Monday, November 8, 2010

Making New (Healthier) Holiday Traditions

Making health and fitness a priority sometimes requires some reprogramming-especially for me.  Holidays and celebrations have always involved food (and lots of it) in my family.  I think many people who are trying to focus on being healthy are faced with this challenge.  How do you make it through the holidays and not gain weight or how do you make it through without having your progress derailed?  It’s a challenge, that is for sure.  I think food has a place in celebrations and holidays, but does it have to be the standard holiday food?  Last year, my mom bought an apple pie and I thought I would have a piece.  But I looked it up in my Weight Watchers book and it was 9 pts!  9 pts for one, yes 1, piece of pie!  Crazy and so not worth it for me. 

How do you create new holiday traditions that still capture what that holiday is about?  I am mostly thinking about Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday that’s coming up next month, it’s the holiday that typically comes along with some of the richest foods and it’s the holiday I think of as being the most food focused.  Is Thanksgiving supposed to be just about food?  I think of Thanksgiving as a holiday about gratitude, things I am thankful for.  When I think about it this way (instead of thinking about Thanksgiving dinner), I can think of many ways to celebrate this holiday.  There are so many things I am grateful for and I would love to spend a day focusing on that! 

Rebekah and I have a Thanksgiving tradition that we have been doing for several years now.  We “adopt” a turkey from Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey project.  We give a donation and then they send us a picture of our turkey along with its biography.  We display our turkey in our house all through the holiday season.  We started this the first year we became vegan-we liked how it was symbolic for us not eating turkeys (or any other animals) anymore. 

Farm Sanctuary usually has a celebrity be the spokesperson for the Adopt a Turkey project each year.  This year, the spokesperson is Ellen Degeneres.  I am very excited about Ellen being a vegan because she is really able to get the vegan message out there with her show and just her celebrity in general. 

*Here are some possibilities for new holiday traditions/celebrations:

*Thanksgiving Day Hike or other outdoor adventure

*Thanksgiving Day 5k (or other race)

*Work on a craft project with your friends and family (especially if the focus of the project is what you are thankful for)

*Volunteer (I was thinking about walking dogs at the humane society on Thanksgiving Day or any other day for that matter)

*Work on making holiday recipes healthier with your family

*Think of ways to express gratitude to your loved ones

Any others?  I would love to know about a healthier, less food focused holiday tradition that you have!

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