This time of year I start getting a lot of "how do I make it through the holidays?" type of questions. So, here I am about to break off some real big piece of truth. Alright, here I go with quite possibly a very unpopular opinion in the holistic nutrition realm. EAT THE COOKIES!
For the most part the cookies/holiday treats aren’t the problem. The problem is our perception and stress that circles around the delicious treats like nasty little vultures. The idea that one holiday season with some cookies or your favourite broccoli casserole is going to do you and your healthy eating in is more damaging than the treats themselves.
Now I am not passing out green cards to go nuts and forget vegetables that are not covered in cheese and butter exist, but what I am saying is that stressing over enjoying some gingerbread is going to do more damage to your digestion and your relationship with food that eating the actual food ever will.
When we create ridged rules around which foods are and are not acceptable to eat (sugar I’m looking at you pal) we create an attitude of scarcity. Not that there isn’t enough sugar to go around, but we end up telling ourselves that “If I’m going to start this diet, I better eat all the sugar NOW because I will never be allowed again!” This type of scarcity development creates optimal environments for binge eating, restrictive behaviour, stress and guilt when it comes to food.
It is important to remember that food is more than just food. Food is associated with social interaction, love, stress, happiness, sadness, family and yes, fuel for day to day living. As human beings we use food to connect to one another, to learn about each other’s cultures and upbringings and to share.
So, why would this be any different at the holidays? If anything all of the social, cultural and emotional connections we have to the foods we eat end up being super charged at the holidays. Additional meaning is placed on our meals, snacks and cookies and I think this “super charge” space is where a lot of our anxieties end up blasting through the roof. To help you navigate your holiday season and hopefully assist you in finding some stress relief around food here are some simple tips.
5 Tips to a Healthful and Joyous Holiday Season:
So, I am saying enjoy yourself, choose the items you really look forward to and still eat some vegetables and drink some water. I hope these tips help you to reduce some stress and anxiety around your food choices this holiday season and afford you some space to relax and enjoy the season.
My name is Brittany, I am a Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Certified Personal trainer. My hope is to help inspire, encourage and motivate others to live their happiest and healthiest lives.