Guest Post: Thoughts on Holiday Eating
Post written by Amanda Odmark
As the holiday season approaches, I feel like I’ve been bombarded with “guilt-free eating” tips and advice. Holidays seem to be as much about food as they are spending time with family and friends(—and I’m not complaining here, I love trying new recipes to share with the people I love most.) ; I think that in and of itself is a beautiful thing, as breaking bread together is a centuries-old tradition. But we all know that holiday eating is something that can get out of control quickly; there are parties and dinners to attend, co-workers that brings in leftover treats from all those parties…it can turn into a veritable food nightmare.
Enter the “guilt-free” advice that’s in almost every holiday magazine, which, for the most part, runs in the vein of using low fat cream cheese in your favorite holiday dip. We have been conditioned to think that “low fat” means we can eat more, and that is the heart of the matter. What most of us are dealing with is a relationship with food whose roots run very deep and is in need of healing. Our relationships with food begin in infancy, and at this vulnerable time we are tended to by guardians who have their own food-related baggage. Most of us were probably encouraged to finish our dinner by the promise of a treat afterwards; a very common practice but one that makes us believe we must earn treats. We carry this belief into adulthood where we are able to feed ourselves, and often associate eating a treat when you haven’t earned it (i.e., before dinner) as cheating. But take heart! All is not lost—when we are able to discover what our relationships with food actually look like, the healing work is ready to begin.
I think the best advice (and far better than low-fat food options) is to practice listening to your body. Learn to be patient with yourself; a relationship that has taken your lifetime thus far to build is not easily changed. Begin slowly–when you are full, stop eating; such a simple thought, but one that goes against nearly every American food marketing campaign. Pay attention to the foods that give you energy and those that make your next day miserable. If you feel guilty eating a certain food, try to figure out where that guilt is coming from. Most importantly, enjoy yourself! “The opposite of mindless gorging isn’t not eating, but savoring — and you can do that only with satisfying food. If you experience psychological nourishment, you’ll feel sated more readily.” (source)
Learning to hear what your body is telling you is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Have a wonderful and empowering holiday season!
This is one of my favorite holiday (or any day!) recipes—enjoy! (I’m not sure the original source of this recipe—it’s been passed through my extended family and we all love it!) To print recipe click here
About the Author: Amanda Odmark
Check out her blog : All Your Roads
Growing up in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina gave me plenty of access to all sorts of fresh food- from my own backyard, grandparents farm, or anonymous neighbors leaving bags of squash on the porch in the overflow of the season…(sometimes its hard to even give it away!) With fresh and living food as a foundation, I am learning to cultivate a healthy life for myself; one that listens and contributes, that seeks wholeness and healing.
Amanda is a talented mixed media artist, graphic designer and a local food advocate centering around community. Her writing speaks the truth and gets down to the heart of the matter, in a way that touches your heart and brings you home.