Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes, I WILL have a side of butter with that.

Thanksgiving is two days away and I plan to eat. When I say 'eat', I mean indulgently and gleefully.

And gluten free, of course.

The majority of my recent posts have been about my endeavors toward a healthier lifestyle which includes exercise and better eating habits. It has also meant giving up foods that my pre-Celiac self loved and NOT finding replacements for them. Because, my hiney did NOT love them. So, I'm off to a great start being 13 pounds lighter and a few inches smaller all around.

This journey of mine includes eating whole foods, like real butter and full fat cheese. I happen to like non-fat Greek yogurt, so that stays.

What it also means is the plethora of articles starting to surface offering recipes for reduced/lighter calorie foods to serve holiday guests, will be ignored by yours truly. Instead, you'll find butter canoodling with the gluten free bread cubes in MY stuffing...none of that crap in a tub.

I realize the intent of these articles is to help us navigate a busy season of gatherings, where we are exposed to copious amounts of food. I envision people facing weekends full of parties and office celebrations and gifts from neighbors, etc. It goes on and on.

If you are faced with party after party after party, then eat healthy between events. Eat smart AT the event. Don't splenda up your desserts so that you can have a huge piece. If you like splenda, then do what makes you happy. But foods that are not turned into frankenfoods are so much tastier without all those words in the ingredient list that sound like a lost ancient language. You can admit it...whole foods taste like someone sprinkled sugar on heaven.

Trying to convince yourself that 'lite' versions are just as yummy is useless, your tongue and stomach know the difference and they are NOT on board with your brain.

I'm saying all of this because I'm tired of demonizing our indulgent holiday meals because we can't manage to eat healthy the other 10 months out of the year, so we take our guilt out on Thanksgiving (or Christmas) dinner instead.

I guess you could say it will be easier for me to say "no" at the buffet or cocktail party or whatever, because it will likely offer up a gluttony of gluten laden foods. However, there is a good chance I'd tolerate a lot of the foods with relatively little stomach pain or side effects, most of which would go away after I return to better eating - I won't swell up or go into anaphylactic shock, like some people with food allergies do. In other words, the only thing stopping me from 'cheating' is that I know these foods are not good for me long term. I'm not entirely sure why I couldn't grasp this concept before I gained all this weight, but it boils down to self control and willpower - two things I was SURE I lacked, but apparently have recently unchained from the deep recesses of my psyche. This newly found skill of mine is being applied to my everyday eating as well as holiday eating - love it, eat it, moderate it.  (this may not have carried over to my love of wine...)

Anyway, this post turned out longer than I planned. What I wanted to tell those of you frantically searching for reduced fat/sugar/flavor recipes for your favorite holiday foods is to just stop the cycle of insanity. You've got oodles of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's Eve to eat a healthy variety of foods that balance out the indulgences. I know self control is hard, I've got 70 extra pounds on this body that can attest to it. But at some point it all boils down to deciding to enjoy the things we love in smaller bits and pieces than trying to create Frankenstein foods so that we can just shovel in more of it.

I wish you all a joy filled and delicious holiday season!

p.s. - There are always exceptions: people with high cholesterol, etc. This is a general post on how I feel about trying to eat healthier as I see it, but also enjoying the season that happens for a very short time each year. Just wanted to get that out of the way. Cheers!


  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    I always learn a little more about you and the problem with Celiac. Today I've learned that you, dear Amiga, can actually safely ingest minimal amounts of glutten, with little stomach pain or side effects, as long as you don't do it often and long-term. However I am sure you do your best to stray as far as you can from glutten. :)

    Have a very, VERY delicious and Happy Thanksgiving. And please, PLEASE stay healthy!

    Mucho love and BIG hugs,

    1. Actually, I don't know if I can ingest them without pain...right now. I'm speculating that I probably could. I do react to something in food...still. Once I'm 'healed', I will likely be able to eat foods with gluten and not have too much of a reaction initially. Long term I don't know what it would do if I were to let it get out of hand. I don't want to risk it, so I tell myself "no".

  2. Anonymous1:02 PM

    HUZZAH for kicking that guilt-monster to the curb! HUZZAH for bringing sanity back to the table! HUZZAH FOR BUTTER!

    I really do feel so much better about myself when I quit the food drama. I didn't light a puppy on fire, or push someone's wheelchair-bound grandmother off a cliff. I HAD A PIECE OF CAKE. (Maybe two. Whatever. It's cake, people, not a criminal act.)

    Glad to hear you celebrating yourself...even though you think you're just talking about food, you're talking about your triumphs over so many things.

    A. stands for Also planning to eat

    1. Thank you! Food navigation shouldn't be so damned hard. The information and counter information and counter-counter information out there in the big wide world is so confusing! It's hard to know what is good for you and what isn't. So, I'm eating food in its least processed state, because most food (even the 'healthy' stuff) is processed in some way. It's funny, but I feel more satisfied when I eat less of full fat versions of a food than I do 'lite' foods.

      And, you are right. I am talking about more than food. :-)

  3. You have posted about something that's been on my mind a lot lately. With what can seem like constantly changing information about what foods are "good" or "bad," I have to say I agree that whole foods, real foods, whatever we call them, are better for us. I keep going back to the idea of the Mediterranean diet, where fats are not the enemy. People around the Med eat food, not the stuff in the tub. To each his own, but I'm going to take my chances with real olive oil, real butter, in moderation. As for the occasional treat... as the comment above says, it's only a piece of cake, not murder.

  4. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Hi there, I know this post is a late to the party. I just want to say that your blog has intrigued me! You had me at managing zombies but the discussion on eating 'food'definitely caught my eye. I look forward to your future posts!