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Nourishing Holidays

By Rita Miller-Huey

(Page 1 of 2)

Ah, “‘Tis the season….” But for many of us, it is another day of the same old thing, or, maybe worse, it is a time when there are even more expectations and responsibilities placed upon us than we usually face. May be they come from inside, or maybe they are expectations from others, none-the-less, the holiday season can be more burdensome than joyful for many of us.

Hopefully, you can make some time for yourself for inner reflection—Some time to consider things or people that you are grateful for and some things that you would like to do a little differently in your future.

So, I invite you to consider your relationship with food! Some of you may scratch your head “Relationship” with food? I have relationships with people or pets, not food!” This may be true for the many of us who truly view food as a means of sustenance – You may know folks who truly don’t care what they eat and may even forget to eat, unless someone reminds them or prepares it for them. There are those of us, however, for whom foods, especially certain foods, seem to have a voice in our heads. It may sound like “I’m here waiting for you to eat me – please don’t leave me in this half empty bag (or container) in the dark all night” or “Oh, it’s the holidays and we both know I’m not good for you. Still, this once, just a little bit won’t hurt….”

As a nutritionist, I often speak to people about the nutrients and nutrition in the food they eat. I am growing in my understanding that there is a lot more to food than just the chemicals that make up the protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. In a book called Nourishing Wisdom, the author, Marc David, very nicely shows how the psychological and spiritual aspects of our lives affect how and if we are truly nurtured. In his book, Mr. David suggests that we need to experience food as a neutral thing – no “good” or “bad” food – and instead, listen to our bodies to know what to eat. The foods we humans eat are greatly influenced by our culture and psychology, rather than by instinct. Our bodies want, and need, different foods at different times. We prefer salads and light foods in the summer and soups and heavier foods during the colder, darker winter months. There may be times when we are happy or sad that we want a certain food, because it is familiar to us or associated with similar circumstances in our past.

At holiday times, we look forward to special foods. Why? For many of us, they remind of us happy times, special times and, perhaps, times when someone else was responsible for the cooking! These special foods have the capacity to nourish us in more ways than just giving us calories and vitamins and minerals. For each of us, we long to belong, to know we are important to someone or that we have made a difference in someone’s life. If, somehow, we are not sure of these things, we may turn to eating certain foods to feel comforted or to preparing foods for others to be sure we are needed and appreciated.

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