New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

November 23, 2011

Lori Brothers: Gratitude theme of holiday feast

NEW CASTLE — Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day were like Thanksgiving?

There would be more cooperation, more appreciation and a lot of positive expectancy.

The golden nuggets of purpose (partaking of the feast) and gratitude are the centerpieces of the holiday. No denying, the full-on eating, followed by relaxation, makes the entire dynamic extremely attractive. And then there are the leftovers….leading to more eating, and more relaxing.

You know the commercial for the crescent rolls where two guys are arguing over who gets the last roll, then a woman pops out of the kitchen singing, “I have more crescent rolls!” Well, that is the vision of abounding abundance that rocks the house on Thanksgiving Day.

I’m not a crescent roll person, but the overwhelming momentum of the food and the people, plus the focus on tradition has captured our hearts and stamped them with the seal of goodness.

Let’s think about the larger dynamic behind Thanksgiving. Whether you are the cook, or the guest, the main purpose of the day is gathering around the table ready to devour the same foods you have eaten every year, cooked the same way, with the same flavors and textures that fill your senses with “Yessss…. this is Thanksgiving.”

In a very informal poll, I’ve discovered that many people consider Thanksgiving to be their favorite holiday. I think it is because it is all about the ultimate comfort. Everybody is gathered together, there is a sense of sameness in the smells, tastes, textures, and there is an order to things.

There is a great safety in this. It is the ultimate act of “coming home” every year. It is a ritual that promises personal comfort, joy and satisfaction. This is true even if you have those pesky individuals that show up at the table every year that aren’t so pleasant. We are all still there to receive same fulfillment that the day promises to deliver — a full plate and a full belly of our favorite dishes. Waiting all year for the event makes it all the more savory.

I have a friend who married a Swede. She still makes a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner and invites any and all stragglers who are up for the experience of the American feast in Sweden. It is a lot harder to find pumpkin over there, so I am told. No matter where you are, there is a deep appreciation for this ritual that celebrates connection and tradition.

If the theme of Thanksgiving is abundance, the feeling behind abundance is gratitude. Abundance is having more than enough, leading to gestures of opening up hearts and homes, and sharing. We all love to make that connection with good food. Gratitude is the “feel good.” At my table we all say grace and then name what it is we are thankful for one by one. Some have only a one- or two-word answer… they are ready to go for it. But it does add a deeper dimension to the event.

Thanksgiving is the one time of year that we even consider throwing our health goals aside just to dive into all of those “memories of old” with our noses and taste buds. So unless you’ve planned ahead how you will bring your healthier version of the old traditions to the table, put to practice the saying, “everything in moderation!”

And remember when the weekend is over, come Monday, is the day to renew your goals and return to the habits that will contribute to a different kind of abundance.

Creating your good health makes you as wealthy and abundant as the overflowing joy of chunking down a piece of pumpkin pie on your plate after you’ve wiped up that last bit of gravy with your buttered dinner roll.

The cookie recipe this week is a nice bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has been modified to be a low fat recipe. The cranberries tie Thanksgiving to the festive orange zest that ushers in the up-coming Holiday season.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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