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Create a Peaceful Holiday

Family at holiday meal

By Wendell Fowler

With Grandpa’s amen, I swear I heard the holiday buffet table groan from the extreme bounty of traditional, carbalicious warhorse dishes, as family and friends, forks in hand, applied their feed bags for the seasonal gorge-fest.

Holiday vibes encourage me to over-consume scrumptious mouthfuls of memory-laced traditional foods that evoke happy, innocent, less complicated times. Like the intoxicating aroma of roasting meats, bubbling pies, moist cakes, iced cookies and candies that transport me back to the warm embrace of grandma’s kitchen.

Cruel kindness prevails as enticing holiday foods parade before our drooling mouths. Woozy and weak from the holiday spirit opiate, we’re humanly tempted to divert from healthy choices. It’s only one day a year we eat like this, so loosen up and give yourself a break. My rule of thumb is to not be a jerk. Respecting tradition and moving things about, giving the appearance I “indulge”, but not entirely. I lost 100 pounds (ca. 45 kg) and beat obesity and heart disease, so I’m motivated.

Holidays arouse cherished childhood memories: oozing, safe feelings of unconditional family love as I lay snuggled on the couch, swathed in mom’s crocheted Afghan, bathed in the amber radiance of the fireplace, candles, a kaleidoscope of petite lights, and the scent of pine comingling with aromas of something lovin’ from the oven. My body tingled in anticipation of the arrival of jolly friends and family strung together like treasured holiday ornaments, filling the house with affection and joy, everyone hugging and eager to kick off the holiday.

I chuckle recalling the post-dinner Barco-lounger sprint, a symphony of napping menfolk napping, snoring, burping, watching sports, and speed talking womenfolk drinking vats of bold caffeinated coffee as they cleaned and put away dishes. Then there was the belt loosening competition and subsequent bathroom marathon. “Hey, watcha’ reading in there, ‘War and Peace?’” Uncle Ernie, smelling like a skunk, crept into the basement, returned coughing and inhaled his 3rd portion of pecan pie, eating Cool Whip from the container.

On my weekly local TV segment, each time I ring the fiber bell, I urge viewers to sprinkle ground flax or chia seed on everything they eat. This will add fiber and nutrition and reduce the time food loiters in the colon. Add 3–4 tablespoons of chia seed to the stuffing, for example, for a moving experience. Just saying.

Potential remorse begins with Halloween candy corn, segues into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and ends with repentance on New Year’s Day. Ergo, the invoice for holiday soirées will come due as our collective, weakened immune systems struggle with any dedication to healthy living.

In a gorgeous, albeit polarized world circling the drain of empathy, and compassion, we must treat ourselves and loved ones extra lovingly. Like there’s no tomorrow. Times to consider looking inward; shine our love-light on each other’s greatness, and hold space for one other.

As I age, I justify holiday bingeing with the earnest intent of undoing the damage the next day, not overdoing it, resting between gatherings, and daily movement. No, one day of foods I don’t normally consume isn’t going to kill me. But I am mindful it will render me less than whole, flatulent, belching, constipated, and bloated: my body’s not-so-pleasant way of telling me I’ve strayed. However, since I’m a softy for tradition and the loving holiday emotions that make the world go around, I refrain from placing reindeer droppings into my holiday punch bowl and do my best. MSN

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