Is Your Holiday Eating More Peace Love and Joy … or War, Stress and Self Loathing?

Is Your Holiday Eating More Peace Love and Joy … or War, Stress and Self Loathing?

December is a wonderful month of celebration, ceremony, and sacred observances in many cultures, faiths, and traditions. There are a staggering number of beautiful traditions and most are accompanied by dietary rituals… sacred or symbolic foods and drink, offerings, feasting and fasting.

Food has been used ritually for much of our time on earth, and in addition to being a fuel for celebration, often symbolizes culture, divine provision and interconnection.

I have had a lifelong interest in most aspects of food, from the scientific to the spiritual! Nutrition, food science, cooking, gastrophysics, political, cultural and environmental elements, food security, ancestral and traditional dietary patterns, are just some of the subjects represented in my bookshelves and research stacks!

Food is so much more than nourishment for our physical body. It should also nourish our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. I believe it is the embodiment of interconnection and the ultimate expression of our relationship with the rest of creation.

Unfortunately, skyrocketing rates of the imbalances that I see every day in my practice, have brought many people to an agonizing point… we are now faced with a large segment of the population who cannot nourish themselves in a culturally appropriate or traditional manner.

If you suffer from food allergies, sensitivities, digestive and gut issues, brain health issues, autoimmunity, imbalanced hormones, or metabolic issues including weight, chances are you know the pain of needing to adjust your diet.

Compounded by the distorted use or abandonment of ritual and ancestral dietary wisdom, food insecurity, industrial agriculture, a predominance of processed foods, super sizes, being bombarded by advertising, propaganda, and misinformation – we are moving out of joy, peace, and love with food and into food stress and self-loathing especially when guilt is associated with challenges to override evolutionary wiring to eat. Food sadly, is a battleground.

This season, many of the people you dine with may be agonizing over their food choices – maybe even you. Planning ahead and creating a strategy to help accommodate biochemical individuality can go a long way to relieving food stress and creating a respectful and supportive space for celebration.

Try providing a selection of dishes with fewer ingredients that others may have to rule out (gluten, dairy, nuts and seafood are among the most common issues), use whole food ingredients where possible, provide single ingredient snacks, and have a list of ingredients in each dish for anyone who asks (decorated recipe cards or menus are great for this!).

Infusing your celebration meals with some rituals to slow it down, express gratitude, reflect on the aspects of interconnection represented on your plate, and creating a stress reducing ambience can have an even bigger impact, by shifting the focus from extravagant meals to meaningful shared experiences.

And as always, reach out if you want to develop a solid strategy for your holiday entertaining and self-care.

Wishing you every good thing this holiday season and most of all – good health, peace, love and joy in your home and celebrations.

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