge meal and not worry about sabotaging my goals. It hasn't always been that way. It is just different somehow this time around. I think those people that bring their own food to gatherings are very much afraid of messing up. It is security for them. I can understand that too.

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AHNAZEE 12/19/2011 5:21PM

    Well said!

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CHEFSOPHIE 12/19/2011 2:23PM

    I agree whole heartedly. I have a vegan granddaughter, and she never makes an issue of her dietary needs. She just selects what side dishes she eats and joins in with the fun. There is always so much food during the holidays I've noticed no one even notices what you take or don't take. It's the being with family and friends, and sharing that is important.

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Heading into the holiday weeks

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm boggled that Christmas is next Sunday. How did that happen?! I am excited for family visiting, and sort of relieved that there is not much of a tradition of holiday baking and gobs of rich food with hubby's family. I am determined to get in some exercise while we are visiting, and not to gain any weight over the holiday. No mindless snacking!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EUPHRATES 12/20/2011 5:03AM

    Right there with ya on the "Wait, what the heck...how is it THIS Sunday?!?"
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CHEFSOPHIE 12/19/2011 12:39PM

    I share your goals as well. We are going to my son's and his family for the holiday.

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APPLESBANANAS 12/19/2011 8:08AM

    Avoiding mindless eating sounds like a good strategy. I think I will steal that idea from you and implement it. I neeeeed to get back on track at least a little, the holiday season is too tempting for a sugar addict like me. Good luck to you in the coming days!

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Snow!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today we are having "movie snow." It's just beautiful out. I am, of course, glad that I don't have to go out in it, but it's really pretty.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-POLEDANCEGIRL- 12/19/2011 9:43AM

    I love watching the snow fall while in the warm house. Its wonderful!!

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CAMMIECAT 12/18/2011 11:10PM

    Around here we call it "Norman Rockwell" snow.

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HONBAD 12/18/2011 10:10AM

    I totally agree!! It is the really beautiful, coat-everything and make-the -dreary-trees-look-pretty kind!

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TAMIPCHICAGO 12/17/2011 9:04PM

    We had a teeny bit of snow this morning. Enough to coat the lawn and cars, but not deep enough to really make an impact. It's on its way though, I'm sure. Not looking forward to it.

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TRAVLNWOMAN 12/17/2011 8:56PM

    We had our first snow of the year too. It was really pretty. I wish we could have snow and warm weather at the same time emoticon

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CELLOPLAYER1 12/17/2011 7:15PM

    We got a few inches over night. It was pretty this morning!

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EUPHRATES 12/17/2011 6:36PM

    Yeah, I saw that when I checked my phone before I headed out to get my wog in (no really, I have Kent weather saved along with Cincinnati - my mate and I determined during the LDR phase of our relationship that the general weather difference between Kent/Cleveland and Cincy was about 10 degrees and about 10 inches of snow).

Enjoy it for me 'kay?
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CHEFSOPHIE 12/17/2011 5:18PM

    We are supposed to have flurries tonight.

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PLATINUM755 12/17/2011 1:56PM

    Same here. Just enough to know it's there, but no need to shovel...I like this too!

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Whiplash

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yesterday morning as I was dressing for work, I pulled on a sweater that, the last time I wore it, was too tight. But now it fits comfortably again. That made me feel good.

Then yesterday evening hubs and I broke out the new Dance Central 2 game for the X-Box, which is great exercise but also takes pictures of you and then shows them. And OMG I look like a blimp. I just wanted to cry. I didn't. I kept dancing. But I didn't feel very good about myself.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUE42DOWN 12/16/2011 3:59PM

    Problem with that picture on the TV (even subtracting the 20 pounds it sneaks onto us =P)? You didn't have a "Before" to compare it to, so all you had was now. Even without seeing that picture, you knew you still had a ways to go or you wouldn't be there dancing in the first place.

Imagine you're wearing a shirt that say "Work in Progress" or "Under Development". You're not done yet. But you're DOING something about it and that matters a lot.

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SHOOPETTE 12/16/2011 2:15PM

    Ups and down, concentrate on the ups, these things don't take good pictures anyway

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AMANDASHRINKING 12/16/2011 10:44AM

    i love that game but I feel the same way when it shows me myself good job on the kept dancing though

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TRAVLNWOMAN 12/16/2011 7:52AM

    I am so glad you kept dancing but so sad you let it make you cry. The sweater is telling you the truth. The distorted picture from the TV is telling you lies. It's kind of like they were playing "good cop, bad cop".

Does the cop you listened to present a pattern in your life? Do the negatives sound more believable to you than the positives? If so, then it is time to start practicing believing all the good things. Hold them near your heart and celebrate. Take those negatives and karate kick them right out of your life!

Your sweater is not growing. YOU are shrinking! emoticon

You are emoticon

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Kimberly

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ORGANIC811LFRV 12/16/2011 7:35AM

    It will get better. Just continue on. emoticon

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Grocery store on an empty stomach, and yet success!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I got in my workout this morning, but was running late, so ran out of the house without more than a glass of milk. I had to run around downtown, visiting three different courthouses, then make three other stops. The final one was the grocery store, and by that time I was pretty hungry. And everything around suddenly looked delicious.

But I took a deep breath, focused on what I came for, and only succumbed to one chunk of gouda cheese, which I need for a cheese platter for an event anyway. Everything else was just what I'd gone in for.

Then I drove past the line of fast food temptation and came home to eat my healthy lunch.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-POLEDANCEGIRL- 12/16/2011 11:12AM

    ROCK ON!!!!! That takes will power!!!

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MARIE405 12/15/2011 7:08PM

    Great Job. Now that is Will Power. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHEFSOPHIE 12/15/2011 4:20PM

    Well done!

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TRULYVISIBLE 12/15/2011 3:05PM

  Great job, I admire you for that! For me shopping on an empty stomach is a disaster. The last time I did that and came home I looked at some things I bought and said WTF!

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SHOOPETTE 12/15/2011 2:46PM

    awesome job!

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BLUE42DOWN 12/15/2011 1:12PM

    Good job resisting temptation!

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