Some people believe that holidays and nutrition just don’t go hand in hand. We cook plenty and tend to forget that ingredients add up. We then eat plenty all the while forgetting the cooking process in which oils and fats and sugars and doughs were used in abundance.
But why do so many people feel that holidays MUST incorporate as many fatty, fried, and unhealthy foods? Let’s face it… while we might like to deny this, calories do in fact count regardless if it’s a holiday or not. Each bite, lick, taste, snack, treat and meal.
One thing our Torah teaches us is that our self-preservation is one of the most important things to maintain. This of course includes our health and well-being. We’re happiest and better off when we’re healthy because nutrition is something that affects us in all senses; physically, mentally, spiritually…
If you incorporate healthy eating and a steady fitness regimen, your body, mind, and spirit will feel better, energetic, stronger, and motivated which all affect the other aspects of our lives.
Pay attention to the differences as you begin your journey and throughout. Track your progress so you can look back to see how far you’ve come. Notice how different things may improve such as your ability to focus, your motivation, your levels of productivity and efficiency, your sleeping patterns and habits, your mood and attitude, etc…
Now, if you’re already well into your healthy lifestyle, then just remember how much better you feel when you ARE sticking to your healthy and NON RESTRICTIVE eating habits along with a doable fitness routine even if it’s as simple as taking a walk twice a week. Stick to your portions, don’t skip your usual fitness routines, and PLAN your cheats. If you plan to cheat with food, you’ll know what to expect and will be less tempted to throw in the towel in the face of a holiday buffet. If you plan to cheat with fitness, it’s super simple… plan to make it up!
When all is said and done, you can pat yourself on the back in spite of the cheats because you handled it preemptively; you planned and made the decisions without the influences of what you might see and smell at the table. Consider it a ‘job well done’.
For those thinking of beginning the journey of a healthy lifestyle, don’t wait! A holiday is just another excuse to push off something you know is important to you. The main question I get asked is “Should I start after the chagim?”. My response is “Strike the iron while it’s hot”.
So, this time you’re going to hold off because of a holiday, next time it will be because of vacation, and the time after that it will be because you have so much going on that you can’t possibly devote the time and effort to… what? Make some small improvements to your life in order to reap the plethora of benefits that a healthy lifestyle has to offer.
I say “pish tosh!”. NOW is the best time to start and it’s perpetually fleeting! Later will always be there so, relinquish all the excuses and devote just a little effort to making sure you’re the best possible “YOU”.
Remember that the holidays from their origins, never included fried foods and pastries but rather fresh and healthy foods from nature around us. While we don’t have to limit ourselves to greens and lamb, there is no rule saying we must cook in fat.
This Sukkos, remember that you CAN provide healthy and delicious holiday meals, not only for yourself but for your family and friends too! Share the healthy!
One of the mitzvahs is to eat in the sukkah which means we can make a point of preparing dishes that are easy to transport with an equally easy clean up such as salads, cut-up fruits and vegetables, vegetable kugels, veggie patties, etc…