Do Holiday Foods Actually Connect Us?
The holidays are upon us and the normal is to indulge. As a food and mood coach I am raising and exploring the question, “Do holidays foods actually connect us?”
The week this content comes out is Thanksgiving in America 2021. But the topic I raise is timeless. Please feel no pressure to change your holiday plans, but instead read on with curiosity and possibility. Food changes that last, do not happen overnight; the changes that stick are the ones slathered in awareness.
My food and mood clients are reporting their mood crashes from Halloween’s trick or treat candy. How can sugar taste so good in the moment and yet leave us either feeling low and or wanting more? We are exploring: is it possible to enjoy the holidays and connect with loved ones, without consuming the normal holiday foods?
One of the reasons I hear people justify their sugar intake is because of the social aspect. Eating sugar is often a social event, a moment of celebration, an activity to experience together. And behind the social aspect is a desire to feel connected to those we love.
When I eat sugar I feel a rush dopamine, an instant high that is exhilarating. But not soon after my energy drops. And quite often (especially if the sugar is highly refined) I feel very low energy and emotionally blue the next day.
I disconnect both from myself and from those around me after I eat sugar.
So when I think about the time and the connection that I want with my loved ones around the holidays, I know that the best gift I can give myself and them is to NOT eat sugar.
For years, I gave in and ate what everyone else was eating on holidays because I wanted to feel connected and apart of the family affair. What I noticed was that I would feel bloated and depressed leaving me wanting to take naps, lay on the ground, and retreat.
Over a decade ago, I started doing an experiment; what if I intentionally focus on investing in connection with my loved ones by hugging them more, engaging in conversation, and suggesting non-food ways of being together?
At the same time, I started standing my ground and passing on the foods that diminished my ability to connect and stay present in my own skin- namely sugar and flour.
What I found was true connection; both with my family and with myself because I wasn’t bloated or feeling blue.
The feeling of connection comes from our thoughts. We can feel awkward and left out because we pass on the sugar and flour OR we can stay present in our food choices that truly serve.
And in case you are wondering, yes all the fancy expensive organic sugars and flours do the same.
I encourage you to track yourself, watch what happens when you eat the classic holiday foods: do you feel more connected or do you feel like laying on the couch?