Sheri’s Rants # 55: Changes to the Table

Posted on October 30, 2011 by


Jody from Boise, ID recently returned from a quilting retreat she attends twice a year.  In the past, attending that retreat was a real crash-and-burn for her, food wise.  “There’s a table” she explained “loaded with cookies, candy, soda, all kinds of sugar and crap.  And I don’t know what it is, but everyone brings donations to the sugar table and we all sit around drinking soda and eating sugar.  I always feel terrible for a week afterward and my weight always goes up.  This year, I’d like to figure out how to do it different without being too weird.”

The next 2 events, Jody brought a cooler with all of her own clean food for the retreat.  While everyone else stuffed oreos, licorice sticks, and M&M’s into their mouths, Jody crunched on apple slices and celery sticks.  To her surprise, there were 2 other women there doing the same thing at the first event, and 4 the second!  They also brought all their own clean food in coolers, and they were able to chat and visit in the kitchen while prepping their meals.  “It was a relief” she said “to come home feeling so good about myself.  Now I know I can continue to enjoy that event and not hurt myself!”  Further, several women began asking questions about why the ‘clean food’ women were not eating the same as everyone else.

This year, Jody reported that the manager of the retreat center had taken notice of the women showing up with their own food.  He offered more salad, lean meats, fresh fruit, and even poached eggs for breakfast!  “It was amazing” she gushed “to watch the simple changes in the eating habits of everyone there!  It was so encouraging to make a difference just by doing what I believe in.”

“Be the change that you want to see in the world” said Ghandi, and this is how simple changes in our families and social circles happen too.  Not by lecturing, cajoling, chiding and reprimanding – but by sheer happy example.  Feed yourself well and be glad about it.  Leave everyone else’s choices alone.  Don’t make it look hard by going on about what you can’t have – enjoy what you DO have.

What about the family holiday dinner table?  How do we approach change in that arena?

No lecturing.  Don’t get into a discourse about what is NOT in the food you are preparing.  Do mild experimenting at the holiday table.  If your family has relied on a lot of family favorites, then go slooooow with the changes – doing small things like cutting trans- fats, reducing sugar, cutting down on the baked goods (don’t buy/bake enough for leftovers that will sit around tempting you for days!).

Before you snatch any of the old favorites away, start ADDING some interesting healthy ones.  Don’t make a big deal out of it.  Make dishes you will enjoy and that suit your dietary needs.  Enjoy them.  Don’t insist on everyone else eating those dishes.  Go slow, go easy, and be nice about it.  Do it because you WANT to and it’s fun – not because you HAVE to.  Family members will take your lead.

An example is to offer two types of cranberry relish – one homemade without sugar, and one that is the old favorite. Prepare one healthy dessert and offer one old standby.  Prepare LESS of the foods you are weaning out of the family diet so that they don’t sit in the refrigerator.  Work on preparing just enough for the meal.  Make sure there are plenty of grazing leftovers of what you want to encourage your family to be eating.

Keep it fun, keep it delicious, and enjoy your holiday season!

Posted in: Sheri's Rants