Lots of holidays and special occasions are built around the menu, sadly. Live Without Sugar, Flour, & Wheat? Why in the world would I want to do that? My relationship with those ingredients has been a love hate dysfunctional relationship from the get-go. Sugar is delicious. Even Mary Poppins sang how it “helped the medicine go down”. Flour delectables are ooey and gooey. Wheat is claimed to be ‘healthy’. All are deadly to the health and wellness of my body, mind, and spirit. That’s my experience and what I know to be true. So how do I get along without them?
Traditionally, the new year is a time where I and possibly the majority of the world set intentions for change, make resolutions for being or doing something better. I’ve had decades of doing this over and over and over. Never reaching the high I craved from goals accomplished …until March, 2015 when I found out about the biochemical disease of food addiction.
From that moment on, I’ve been able to ditch the sugar, flour, and wheat with good riddance! I follow an amazingly satisfying and fulfilling food plan that supports a clearer mind, a healthier body, and a lighter spirit. It’s a total win-win-win.
Holidays and special occasions can be a little tricky for me though. For example, this past Thanksgiving I planned my abstinent meal. However, when we got up and started baking parts of the meal, family began to arrive. I totally enjoyed being with them. We talked and played right up until it was time to eat. It wasn’t until after we said the blessing and got in line to fix our plates, that I realized I had not put any of my food in the oven!!! What would I eat? I looked at the table of traditional foods hoping to find something I could put on my plate…to no avail.
I had to create a Plan B. From the fridge, I took a portion of butternut squash and sprinkled nutmeg on top; opened a can of tuna fish and added Duke’s mayo, salt, and pepper to it and 2 cups of baby tomatoes to the complete the meal. Not very traditional by a long shot but it was tasty and fulfilling. It’s all good I thought. Lesson learned. I’d be better prepared for the next holiday.
So when one makes the decision to eat foods that do not contain sugar, flour, and wheat, how do we get through the holidays and special occasions? Here are some of the tips that helped me not only survive them, but thrive in them.
- Plan Ahead — Yes, I had a plan, but I did not work my plan. A week ahead of the event, write out the parts of your meal one by one. Take it to the grocery store. Hang it on the fridge as a reference and reminder. Tell someone out loud what you’ll be eating. Hearing the words strengthens the overall plan. Perhaps placing your ingredients in a certain area of the cabinet will also ensure your success. Set an alarm for the times you’ll begin cooking or baking each part of the meal. Commit your contribution of food to the group. That way the dish you prepare is a necessary part of the menu, it is abstinent, and it is delicious for everyone else to enjoy.
- Focus On Being With The People Rather Than The Food — The most precious part of special occasions are the people who come, the conversations you have, and the memories you make. That’s what happened to me. When family began arriving, my heart went into overdrive. I love being with them so much that I lost track of time and purpose in the kitchen. I did however remember the fragrance in the air of the candles burning while we all sat around the table outside on the deck. I remembered where everyone was sitting. I remembered the sound of laughter from the stories being shared. I remembered the sun shining and the temperature being perfect for the day! I do not remember the items on the food table. I do remember feeling how blessed we all were in that moment on the deck.
- Think outside of the box — Traditions are powerful. They can limit our creative thought process. Think outside the traditional boxes you may have grown up with. Just because things were done one way for so long, doesn’t mean they need to continue that way. Lives change. Circumstances change. Be willing to change. Who knows, maybe there is an even better family tradition ready to be created and enjoyed! I had my meal planned. Things changed. I got side-tracked. I simply went to the fridge and freezer and grabbed some food, nuked the portions and enjoyed dinner right along with the rest of my family.One day our electricity was out and I needed to warm my food. My mind was stuck on ‘something warm’. When I stepped back, zoomed out and asked what am I going to do now? The thought ‘salad’ came to mind. So I went to the fridge and had salad fixins, added tuna from a can. I had a bag of sweet peas in the freezer so I ran them under hot water to defrost and warm them. Viola’!!! a great salad.
- Batch cook — Luckily I find the value in taking a day in my week to batch cook and fill my freezer bins for weeks worth of abstinent meals weighed and measured, ready to be warmed. I cook all 3 groups…proteins, veggies, and grains/starches in one day. Some people do it in 3 days where they take a day and cook tons of just proteins, the next day veggies, and the third day grains/starches. Finding a way that works for you with the most ease and grace is the goal!!Truly, where there’s a will there’s a way to enjoy your holidays without sugar. There’s so much more within the hours, days, and weeks of the holidays and special occasions than the food and sweet treats. Since I’ve left the sugar, flour, and wheat behind, I’m able to remember more of the food that fed my heart rather than the food that fed my tummy.