“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments. ”
It’s November and that means the holiday season is just around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you look forward to the delicious food and drinks that are abundant during the end of year festivities. I mean, parties and family get-togethers are great, but I can’t wait to taste the succulent turkey with tart cranberry sauce, smell the sage and onions as they cook in the stuffing, and hear the cork pop as it exits the bottle of bubbles. (I hope that doesn’t sound horrible. I do love my family and friends, too!)
Of course, the flip side of all the celebrating is the very real possibility that our healthy eating habits go completely out the window. I’m not judging; it has happened to me too! There have been years that I decided to eat and drink whatever I wanted in the belief that I could do a cleanse and increase my exercise as of January 1st and all would become right with the world and my weight.
The above approach works in the sense that I do drop the weight eventually – but it is really hard! I mean, success in this way requires breaking the bad habits that I develop by consuming wine and dessert once (or twice!) a day on most days over the holiday period. And worse than that, not only does this approach mean not having any treats at all for an extended period of time, it means withdrawal symptoms that happen when my body expects sugar, alcohol and/or caffeine on a regular basis and I’m not giving in. You know what I’m talking about: the headaches, tiredness, hunger and bad mood that are no fun for me or anyone around me.
So, for the last couple of years, I have taken a different approach, which not only makes my life easier as of January 1st, but also reduces the damage that is done to my body by over-indulging too often during the holidays. My approach, which I believe is one of the secrets to enjoying foods that are purely pleasurable, is this:
Choose to eat only the very best version for you.
You see, I don’t believe that any real food should be completely off limits. But I also know the science and am aware that some real foods should only be eaten sometimes or rarely. This is because they don’t offer us any nutritional value and may compromise our bodies’ health. So, to balance my health goals with my sweet tooth, I now eat and drink whatever I want… so long as it’s the very best version of that food or beverage.
For example, I don’t eat chocolate or drink alcohol for the sake of it. However, if you’re serving Krumville Bake Shop’s gluten-free salted caramel chocolate cake at your party or you put a glass of sparkling rosé from Ravenos I Blanc in my hand, you’d better believe I am having it. And not only am I having it, I’m going to enjoy every last crumb and drop!
On the other hand, if someone is pouring a sweet sparkling wine, I’ll go for a cranberry and soda instead, because I prefer my bubbles dry and toasty rather than sweet. Or if someone is handing out chocolate chip cookies made with wheat flour, even if they swear they are super tasty, I’ll turn them down because I know that the after-effects of having the gluten wouldn’t be worth it to me.
Obviously, you might think I’m nuts and you’ll take a glass of sweet prosecco over dry cava any day: Fantastic! Or maybe you’re not into wine or chocolate at all and you prefer to indulge on vodka, tequila, pie or gummy bears: Right on! Or perhaps you go for savory over sweet and want to indulge in fried ravioli, pizza or chicken wings: Go for it! The point here isn’t what you choose to consume purely for pleasure, but rather the standard you apply when you choose it.
So, this holiday season, as you are enjoying the food and festivities, I urge you to commit to raising your food standards and indulging only when the best version of the pleasurable food is available to you. In doing so, you can drop the “guilty” from your pleasures… and probably finish the year a whole lot closer to your ideal weight and waist size.
I wish you the very best this holiday season!
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