|Grains: Use whole, unrefined grains, instead of white flour as much as possible. For instance: stone-ground wheat flour, brown rice flour, etc. If you are feeling really daring, experiment with using gluten-free grains such as almond meal and chickpea flour. Here is a great website for exploring the gluten-free grains: http://www.thedailydietribe.com/p/essential-gluten-free-baking-guides.htmlMeats: Choose organic and humanely-raised if at all possible.Of course, the highlight of Thanksgiving is eating and enjoying yummy food with loved ones. But how can we do it without completely gorging ourselves, feeling yucky afterwards, and falling into that self-defeating spiral of eating more of the bad food because we have already failed?Key Tips:
- Try sampling a little bit of everything so that you won’t feel like you are depriving yourself of anything.
- Eat slowly- set your fork down between bites.
- Really try to savor each mouthful so that you can truly enjoy it. So many of us rush each bite that we barely even taste the food. If you eat more slowly, you will be helping your digestion and your metabolism to boot- so more incentive to sit back and slowly enjoy what is on your plate.
- Use the 80/20 rule. This is a practice where 80% of the time you eat food that is good for you, and 20% of the time you eat whatever you want. And the key to this is that it allows for indulging without guilt.
Survival Tactic #2: Compassion
For some of us, holiday family gatherings bring more stress than joy. If that is the case for you, I encourage you to just sit back and try to understand each family member for who they are, without judgment or fear of judgment. View them as human beings swimming through this game of life, just as you and I are. Personally, I have found it easier to have compassion when I allow myself to step back and view things from that perspective. It is easier said than done, I know, but just play with it, and see if it helps you shift the experience in your mind from one of pure discomfort, to one of acceptance and love.
Survival Tactic #3: Breathe
Remember to BREATHE. If you feel yourself getting agitated or anxious, take a deep breath. If you want, you can take it a step further, and on the inhalation, breathe in the negativity you are sensing. On the exhalation, breathe out loving kindness- showering the people around you with love and compassion.
Survival Tactic #4: Sometimes it’s OK to Just Say NO.
So often we have competing demands and expectations during the holidays from family, friends, work, and groups we belong to… I am giving you permission to say “no”, despite what feels like pressure or guilt from your family or friends. Check in with yourself and ask, “Do I really want to do this?” If the answer is “no”, or “kind of”, or “no, but I should”, then you have your answer. In that case, it is ok to say “no”. Your mental and physical health should take precedent over anything else whenever possible. Admittedly, some of my most cherished holiday memories have been when I just said “no” to the pressures from my family to fly home for holidays, and instead shared relaxing meals with good friends and sent my family love from afar.
Survival Tactic #5: Gratitude
Being thankful for what you have can be a tremendously powerful tool for staying emotionally healthy during this time of shopping, gift-giving, and all-around consumerism. I go through my mental list of things I am thankful for on a daily basis, and it really helps me keep my head and heart in an uplifted, emotional state. A simple way to start is: “I am so happy and grateful for…” Nothing is too small to be included in this list- if you are grasping for something, you can be thankful for the clothes you are wearing, the shoes on your feet, the car that you drive. This exercise helps you remember how wonderful your life really is. Try it and see how it feels for you.