As the holidays approach, we always have a few clients who get anxious and talk to us about how they will struggle through this indulgent time of year. Do you know what we always tell them?
RELAX!! Go ahead and indulge!!
Enjoy the holidays and indulge in the foods you want to indulge in. This is the time of year to enjoy special time with your loved ones and enjoy the foods that are a part of your family traditions without stressing yourself out about it.
Now I’m not suggesting from Thanksgiving to January 1st you throw all caution to the wind and indulge in every morsel of holiday goodness that comes your way. Inevitably, these fun foods will still cause you to feel bloated and tired and leave you with cravings for more of the sweet stuff.
Now, I typically don’t have much meat in my diet, but on Christmas eve my Mum who is no longer here with me always made a giant batch of sausage rolls made with pork sausage meat, puff pastry, lots of butter, – you know, the works – and I always savoured every bite of those sausage rolls. Today, I carry on that tradition for my own family who would insist, the holidays are not the holidays without english sausage rolls. There are many other indulgences just like that over the holidays; my Sister’s famous cinnamon buns for a holiday breakfast, my In-Laws family carrot salad loaded with pecans, raisins and mayonnaise, to eat with Christmas dinner, my famous English Breakfast on boxing day, My father-in-laws walnut fudge, my husbands lasagna at our open house party and a seemingly unlimited supply of traditional holiday cookies and candies made by friends and family.
And do you know how much time I spend worrying about sugar content, added dairy or avoiding gluten? NONE!
And here’s why.
Years ago when I first started studying Ayurveda, I came across this quote
“If a woman could see the sparks of light going forth from her fingertips when she is cooking and the substance of light that goes into the food she handles, she would be amazed to see how much of herself she charges into the meals that she prepares for her family and friends.
It is one of the most important and least understood activities of life-that the radiation and feeling that go into the preparation of food affect everyone who partakes of it, and this activity should be unhurried, peaceful and happy.
It would be better that an individual did not eat at all than to eat food that has been prepared under a feeling of anger, resentment, depression or an outward pressure, because the substance of the lifestream performing the service flows into that food and is eaten and actually becomes part of the energy of the receiver.
That is why the advanced spiritual teachers of the East never eat food prepared by anyone other than their own chelas. Conversely, if the one preparing the food is the only one in the household who is spiritually advanced and an active charge of happiness, purity and peace pours forth into the food from him, this pours forth into the other members and blesses them.”
To be completely honest, my first thought was, “What’s all this mumbo jumbo about ‘sparks of light,’ ‘radiation,’ ‘lifestream,’ and ‘energy?’ Do people really believe in this stuff?”
I scoffed…but the words wouldn’t leave my head. I could not disregard them. It dawned on me that emotions, food and memory are deeply intertwined.
If I were to ask you about some of the best memories or moments in your life, I would bet many of them are connected to food and how it made you feel. When I think of my mother and grandmothers, all of whom have passed away, the most vivid memories are all related to food. Them cooking for me, eating meals with them, or the special treats they gave me. These are very positive memories and I cherish them.
I imagined my mother’s love for me and consequently my love for my family traveling down through my fingers and into the food I was touching. I saw the family food traditions and cooking as a way to pass love onto my family. A way to keep them healthy and happy.
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to do a Panchakarma in India. These are the deeply cleansing practices that are phenomenal. I highly recommend it! It was a life-changing time of renewal and rejuvenation. However, when the noon meal was served, we gave thanks for our food and it was ended with the words:
“Food is love made edible.”
Truly there is something sacred and beautiful about eating food that is lovingly and deliberately prepared by the hands of people with love in their hearts.
The same is said about the wonderful food traditions that are passed down through the generations most notably over the holidays. The secret ingredient is love. Receiving that energy and happiness from the foods you eat made with so much love is healing. Is it actually possible that food prepared with love tastes better? I say yes.
I challenge you to ponder the words from the quote and put them into practice. Love will shine through and surpass the negative effects of any extra sugar and calories. What a gift from our loved ones!
So go ahead and have another piece of your Aunt’s homemade pumpkin pie.
Food is pleasurable but we have made eating complicated haven’t we? There are so many diets and theories about diets that it is entirely confusing. What makes sense one day can completely change and it seems the rules of nutrition have changed again. In Ayurveda the rules remain constant – what changes are the seasons. If you would like to eat nourishing foods that are designed for your dosha and the season then check out our Ayurveda meal plan and sign up for a free 2-week trial.
Share with us your family food traditions over the holidays. We would love to hear about them!