My “conference to conference” reading of the Book of Mormon for healthy eating ideas has given me much to think about, especially at Christmas and the long foretold prophecies being fulfilled. As the Nephites marveled at the miraculous signs of His birth; the day, the night, and the day of light, the star and all things, even “every whit”, 3 Nephi 1:15-20) they shouted with joy! He came! He kept his promise! Jesus Christ, the greatest of all, who needed the experience of a mortal body through which he could experience trials and temptations had been born! He needed his body not just for his own life and salvation, but to help us with ours.
In Alma 7:11-13 we read: “He will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people … he will take upon him their infirmities that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
For those of us who are seeking to master our bodily appetites and temptations, this is so very comforting! The following letter from Dear Abby is familiar territory for most of us:
Dear Abby: Along with millions of other Americans, I am overweight. This time of year is particularly difficult for me because of the well-intentioned but misguided actions of friends and family. With the holidays upon us, I have the following suggestions for anyone who knows someone who is fighting the battle of the bulge (and who doesn’t)?
1) Avoid giving gifts of food. This means all food – even your special sugar-free coconut cream pie. Giving chocolates or other fattening treats is, at the least, insensitive and borders on downright cruelty.
2) Do not “push” food on another person. If you’re hosting a meal or a party, make a variety of healthy foods available along with any special treats you’ve prepared. Allow your guests to choose for themselves without comment. It is especially unfair to use guilt (“I made these just for you!”) to force food on someone.
3) Do not comment on how much (or how little) someone is eating. Such comments draw unwanted attention to attempts to maintain control of holiday eating.
4) Have some compassion. We don’t want to be fat. Losing weight and keeping it off is extraordinarily difficult for some of us. Don’t think that you know what our problem is, because you don’t. Obesity is a complicated issue with behavioral, emotional and spiritual elements. A single formula that works for everyone has yet to be discovered.
Finally, be supportive. If someone you love is trying to lose weight, be available to listen. Do not judge. “Chubby” in Pittsburgh.
You might want to print this letter out to quietly or anonymously share with important people in your circle.
It all brings me to some important questions: Could it be that one of the best ways I can celebrate his birth and life this month is to respectfully care for the body that I was given at my birth for my life? And to turn to him for support, because I know He cares and has experienced temptations too? This is a question to prayerfully ponder!
This thought and question leads to a question someone asked at a Weight Watchers meeting when I was a leader. As I presented the lesson for the day on managing holiday temptations, a woman in the back stood up and said, “I just have to say …“What does fudge have to do with the Baby Jesus?”
That prompted a lively discussion about cultures and traditions, and food being at the center of it.
The discussion was wrapped up with a Christmas ribbon when Kareen (read the story of her 50+ pound weight loss HERE LINKS PLEASE) said “Christmas itself is one day. Eating and celebrating a few select times during the month is not going to sink the ship. It’s taking control of the things you can in small ways throughout the month that make the specific, selected times you do choose to celebrate even more special.”
Well said! In continuation of the Dear Abby letter, here are three more things to helps us take over the reigns of our own Christmas health sleigh:
1) Follow Dian Thomas’s advice, down 125 pounds for seven years! (see her book at www.DianThomas.com) and take your own food to share at pot lucks and parties. If everybody else likes it, great! If not, then you know what you’re eating and can enjoy the meal. I’ve included the recipe for a delicious and very pretty holiday slaw at the bottom of this article.
2) Give non-food gifts to keep you out of the kitchen: Our favorites for years have been a bag of Christmas spices tied to a bottle of apple juice to make spiced cider. I have given the recipe below. They’re very cute with a big bow and a note. You can google non-food Christmas gifts for a ton of great ideas for both family and neighbors.
3) Keep the Christmas Carols going in your head: “I’m Dreamin Of A Thin Christmas” is one of my favorites to hum and sing to myself when it’s time to deal with cookies and treats from neighbors:
“I’m dreamin of a thin Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where my clothes all fit … and I can sit for hours, in my smallest jeans
I’m dreamin’ of a thin Christmas
With every day December brings
Say goodbye to this double chin, because by next Christmas
I’ll be thin!
(What do I do with those treats while I’m singing? I immediately freeze my favorites for my special times with others, and/or re-gift them to send with my husband to work, give to the mailman, the trash men, etc.)
So here is the holiday slaw recipe and another thought. He kept HIS promise to us, why not make a promise to Him and ourselves to celebrate his birth and life by caring for our own bodies in ways that we know would please Him? Now that’s a promise worth making … and keeping!
Holiday Slaw (Serves 12)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (10-oz.) bag of thinly sliced red cabbage (about 4 cups)
1 (10-oz.) bag of shredded carrots (about 4 cups)
1 (3-oz.) package dried cranberries (about ¾ cups) like Craisins
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp. honey mustard
2 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced.
Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stir well with a whisk. Pour vinegar mixture over slaw. Toss well. Best when allowed to sit and marinate for several hours. (51 calories per serving)
Spiced Cider Gift
We have especially liked sharingthis through the years because kids of all ages
can help. It’s fun as a Family Home Evening activity early in December to
put aside and deliver later. I look all year for the apple juice to go on sale,
and then buy in bulk.
Tie the bag to the neck of the juice bottle with a big plaid
ribbon and a Christmas card.
In a snack-size zip-lock bag mix:
2 TBSP.brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
10-15 tiny red hot cinnamon candies
Instructions: Add spice contents to apple juice and gently simmer until red
hots have melted. The red hots make it a beautiful blushing pink color!
Carolyn Allen has been providing weight loss inspiration since 1999 both online and in community venues in the Washington, D.C. area. Her favorite food is steamed broccoli (lots of it!) with a little butter and lemon-pepper. Learn more about her herbal health tonic and colon cleanse at www.MyMiracleTea.com