The holidays are always a difficult time to maintain or pursue health and wellness, what with the cornucopia of rich foods, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike), pastries, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and a surplus of pies, cakes, ice cream, sundry desserts and sauces. The good news is that you can eat well during this occasion – you can enjoy delicious meals and snacks – without compromising your diet or succumbing to a roomful of culinary temptations.
As I explain on my own site, and as I seek to mention here, there is no trade off between great taste and sound nutrition; there is no false choice between healthy eating and unappetizing dishes; there is no need to believe that wellness comes at the expense of living well; there is no conflict between savoring the flavors of delicious fruits and vegetables, or a colorful variety of treats, and improving your overall diet.
People should know that choices abound concerning this fact, that creativity is at the center of a renaissance involving what we can do in the kitchen – what we can do, as shoppers, before we even enter a kitchen – so we can select an array of healthy ingredients to reinvent some of our favorite staples from the holidays, or everyday meals around the breakfast or dinner table.
These same men and women need to recognize that they have choices, plural, because we must put an end to the stereotype that healthy food is bland or medicinal-like food; the sort of stuff you would sooner find in a hospital than a hotel, or a recovery center than a world-class resort or tropical retreat; the sort of dining that is perfunctory, not celebratory; the sort of diet that is mandatory, not flexible or liberating.
The best way, then, to bring these choices to life – the most effective means of transforming dining into an exercise in personality – is to experiment: Combine an assortment of vegetables, for example, with your preference of herbs and spices. Sample your creations; make modifications whenever necessary, and take notes (about cooking, calories, servings and more) wherever appropriate. Make your kitchen a laboratory of invention.
The same rule applies to fitness, insofar as you should pursue what you like – what you know you will do – versus what you think should do, but will often not do. Therein lies the paradox about diet and exercise: We have a tendency to focus on the things we do not like, thereby ignoring (or choosing to ignore) the many alternatives at our disposal.
Indeed, the best holiday gift you can receive is the one you must give to yourself – the freedom to think, and act, creatively. In so doing, you will find new foods to love, new meals and snacks to cherish, and new ways to stay strong without guilt, shame, fear or neglect.
Be creative this holiday season!
Be creative throughout the year.
Bob Caputo is a health and wellness personality, in addition to being an author and speaker involving diet, nutrition and exercise. The founder of Bob Caputo Living Well, he offers practical advice – through his customized videos, posts and interviews – about ways to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher.
Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 12/9/2016