Eating With Ease During the December Holidays
Navigating the holidays with more ease in general involves boundaries with family members and maybe even getting some perspectives on dynamics through humor ?
Navigating the holidays with ease can also mean honoring how the rhythms of your life and your culture interweave with the dominant culture.
In my Jewish culture, Hanukkah is a minor holiday that has become more prominent as a way to compensate for the big focus on Christmas, and also often falls well before Christmas since Jewish holidays are based on the cycles of the moon as well as sun. By the time this is posted, I will have enjoyed getting together with others to share fried latkes (pancakes). Now I have the ease of eating anything, but when I was still sensitive to gluten, I found recipes for gluten-free latkes, and made ones based on sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Now there are even pre-made latkes from cauliflower! The jelly doughnut is not something I experimented with, but with all the stevia and gluten-free baking mixes, who knows?
Those ingredients can form the basis for healthy treats in the form of Christmas cookies, nut breads, and other seasonal favorites. I’ve also bought stevia-sweetened chocolate to share, since I still don’t like to eat a lot of sugar. The tamales that are a Christmas favorite in the southwestern US and points south are made from corn.
When making treats for ourselves or to share, it can also help to acknowledge that not every culture has a late December important holiday. Outside of northern Europe and other cold climates, the return of the sun and need to deal with winter depression are not pressing. Here in Arizona on the land of the Tohono O’odham people, our gardens are bursting now and just like in Judaism, it is the rain we need to pray for in other seasons. And for Christians from Mexico and further south, Easter is the more important holiday when they make a pilgrimage to be with family. The next Islamic holiday (Shab e Barat) will be in April. www.islamicfinder.org (holy days are on a lunar cycle and shift around the course of the year). The Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, falls in October or November.
And also, when it seems everyone around is having treats, making treats for ourselves can be an important part of nurturing all our parts.