I have been reading a lot of posts on social media these days. It is one way I keep on top of the struggles people have all over the country. I frequently see this issue: The person writing the post has been eating healthy and maybe working out. They usually report that they have had great success with their healthy eating and workout plan. They may even show before and after pictures pointing to a tremendous weight loss during some recent stretch of time
2020 has indeed been a year to remember, even if so many of us would prefer to forget it. So much has happened! However, no need to recap the gory details here. Suffice it to say that it has been a full 12 months. Now we are in the holiday celebration home stretch. The fall festivities are behind us. We are midstride to the winter high holidays, which seem to last right through Valentine’s day. Along with that, the days are getting shorter here in the northern hemisphere while the nights are getting longer. Pile that together with our lumpy political climate, a pervasive public health crisis, and other assorted social and economic challenges, and we have the makings of “I’d rather be sedated!”
I often wake up with earworms. You know, the snippets of songs that play unsolicited in your head. They go on and on in endlessly perfect, yet fuzzy detail. You know the ones. I suspect you have a few of your own. Well, I woke up this morning with the song “Nature Boy” playing in my head. It is the Nat King Cole version, to be exact. I know how my brain works, but that was a little odd, even for me. Honestly, Nat King Cole’s jazz classic from 1948 hits me at 6 am? Really?? Given that I woke up like this, I decided to look up the origins of the song. Maybe it had a message for me?
While I don’t love rain, snow, and the coming cold weather, I do love fall. I love the crispy feel in the air, the leaves turning shades of orange, red and yellow, wearing cuddly sweaters, open windows, and the holidays! I also love fall cooking! All summer, I am forced to eat cold foods because I run hot, and if my food isn’t cold, I have to sweat through my meals. But when fall hits, my thermometer resets, and my body is ready for soups, stews, chilis, and roasted veggies! There is nothing like a steamy bowl of soup to brighten a chilly day! And there are so many options… squash & apple, 15-bean, and my recent favorite, the whole food plant-based (WFPB) version of Hot & Sour Soup. I wish I hadn’t just typed that because now I’m not going to be able to get that last one out of my head until I make it. I started making this soup back in January. It was a particularly raw, chilly day, and I went with a group of friends to an outdoor event. After several hours we were all popsicles, and we were talking about what we wanted to eat when we got home. Hot and sour soup popped into my head and stayed there.
It is holiday season in America. For the majority of Americans, a different kind of joy, excitement, stress, and challenge will fill the coming weeks. I am going to guess that when the stressors and challenges show up, many of us will have a hard time welcoming them. Last month I wrote about how we can make this time of year easier on ourselves as it relates to food and holiday gatherings. This month, let’s look at another way to ease our self-inflicted tensions. This month, let’s talk about gratitude. Gratitude is defined a few different ways: 1) a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation (vocabulary.com) 2) a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals–whether to other people, nature, or a higher power” (Harvard Medical School)