NEW CASTLE —
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Gone with the Wind.”
It must be the epic melodrama, plus the spotlight on the old south that grabs my interests. I watch it at least once a year, usually during a winter snowstorm, when the right thing to do is hunker down and wait it out.
This “hunkering down” concept is what you might want to adopt so you can move through the holidays without blowing all of your hard work. You may have successfully managed healthier patterns to lower cholesterol or perhaps you have lost weight. It is true that we are moving into the time of year when all of the good you’ve accomplished can end up gone with the wind.
The best way to hunker down is to prepare ahead of time. Have you noticed how crazy the grocery store gets when a winter storm advisory hits? Those days are fast approaching, I am so sorry to say.
When people know a storm is coming they prepare. They get water, bread, milk and other supplies ahead of time. You can do the same thing to prepare for the pitfalls of holiday eating. My suggestion is that you commit to success ahead of time.
Have a special shopping list of goal-friendly foods that you buy weekly. Keep these items in your cupboards, your purse, the car, etc. Find recipes that will substitute for regular recipes over the holidays. There are winners that family and friends will love and that also will meet your continued intention to take care of you.
If you know you will be at a party where you will be tempted, eat your healthy meal ahead of time so you won’t be starving. You don’t have to cook a complete meal if you are going out for a holiday event. Just oatmeal with apples and raisins, which is simple to make, will help to fill you up. Then you will not be as tempted by high-calorie, high-fat foods. Give yourself permission to taste and enjoy something you like without losing it and eating the whole kit and caboodle.
This is a silent storm that is brewing, not one that is in full force and apparent. It is one that may be raging on the inside as you feel torn between the favorites — including the traditions you’ve enjoyed most over the holidays — and meeting and maintaining your newer personal health goals.
For some, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For others, you have to admit if you have trouble with portion control. As Maria Tsikouris, our Ornish dietician says, “Know who you are!”
If you know you will be tempted beyond what is reasonable, have a plan. Take something to contribute that you enjoy. Also, if you eat at home ahead of time, you can nibble on party food in very small portions or just eat some of what you bring along, and focus on the socializing instead of eating.
Preparation helps us feel safe and empowered to cope with the challenge. Be resigned to get tough when the part of you that is still tugging at old patterns of self-sabbotage — we’ll call it your “Scarlet.” I urge you to summon your “inner Rhett” and be ready to say what he said to Scarlet as he walked out the door in the final scene of “Gone With the Wind.” You are stronger than you think.
Brandied pear bread pudding is a perfect holiday contribution to any party and will help you stick to your game plan to have healthy alternative to protect your good habits through this tempting time of year.
Brandied Pear Bread Pudding
Moist and custard like, this delicate bread pudding makes an elegant finale for a holiday meal, or can be taken as a healthy alternative to a holiday event. In other seasons, try replacing the pears with fresh plums, apricots, or berries.
Makes one 10-inch round; serves 12
- 8 cups 1-inch cubes stale nine-grain bread
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 4 cups diced peeled pears
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup egg whites (from approximately 8 large eggs) or liquid egg substitute
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
- 1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a 10-inch round baking pan, either nonstick or lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Put sugar and brandy in a 10-inch skillet and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add pears and simmer 3 minutes. Pour contents of skillet over bread and add raisins. Toss to blend.
In a large bowl, lightly beat egg whites and salt, just to break up the whites. Whisk in milk, sour cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over bread mixture. Mix well. Transfer to prepared pan. Smooth the surface evenly with a spatula. Bake until firm and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan. Serve at room temperature or chilled.