As We Approach the Season of Gluttony

Photo Credit: The Gothamist

Isn’t it interesting that for so many of us, all bets are off on watching what we eat from late November through December?  It’s like the universal “bye time” for diets and everyone starts over in January having to set new intentions and exercise more to work off the season of excess.

I prefer to focus on setting intentions versus ever calling the way I choose to eat a “diet”.  I stopped that in college when my desire to avoid gaining weight caused entirely too much obsessive stress.  Just saying the word will put an instant stop to any change in the way I eat because I enter a mental state peppered with depriving “shoulds,” “can’ts,” and angry “screw this” thoughts.

The only way I have successfully embarked on a mostly vegan, mostly low fat, low sugar way of life is that I keep it to mostly.  And before having babies when I was hard core about it for a year, the only way I could do it is if I made it all about addition versus subtraction. It was about adding something fun and interesting to my life, versus taking away some of my greatest simple pleasures in life.  I loaded up on vegan cookbooks; I scoured the web for online recipe resources; my husband (then boyfriend) and I tried out new vegan friendly restaurants in Austin every week; and I began hosting vegan gourmet dinner parties.

And when it came to visiting family during this “hard core” chapter, it always felt pretty awkward. You quickly transition from feeling connected, to disconnected. From go-along, to get-along, to high maintenance. How can you be a courteous guest in someone else’s home and request that they prepare special food for you that is different from what they would do for themselves?  Maybe you claim a new family onset of severe allergies to meat and dairy.  This might fly with someone you’re having dinner with for the first time — but family? Probably not.

So I’ve quite peacefully determined that when I’m a dinner guest at someone else’s house — especially family — I will ask that they do not go out of their way to make anything different for us than they already had planned.  We can opt to focus on side-dishes; or we can opt to eat everything there and not worry about it.

The next time I host Thanksgiving, I intend to make it vegan — for fun.  To see what’s possible!

This year, we’re guests at my in-laws and we will fully enjoy with gratitude a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

If you’re hosting this year and looking for some healthy, plant-based recipe ideas — check out this “Think PlantStrong Thanksgiving” blog post I helped to pen for Whole Foods.  And stay tuned for more ideas on healthier treat options for the month of December.

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