Monday, November 19, 2012

Let The Eating Begin!

Thanksgiving is almost here! If there is one holiday that sums up our food culture perfectly, this would be it. It is a day expressly designed for conspicuous overconsumption of a plethora of “goodies” that are not so good for us. Oh sure, Halloween has candy and Christmas has cookies, but Thanksgiving has it all! It is a mother lode of mashed-up, carb-laden delight, with all manner of potatoes and squashes and stuffings, whose main reason for existence is to soak up copious amounts of butter, cream and greasy drippings. And don’t forget the signature dessert of the day, pumpkin pie, but also the runners-up, apple and mincemeat, no calorie slouches themselves. Even normally healthy foods are not safe on this annual homage to gluttony. Consider the plight of the noble green bean, the poster child of food that is good for you, yet on this day it seems it must be smothered with cream of mushroom soup and crispy fried onions.

Thanksgiving was tough for me during the first few years of maintenance. Even at times when I was doing fairly well distinguishing the concept of nourishment from all of the other meanings I had assigned to food, on that one day it seemed that no matter what, food was love, food was family, food was belonging, and if I couldn’t eat all that stuff, I was alone and forlorn. I did manage to get past that, thank goodness. The last few years, what has worked best is to just be conscious and avoid a total pig-out. Being conscious means that I don’t eat something just because it’s there. Avoiding a pig-out means that I only take a second helping if it’s something I truly love.

Recently, we’ve decided to share the cooking duties for my family’s celebration. My mother does the turkey and mashed potatoes, my sister-in-law does desserts and appetizers, and I do the side dishes. This has actually been a great thing because I get to have fun with vegetables – you all know how much I love vegetables! The first year we did this, I made my favorite cold green bean salad. This recipe is nothing like the green bean and mushroom soup dish I mentioned above. It’s full of crisp veggies and fresh herbs, with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. Before I made it for Thanksgiving, I had thought of it as a summer dish, but it worked quite well for the holidays and so now I make it for Thanksgiving every year. Last year, I experimented with roasted Brussels sprouts. Another big hit. So much so that I’m going to add roasted cauliflower to the side dish menu this year. Having something delicious and lower-calorie on the table is a big help to keep the meal satisfying without risking a big weight gain.

All that said, I will still probably eat too much on Thanksgiving. I will also probably gain a couple pounds. The thought of that used to make me crazy because I equated gaining a couple pounds with regaining the entire hundred pounds that I lost. Now I know that as long as I get right on those couple pounds, I’ll be okay. You could say that this realization is something I give thanks for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Sandy! Thanks for the green bean recipe--that sounds delis.

    And roasted veggies--yumm. If I can find some good brussel sprouts I will add those to my private Thanksgiving feast!

  2. I hope you had a great holiday Debby! I made it through with minimal weight gain. All in all, a success!