A “Proper” Thank You!

Growing up in Scotland, we of course, didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. However, it wasn’t long after I moved to the U.S. that I realized what an important holiday it is to people here, and I can now understand why.

There’s no place like home!

It’s one of the few holidays that everyone wants to be “home” for. No matter where they are, how long the journey might be or how uncooperative the weather, there is a need to be with “your people”. It feels to me, that it’s a more important holiday to many people than Christmas (and Christmas is pretty darn important!). I’ve spent Thanksgiving in countless homes over the years, generously being embraced by friends and family happy to take in “just one or two more”, so I’ve seen a few different traditions along the way. uYrwXZnU5F828k32SElIiGLmjk9KZeRq5WIcwFKCmIs

What are you thankful for?

Without a doubt, the tradition that unifies all my experiences is that of everyone taking turns around the dinner table to say what they are thankful for. Such a lovely thing to do!

Turning the tables.

However, last Thanksgiving day, I spent the entire day writing emails to people who I felt the need and desire to thank. People who had touched my life in such a significant way that a short card just wouldn’t do! Last Thanksgiving happened to fall on the anniversary of my first surgery (bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstruction, November 27th, 2012, which was also my lovely dad’s birthday!) so it was a memorable date for me and that it fell on Thanksgiving day that year, it just seemed appropriate to spend my day thanking some of the people who helped me through that time.

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A “proper” thank you!

Shortly before this, I had listened to a talk on “thanking”. What I loved about it was that it made me realize that it’s so important to be specific when you write a thank you. If someone has made a huge impact on your life in some way, tell them! It’s not enough to simply write “thanks for everything”, “I couldn’t have done it without you”, or “thanks for being there”. If someone made that big of a contribution to your life, then they deserve to hear, in detail, exactly how. How they made you feel, specifically how they helped or encouraged you, how they changed your life for the better and how you think of them often because of all they did.

A new tradition.

I know you’re all very busy on this special day, but maybe take a little time and write a “proper” thank you to someone who you’ve never really thanked properly for something they’ve done to change your life. Imagine how special they will feel and how good you will feel for having done it. A very BIG Thank you to you ALL for reading my post! Happy Thanksgiving! xox email_signoff1_name    

Pass the Dish

With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, the holiday season is truly upon us! Of course this means the season of eating is also upon us!
Sharing a meal with family or friends during the holidays is what it’s really all about but for some of us, it can be tricky. The most important part of all these events is just being with those you love and the food is very much secondary.
However, these gatherings can be a source of stress for some and we need to be mindful of this. Someone might be trying hard to lose or maintain their weight. Someone else may have a food intolerance or allergy. Some may have emotional issues around food. Whatever the reason, just being thoughtful and aware can make all the difference. The last thing you want is conflict at the table during a holiday gathering. This is no time to force food on those who don’t want it, or to preach your way of eating to others. The holiday table is no place to get riled up or judge-y. Here are a few things to think about as you navigate the holiday eating season!

Be true to you!

If you have a particular way of eating for health or ethical reasons, you’re vegetarian or perhaps have a food intolerance or whatever it might be, don’t feel pressured to eat all the wrong things for you just to make others happy. You are the one who has to live with the consequences of this.

You’re not eating for someone else, you’re eating for yourself.

For example, I have a dairy intolerance. If I eat dairy I am not going to feel good later, not to mention that I know that eating food my body doesn’t tolerate has long-term health consequences, so why would I do it? Some people may not be familiar with food intolerances and allergies and so may push food not fully understanding how they work. They may think “oh it’s just one piece of pie with ice cream, what harm can it do”?

Kindly, but firmly pass!

Plan ahead.

To avoid confusion and stress, be upfront and let your host, family or friends know about your eating needs in advance and explain what you’re about. You don’t want to show up and throw your host into a tizzy wondering what they’ll feed you. Also, they may not know where to begin cooking for you, so offer to bring a dish or two, so you know there will be things you can enjoy. If you’re staying at the home of your host, arrive with ingredients in hand, or hit their local grocery store when you get to town. Make sure you have enough to share, and who knows, maybe you’ll introduce people to something new and delicious! Maybe you’ll even create a new tradition?!

Set your intention.

Thinking all this through before the event and setting your intention will help you stay on track. For example, what will you eat? How much you will eat? Seconds, or no seconds? Will you have dessert or not?

No, means NO!

Let’s say you’re working on maintaining or losing weight, you don’t want to derail all your efforts because you feel pressured or you’re not prepared. If you have a plan going in you are much more likely to be successful. Don’t make a big deal out of it either, just take what you want in the quantities you’re comfortable with and pass the dish to the next person. Also don’t be afraid to pass a dish without taking any. Most of the time people are so busy they’ll hardly notice this. If someone does bring it up, be ready with an answer, such as “I’m not eating {fill in the blank} at the moment” or “I’m saving room for more vegetables” or “I’m watching what I eat, but thank you”.

Stand up for yourself and your body!

Know yourself.

If will power is a problem for you, again, you need to plan for it. Let’s use dessert as an example. If you’re someone who can have one taste and stop, then do it. However, if you’re someone who has one taste and then before you know it, the whole slice is gone, then you need a diversion. At dessert time, plan to have a cup of tea or coffee and a small piece of dark chocolate. This way you’ll feel you’re still part of the celebration and won’t be sitting twiddling your thumbs while everyone else is on their 3rd slice of pie!

Beyond the event.

I think it’s so important to think past this dinner or event. Think about the next morning. If you stay true to you, you will wake up feeling fabulous, healthy and proud. You won’t wake up still feeling as stuffed as the turkey from the night before, sluggish and worst of all disappointed in yourself or guilty :(

Oops!

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, things go awry. DO NOT beat yourself up about this!! Be kind to yourself, look back at where things went off course and learn for the next time.

Love is fuel.

The MOST important thing is to savor the time with your loved ones. Fill yourself with joy and love and you won’t need to worry about filling yourself with food.
A “quick tip” if you are working on weight management ~ eat your veggies first. They’ll fill you up, nourish you wonderfully and you will be less likely to over indulge in the other higher calorie foods.
You know I’m all about vegetables, so I thought I’d include some fantastic recipes for the season.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Cranberries

This is a delicious and beautiful holiday dish from Julia at Julia’s Album www.juliasalbum.com. You’ll find lots of other fabulous recipes on her website, geared towards busy people who want to eat well without spending tons of time in the kitchen! http://juliasalbum.com/2015/10/roasted-brussels-sprouts-cinnamon-butternut-squash-pecans-and-cranberries/ brussels

No Bake Pumpkin Tarts (Vegan + Paleo)

These wee tarts could hardly be cuter! Thanks to Megan at Detoxinista www.detoxinista.com Megan is on a mission to make healthy living easier and more accessible. She shares quick and easy recipes made with only all-natural ingredients, to prove how delicious real foods can be. LOVE her mission!! http://detoxinista.com/2013/10/no-bake-pumpkin-tarts-vegan-paleo/ DSC02830

Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pistachios

The peeps at BuzzFeed have compiled “24 Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes that are actually DELICIOUS”. One stop shopping! The Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pistachios looks like an amazing alternative to the typical version. http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/healthier-thanksgiving?sub=3515499_4274987#.mmwZ32A9Y enhanced-8740-1416250307-6 How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share? Share below, we’d love to hear. Happy Thanksgiving! xo email_signoff1_name