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you have been out and about in the last couple of weeks, you probably noticed
that the big shopping hubs are already playing Christmas music. By the first
week of November, everybody knows that, along with some turkey and some
mistletoe, Christmas carols are the alarm clock, waking us up to the social
demands, hopes, and expectations of the coming Holiday season.
for some, the holiday season mix and mingle runs like a month-long party, for
others, it can be a 30+ day reminder of loneliness and isolation.
will guess that for most of us, this time of year is an odd combination of
both. There are celebrations we want to attend, but with people we don’t care
to see. There are people we want to see, but they are in places we don’t want
to go. There are places we want to go, and people we want to be with, but we
don’t get invited. And of course, there are times we think we have to go out
when we would rather stay quietly at home.
common holiday dilemmas take on a whole new flavor for people who do not eat
the Standard American Diet (SAD). Let me explain. I belong to several online
Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) communities. I also speak face-to-face with a lot
of people about food and nutrition. At this time of year, one question that
comes up almost daily is, “What should I do about going to dinner with my
family/friends over the holidays?” Typical follow-up statements are:
this sounds familiar to you, trust me, there are a lot of us in that same gravy
boat. For example, one woman, Sue, told me that when she and her children
switched to a WFPB diet a couple of years ago, her parents tried to talk her
out of it. Her mom called her crying, solely to voice her worries. They even
sent Sue pamphlets about the importance of children eating the recommended
daily amounts of protein and dairy.
parents kept on for months, but Sue felt it was ok because she knew her parents
loved her and her children. Besides, her parents lived several states away, and
she was always able to end the conversations on a positive note. Eventually,
they stopped talking about it.
subject seemed to be off the table until Thanksgiving Day when Sue and her
family went to her parents’ house for a long holiday weekend visit.
made sure to bring plant-based meal options for her family. She had enough to
share with others, as well. When it was time to eat Thanksgiving dinner, Sue’s
parents served the food. Speechless, Sue watched as her parents loaded the
kids’ plates with turkey, butter-soaked mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese,
green bean casserole with ham chunks, and candied yams topped with
was shocked that after so many conversations about diet, her parents would go
against her wishes like that. Worse still, Sue had come from a long distance,
the kids were looking forward to spending time with their grandparents, and
they weren’t due to go back home for another three days! Obviously, this was a
tough situation to handle.
told me, “I felt so disrespected and hurt! I wanted to walk out right then, but
that would have only made a scene. Somehow I managed to keep a cool head. I
decided to hold my tongue. I gave my kids the WFPB sides we had prepared. I had
a big talk with my parents in private, you know, later, after everyone else
left. I am glad I kept it all in perspective. I am sure it would have exploded
if I let it. I am grateful that it worked out ok in the long run.”
this is an extreme case of SAD overreach. It can occur, usually to a lesser
degree, any time WFPB folks get together with family, friends, or co-workers
who are not sensitive to Whole Food Plant-Based eating.
story leads me back to the thought of lonely people at holiday time. If you are
a person who eats a WFPB diet, be prepared for those holiday invitations so
that you can go and enjoy yourself. Here are some tips for being plant-based at
a SAD gathering. Bonus: They will work for any gathering, for any reason, at
any time of year.
In other words, unless someone is stuffing animal products in your mouth, there is no need to get insulted about food. I mean it. If you are at a party, the goal is to have fun. Getting aggravated about what there is to eat defeats the purpose. Plan to go to the gathering to have a great time. Laugh, talk, and be with your family and friends. Eat what you brought for yourself, and share with those who are interested. Choose to make it your mission to bring more joy to the world wherever you are, whatever the circumstances, no matter what you find on the table.
There’s certainly a lot to find out about this subject.
I love all the points you’ve made.
Thanks! Glad you stopped by!