Eat Whatever You Want, Really

Eat whatever you want, really, on Thanksgiving and every other day. (I’m speaking mainly to myself and other recovering dieters here, because when I used to take a day off from dieting, I didn’t know how to eat normally, which is what I’m advocating here.)

Eat
Ecclesiastes 8:15 tells us to enjoy life, to eat, drink, and be glad. Amen! This year I hope to begin the Thanksgiving feast with a healthy appetite because hunger makes food taste the best. Sometimes I get snacky during food preparation and end up fuller than I’d like to be when I come to the table, but perhaps writing about it will help me to remember.

Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes

During the meal I intend to savor every forkful of flavor, which means not only thinking about the food as I’m eating it, but also giving myself and everyone else permission to dine in companionable silence, until happy murmurs of “yum, yum, yum” arise.

Whatever
Thanksgiving at our house usually means roast turkey and a vegetarian alternative, mashed potatoes and gravy, slivered almond dressing, green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows, rolls and cranberry sauce, fruit salad, pickles and olives, and pumpkin pie, plus a fruit pie or two. But the menu isn’t fixed—sometimes we serve even more dishes. What bounty God provides!

Kale Salad, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes
Kale Salad, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes

You
No one else knows which dishes top your list. I doubt anyone cares what we put on our plates unless they happen to notice we’re eating only cranberry sauce. The point is you get to eat whatever you want, and I get to eat whatever I want.

It all looks good!
Looks sooooo good!

Experts advise eating our favorite foods first to make sure we’ll have room for them. I tend to sample every dish, but the strategy backfires when my plate ends up overflowing before everything comes around. This year I plan to survey the table first and select the items that speak Thanksgiving to me, as in, “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the slivered almond dressing, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, and candied sweet potatoes.”

Spearing Olives
Almost got it…

Which dishes speak Thanksgiving to you?

I think the Thanksgiving feast is as much about interactions as it is about the food. What would it be without bumping elbows? Eating, conversing, and laughing together deepens our bonds.

It's Not Thanksgiving Without People
It’s Not Thanksgiving Without People

Want, Really
Eat whatever you want, really! I’m serious about the right to make food choices. The key word is choices. Eating mindlessly = Not eating whatever we want, really, because we’re not paying attention, so we’re settling for less dining enjoyment, less comfort.

It’s crazy! On this day more than any other day in American culture, it’s as if someone has given us a license that says, On Thanksgiving You May Stuff Yourselves Silly, as in laying-on-the-couch-groaning. Yep, been there, done that by eating just one more helping – repeatedly. Intuitive eating experts say the simple act of asking How hungry am I now? during the feast will make us feel even better after the feast. (I’m still working on it.)

The fact is, we’re allowed to eat whatever we want even if we end up overeating. But don’t worry. Not overeating is allowed, too! Our choice.

Here’s an idea: perhaps we could become picky eaters. Then we might have room for post-dinner treats. Anyone for chocolate and a game of football or Balderdash?

Creamy and Nutty
Creamy and Nutty
Balderdash ~ More than One Version
Balderdash ~ More than One Version

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2014

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