For many, the week of Thanksgiving is a festive, happily anticipated time. For those who have ever had any sort of food issues, it can be a time of anxiety and torture. The thought of being in a room with so many foods deemed ‘bad’ can make one wish they could just be sick or skip the holiday. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For years, I hated Thanksgiving. I hated the thought of having to sit and be around all of the rich foods that I never allowed myself to eat. The exhaustion I put myself through “prepping” and restricting so that I could “earn” these foods on Turkey day was unreal. And there comes a point where it’s just not worth it anymore.
It all comes down to two myths:
- Foods are either ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
- You have to “earn” your food.
Like I said, MYTHS. But for some, this is the creed and the end all be all of truths. And believing this only makes life miserable and it pushes us to further discomfort, shame and guilt around our bodies and who we are.
I believed both of these to be true once.
This morning, my husband and I had a random morning together and decided to get brunch. Brunch on a Monday? We don’t ever do that. When we got there, I knew I wanted a pancake. Not the multi-grain, not the wheat germ healthy no junk pancake, I wanted a pancake; with butter and syrup. And you know what? I got one to go with my omelette. And let me tell you, it was perfection. I didn’t even ask for the real maple syrup. I just went for it. Years ago, the Monday before Thanksgiving would not have been this picture at all. Instead, I would be planning my workouts, restricting and making sure everything I did was perfect to a tee so that if I ate anything ‘bad’ on Thanksgiving or whatever holiday it was, I would have already prepared for it. Unbelievable, but true. And sadly, I know there are many others in the same boat still today.
I was reading a magazine the other day, and it was going through the Thanksgiving and holiday feasts and laying out which items you should eat and which you shouldn’t, or which item is better based on nutritional value and calories. And I thought, hmmm, imagine where all of this good food versus bad food nonsense comes from. The thing is, if you look at it that way, you will only be eating what you think you should have, and not what you want. And then you end up completely unsatisfied. Or you eat the item that magazine tells you is the worse option and then you feel guilt, shame, etc.–feelings that should not be tied to food. EVER.
There are no good foods and there are no bad foods. Sure there are foods that are better nutritionally and what not. But if you label them like so, you are only restricting, and restricting leads to a place of binging, unhealthy food relationships and so much more. If you want the stuffing, EAT THE STUFFING. If you want the pumpkin pie, EAT THE PUMPKIN PIE (with whipped cream). You don’t have to tell yourself you earned it, or you deserve it, you just eat it. And allow yourself to taste it, enjoy it, savor it.
There’s a part of us when we are trying to eat clean and healthy that sometimes does a bit of harm. Sometimes we go overboard and we don’t cut ourselves slack. Every thing you put in your mouth does not have to be the most nutritious, the most healthy, and the best option. Give in to the concept of moderation and then perhaps you will find the balance. And as you sit down to Thanksgiving, decide what you want to eat, and not what you think you should eat. These are two very different things. Leave the 2 myths I mentioned at the door and then don’t pick them back up on your way out. It my take time, and it may not be perfect (but nothing ever is), but it will surely make your day of thanks full of a lot more gratitude and a lot less anxiety.
Okay, so it’s Turkey Day week. I have to make sure I get you all the pumpkin recipes I have because the shift to peppermint and Christmas Cookies is fast.
I love a good snack. I like something easy and tasty, and also something that will fill me up. I also love a little sweet something right after lunch and dinner. These Pumpkin Pie Oat Bites fit right into all of these categories. They have hearty oats, vitamin packed pumpkin and nuts to fill you up and get you all the good fats you need. But don’t be fooled, they still taste like a treat!
So get yourself in the turkey day spirit and whip some of these up to munch on as you prep for your week. They will certainly get you in the mood for the real deal!
- 1 c rolled oats regular or gluten free
- 1 c nuts any combo of cashews, pecans, almonds will do, I used almonds and pecans
- 2 T coconut oil melted
- 5-7 medjool dates pitted
- 2 T heaping, pumpkin
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Dash of sea salt
Combine oats and nuts in a food processor.
Process until broken down and grainy.
Add all other ingredients and process until a dough begins to form.
Roll into bite sized balls.
Store in fridge for up to one week.
If these seem dry, add a tsp or two of water and process or another date or two!