An Abundant Thanksgiving Meal
thanksgiving

By Rain Fordyce

Get ready to eat a huge meal, get set to eat a whole lot of dessert, and go out of lack thinking, into abundance.

The Thanksgiving meal is a beautiful time to connect with family and friends over an elegant, sometimes gourmet, abundant meal that you would normally not even think about eating all in one day.  It’s not just the turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, vegetable dish and a whole host of other family favorites, it’s also the pumpkin pie, apple crisp, and cookies and sweet breads.  Why do we overeat at Thanksgiving, even though most of us don’t have room in our fist sized stomachs for it?  Could it be out of tradition or out of politeness to our mother?  What if it could be traced  to how we were taught to eat from our family as children and from diet experts as adults?  How do you survive the Thanksgiving meal feeling good and ready to play?  Through the practice of seeing the abundance of food, we can stop ourselves from stuffing our stomachs, and stick to stuffing the turkey. 

It seems funny to think people don’t see the abundance of food on Thanksgiving.  This is the harvest meal and abundance of food, gratitude, family and friendship are the reasons for the feast.  However, many of us do not see the abundance.  One reason is we do not eat these foods during the other 364 days of the year.  Two, the Food Police (that authoritarian voice, who tells you what to do) does not allow us to eat abundantly the other days of the year.  So in the middle of the Thanksgiving table, decorated with a cornucopia of food, many of us only see and feel the lack of what won’t be available tomorrow.

We don’t allow ourselves to eat abundantly.  Now, many of you might think eating abundantly means to overeat and actually sometimes, it does.  However, it really is a state of mind more than how much you eat.  When was the last time you allowed yourself to eat whatever you wanted, without the Food Police in your head blowing the whistle?  When was the last time you ate a piece of birthday cake and enjoyed every bite without feeling incredibly guilty?  When was the last time, you allowed yourself to let go and enjoy the food, instead of feeling deprived?

Living my life as a compulsive binger and dieter, I know what it feels like to feel deprived every day, every meal.  Even when I binged, I felt deprived.  I couldn’t stop eating anything, because this might be the last time the Food Police allowed it.  I allowed myself to eat as much as I could of anything that tasted good.  The Food Police would come in (when I came back to my senses) and take the privilege of 'what I want to eat' away.  It was the deprivation that created the need to overeat.  It was lack thinking imprisoning me.  The difference in my life now, is that I never say no to myself.  I never say “I can’t eat that.” or keep a list of bad foods such as carbohydrates, sweets, salty, etc.  I don’t deny my body what it craves, ever.  I can finally see the abundance in my mind of pizza, take out, ice cream, whole raw milk, fresh bread from the farmer’s market every day.  So, strangely enough, I no longer feel the need to eat it all in one day, or all in one sitting. 

We live our lives with so many unwritten rules about food.  These rules may have been given to us by parents, teachers, doctors or another diet authority to try to keep us safe from ourselves. 

  • “Don’t have a snack before dinner, or you will ruin your appetite.” 
  • “You shouldn’t eat so many sweets.” 
  • “You have to eat your greens.”
  • “Are you eating again?”
  • “Clean your plate, people are starving in the world.”

 

I was never allowed to eat sugary foods, snack without approval or eat when and what I wanted most of the time while growing up.   My well meaning mother was always on a diet herself, and didn’t want her children to go through what she struggled with her whole life.  She had us follow whatever diet she was on. The problem is, when kids are hungry, they can eat a stick of butter.  They can eat 4 times what an adult watching their weight can eat and still be healthy, because they are growing and have a natural alarm to tell them they are not hungry anymore.  Of course, sometime this is when parents will tell them to eat more of their dinner, because they have noticed they haven't eaten much in a couple of days.  Policing your child’s intake of food can create more problems than it solves, because it teaches them not to trust their own body’s needs.  Do you trust your body to tell you what it needs today?

 

Caution: If your family eats mostly processed and prepackaged foods, or fast foods, I don’t recommend allowing unlimited amounts of food.  The high amount of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup in these foods can be addicting, and the calories are consumed faster than your body notices that it’s full.  However, if your main diet is whole and natural foods, it is through letting go that your family will thrive.  Giving kids all the natural and low processed carbs, fats, sweets and salts they want creates a full feeling in kids and teaches them abundance.  Actions such as putting LOTS of peanut butter or cheese on their sandwiches, letting them drink lots of whole milk, dripping tons of butter or oil on the popcorn, baking whole food cookies and sweet breads regularly as a yummy snack will create a child who is learns to be full. 

What would happen if you treated yourself as the child?  Would you dare to give yourself an abundance of whole foods every day?  What would happen if you asked yourself, “What do I really want to eat, right now?”  and then allowed yourself to fulfill that wish?  Since I have been practicing authentic eating over the last couple of years, I have been known to eat a spoonful of peanut butter for dinner, cheesecake for lunch, or pizza for breakfast.  How does that sound to you?  What I found overtime when I got rid of the food police was that I could hear what my body or my inner child wanted.  On the other side of it, I have been just as desirous of broccoli, baked potatoes, broiled salmon, fresh salads, live foods and a bunch of foods I never used to eat like beets, yams, and chard.  In addition, I find I crave less food in general.  I have skipped meals, mostly dinner, because I just wasn’t hungry.  For a lifetime dieter, skipping meals only happened when I wanted to lose weight or something that rarely happened when I was sick.

How can you stop policing yourself and start enjoying the abundance of food all around you all the time?  Try these 5 steps:

*Be warned this is not a way to lose weight. It is the path to freedom.

1. Stop dieting!  As long as you are restricting your food intake you are playing police to your true body’s needs and wants.  Deny yourself and you are sure to live in the world of lack.

2. Educate yourself.  Read books like Omnivores’ Dilemma by Michael Pollan or Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon that talk about what has happened over the course of the past 5 decades to our food choices.

3. Eat natural, organic, and whole foods.   The more whole foods we eat, the more healthy and less hungry we are.

4. Eat consciously.  This takes a lot of practice!  Only eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full.  Eat what you really want.  Enjoy every bite.  Don’t have expectations on the outcome of how much you should eat.  You may think you want to eat the whole bag of cookies and find after one bite, you are done.  Allow that to happen. 

5. Give yourself the option to eat it later.  If you don’t have room for pumpkin pie, wrap up your piece for later, and give your mom a kiss telling her you just couldn’t live without her amazing pumpkin pie.  Allow yourself to eat pumpkin pie 2 days later, for breakfast, if you feel like it.  Enjoy your freedom.

This Thanksgiving, allow yourself to see the abundance of food, eat consciously, enjoy every bite, while you listen to your body’s cues, and you might just discover yourself feeling great... and grateful.

 

by Rain Fordyce

www.CoachingwithRain.com

Copyright 2008 by Rain Fordyce

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