A Healthy Approach to the Holiday Feast: Enjoy Every Bite

Mindfulness is not just a path to spiritual maturity. It’s the secret to enjoying the tasty treats of the holidays without overdoing it.

Around this time of the year, I often ask patients to delay their blood sugar and cholesterol blood tests for a good month after Christmas. If they go for their tests too soon after a series of holiday feasts and weeks of snacking from the naughty list of food choices, their numbers are bound to be too high and not reflective of the other 11 months of the year.

And then they will use the holidays as an excuse.

We have to be realistic . . . and humane.  To enjoy the holidays and remain healthy, I tell my patients that moderation and balance are the keys.

If you choose to eat your favourite shortbread cookie or a Purdy’s chocolate, eat mindfully. Go slow and without distraction. Enjoy every little bite.

Consider that every food that’s not quite healthy has a cost – in calories, fat or salt. Be aware of that cost, and get good value for that cost. You wouldn’t gulp down caviar if you were paying for it. You would take your time and enjoy every penny of it.

Take your time with your holiday meal. There are several good reasons not to eat and talk at the same time.

I have seen families who have the habit (or tradition) of conversing with their mouths full of food – not just a nearly finished morsel in the corner of a cheek but molars fully engaged and cheeks bulging. They invariably get into a lot of arguments simply due to misunderstandings. It can be like trying to understand what a squirrel or chipmunk is saying. Chip and Dale may be two of the most confused and misunderstood Disney characters.

In these families, a member may indicate his plan to make a point by loading his mouth with a spoonful before saying it. That’s my indication to get ready to do the Heimlich maneuver.

So as you gather round your table to celebrate the season, the pleasure of good food and the blessing of our relationships, you can minimize risks to your health and your relationships by mindfulness.

Choose your bites and your words carefully . . . and separately.

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About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
This entry was posted in Awareness, Balance, Healthy Living, Relationships and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Healthy Approach to the Holiday Feast: Enjoy Every Bite

  1. mysterycoach says:

    My friend at work, since I like to pick, is always saying how I eat and she gains weight. I tell her all the time it’s about moderation and smaller portions. And of course, I think we have different body types as well, metabolism and the like. She’s always been heavier so it’s difficult to shift her habits.

    I’m completely a mindful eater 🙂 LOL … I love the holidays with all it’s yummy foods. Although, over the years I have had to cut down on high sodium items which wreak havoc on my body, which is okay. I pay attention other wise my eyes burn I’m irritable and I get all puffy no matter what time of month it is. (As I’m a woman)

    I hope you and your family have a lovely holiday 🙂

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