By Emilia Flor
This time of year, many folks eat too much around the holidays. Our eating patterns are erratic, and we have a tendency to overindulge. So, I am sharing some suggestions around eating well and eating strategically to maintain health and wellness.
This is a fun time of year to treat ourselves right. Hopefully, we can do this through the holidays by really showing ourselves the self-love that comes through restraint at the right times, as well as healthy indulgence. There are so many extraordinary dishes that are good for us.
I live/love food, and it is one of the things we have lost in our culture. Our holiday gatherings are an enjoyable time to touch our love of the culture of food. In every culture, we see ancestral recipes coming through the chain, and I would encourage us to think about our family recipes as much more than our moms and grandmas. What happened before grandma was actually a really healthy diet. Our diet started getting a ton (literally) of processed sugar and processed carbs, and we lost the macronutrient content.
What were our ancestral great recipes that tied us into the sense of nurture and sharing and everything else? Can we dial the recipes back a couple of generations and find those things to connect to, like cranberries? Cranberries are a very cool antioxidant and have some very unique micronutrients. I like to dice up cranberries in a food processor and throw them into a salad, instead of loading them with sugar to make some weird jello content. It is unusual to have a fruit like this come in winter, so it is a good opportunity to create something different.
It is also an amazing time of year to have things like amaranth, quinoa, and one of my favorites, farro. Farro is a gluten-containing grain, but it has this incredible structure and fiber to make it a much different experience than something like white flour.
There are probably at least six different varieties of flour that one could substitute into pie recipes. Our great-great grandmother’s recipes certainly did not have bleached white flour as an option. If we tie back to our ancestral knowledge, we really can prepare some of our favorite foods in a much healthier fashion. Of course, I like maple syrup as a sweetener. It is a good time of year to celebrate those maple trees and to partake. We tend to use maple syrup very sparingly. Because of the cost, it is showing the value of that commodity. Or simply, use the least unprocessed complex cane sugar, and it needs to be organic. There are very few places that are more chemically sprayed than the sugar industry.
Also, the order in which we eat can improve our experience. I recommend this: First course, vegetables – salad, roasted veggies, and all the beautiful fiber we can find. Second course, carbohydrates – we will want less of this because we are already full of veggies!
If we do overindulge (it happens to the best of us), I recommend skipping breakfast the next day (intermittent fasting) and cleaning up our act in the days following, instead of falling into the “leftovers” trap. Our bodies will need time to recover from the fun.
To remind us … this is the time of year that, ideally, we are gathering with gratitude and abundance. It turns out that, if we eat healthy, we will simply eat less, and our bodies will demand less when they are eating full nutrients.