I have never liked cooking Thanksgiving dinner. There is too much structure, everyone has an opinion about needing to have a handful of really bad high carb/fat/calorie recipes that don’t allow for a lot of creativity. The biggest problem of all is that it gives us a big ole excuse to eat what we want. Studies show the average American gains 2 pounds over ‘the holidays’, the really bad part is that end of year pounds tend to be cumulative and every year we get bigger and bigger and bigger. 

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I’m about to bust!

We have all heard someone in the living room groan ‘I need to undo my pants’, or the classic ‘it takes a week to cook and 10 minutes to eat’ comment? As a cook who puts a lot of love into her food, those comments are not complements. Maybe living fifteen years with a four ounce stomach has colored me sarcastic, but I like to be choosy and eat a few ‘good’ bites. My definition of ‘good’ is what has changed and it has never changed back. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE FOOD and I love to cook for friends and family – but I really hate all the gluttony that has overtaken Thanksgiving.

No one dies without green bean casserole

The traditional Thanksgiving feast is a big problem for bariatric post ops who want to ‘have a taste’ of all of their comfort food favorites in order not to feel as if they are ‘missing out’ on life. Trust me; we missed out on nothing on the way to our top weight. We have everything to gain when we change our attitude and are instead thankful for friends, family, smaller jeans and those extra years to live now that we are not being choked out by obesity.

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I don’t believe that people really enjoy the twisted high fat, high calorie, gluttonous Thanksgiving buffet. Most families don’t even get out the nice plates anymore; I have granddaughters who don’t know how to set a table and were mesmerized that I MADE whipped cream (they had zero concept of whipped cream being cream that one whipped). We just line it up trough style and let the feeding frenzy begin. No judgement, (well actually, some judgement) but my husband’s family dipped the food out of the pots lined up in the kitchen onto Styrofoam cafeteria trays. My Italian family also had an over the top number of dishes – seriously, we eat lasagna, meatballs and sausage in addition to a turkey. Maybe there would be greater focus on the reverence of the day and our weight if we served less food and talked more ‘remember whens’ and ‘thankful for’s’.

I forgot the rolls!

Think of how often we have put away a bowl of food that had not been touched? How many times did someone forget the doughy supermarket rolls in the oven where no one even thought about them until we were cleaning up? We have all discovered the Jell-O mould in the refrigerator while getting the whipped cream for dessert and laughed about it! How many dishes of food do we really need? It is way out of control!

Take Back Thanksgiving!

This year serve your guests a beautiful plate of food that they will savor and actually taste. A meal that won’t take a month to prepare. Some of our no sugar desserts don’t require that you even turn on the oven. Family may ask where the traditional dishes are, but no one will CARE once they see and taste your amazing food. Don’t tell anyone that it is actually good for them – that would ruin it. Start a NEW tradition.

Gratitude is an Attitude

Have a healthy happy and delicious Thanksgiving. Be thankful for family, friends, health, and good food. Don’t be sad about what you can’t eat. You can actually choose to eat anything you want but our surgery has handed us the control. Use food to accentuate what is really important – being together with people you love spending a little time with, laughing about the remember when’s, looking at the old photo albums, shedding a few tears about those who are no longer at the table. It really has nothing to do with mashed potatoes.

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