Gaudete Sunday-Rejoicing in Holiday Food Choices

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(Hint: It’s not sugar)

I seem to do it every year. Sometimes more than once a year. And usually this time of year. You’d think after a decade, I’d just not do it. But, I’m human. And sugar is soooooo addictive. Yep, you heard me right-addictive. Just like alcohol, nicotine and meth. There are some studies that suggest sugar is just as or even more addictive than cocaine. While I can’t attest to the nicotine, meth or cocaine, I do have experience in breaking the glass of wine (or 2) every evening habit. And the sugar lesson….. Let’s just say this year, it’s definitely not bringing me joy.

Gaudete-Rejoice!

We are in the 3rd week of Advent, Gaudete Sunday-Rejoice Sunday in the Catholic church. We light the pink candle, priests wear pink vestments and we talk about how God wants us to connect to him so we can experience his Joy! So what’s this all have to do with addictions, food choices and sugar in particular? I went to mass in a different parish and the deacon’s message was that Advent is not a time for sadness, but an opportunity for us to live out our faith with maturity. Not giving into child-like impulsivity that gives us short-term pleasure (sugar or other substances,) but to seek God out and choose him in all we do. And to really do this, we need a strong connection to him.

Sugar’s Darkside

Many authorities agree people turn to other things and become addicted to them because they seek connection (Scope out this TED Talk). Not necessarily to God, but he is always available. The whole sugar addiction thing really hit home for me this past weekend as I learned my sugar, dairy, chocolate, peanut, junk food lesson ….again.

Botched Cherry Mash. Ugh…..

My husband and I celebrated Christmas with our children, their spouses and our grandson. While I’ve cut way back on the sweets I make, I still made a pan of scotcheroos, Rolo pretzels and chocolate popcorn (a Sporrer family favorite!) I only ate the equivalent of a 2×3 scotcheroo bar, a handful of plain gluten-free pretzels, 2 Rolos, and a handful of chocolate popcorn, but it was enough to make me feel like garbage most of the day yesterday. Ugh. I also made a double batch of Pete’s Goody Bars (my Aunt Geralyn’s nick-name and her favorite candy) for my church’s cookie walk-eating enough crumbs to equal a 1.5 x1.5 inch bar.

How Cherry Mash is supposed to look for Pete’s Goody Bars. Waiting for the chocolate topping.

All in all not a terrible amount of sugar, but my body doesn’t like it. Nor does it like the diary, peanuts, peanut butter, chocolate, margarine and other starches in the gluten-free pretzels. A little sliver is one thing, but I overdid it–giving into the short term pleasure hit instead of choosing to honor my body and pass it over. As I thought about it, I started comparing other aspects of these food items to how I usually eat and found the sugar stuff sorely lacking.

Sugar takes TIME

As I’ve said before, I don’t like to spend a lot of time on food prep. The double batch of Goody Bars took for-e-ver as the 1st cherry mash batch did not turn out. Then I had to cut and place the 76 or so pieces on papers…..After 5+ hours, I was D.O.N.E. I forgot scotcheroos take about 30 minutes of my time, and chocolate popcorn even longer. It also takes forever to peel potatoes! While I love doing these things for my family, I’d rather spend the time with them.

Our family Christmas 2019!

Looking at what we had for our main meal, I hardly spent any time on what I filled my plate with. Open 2 bags of frozen green beans onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, spray with some olive oil, bake at 350 for an hour & keep warm in the crock pot. I did the same with the sweet potatoes after I spent 10 minutes chunking them up. It’s hard to ‘write up’ recipes for these things because they are so simple. My husband was in charge of the meat. He sliced up a pork loin (from one of our pigs he butchered earlier this year), marinated the slabs in a homemade mix and baked them slowly in the oven all afternoon. Taking about 20 minutes total of his actual time for the meat (this includes the time spent periodically checking it).

Me on Sugar

Then there was the day after (ok so I ate all the sugar over 2 days). I woke up feeling hangoverish. My plantar fasciitis also decided to act up, my lips became very dry and my face started breaking out. Not to mention I just felt, off. Not how I wanted to spend the last few hours with family before they took off.

Yes, I chose every morsel I put in my mouth. Some of them I truly enjoyed, but most were me seeking that sugar hit. Like the ooey, gooey sugar was crooning to me, sucking me into it’s trance. I know better. I know the slippery slope, and how it will make me feel, yet I still fall for it. Most years after I do this, I beat myself up. However, I didn’t this year and it helped me step back into better choices more quickly.

Lessons Learned-Coach Approach Style

I decided to look at the situation objectively. OK, I ate too much stuff that doesn’t serve me well. I’m human. I like sugar! Lesson learned (for a while). Now what? Moving forward, how can I fuel this beautiful Temple God blessed me with? I chose to eat some homemade sausage for breakfast, sauteed cauliflower and onions for lunch and a turkey & lettuce salad for supper. Feeling pure joy in doing so. Each meal took no longer than 10 minutes to heat up, and I just felt good eating well all day long again. I also upped my water intake. Yep, plain ol’ water. Sugar still doesn’t even sound appealing.

Half way through my simply joyful turkey & lettuce salad supper.

I woke this morning feeling more refreshed and energized. My husband took all the leftover ‘junk food’ to work so its out of the house, and not tempting either one of us. I’ve got leftover pork with some onions, carrots, celery, green beans & snow peas cooking in the crock-pot for a soup supper tonight. It only took 10 minutes to cut everything up and add some salt, basil & bay leaves. My kind of cooking! Easy on the clock. Easy on the wallet. Easy on the body. Delicious! All things that bring me JOY!

For our next holiday family gathering, I will hopefully make better food choices–probably bringing my own–so I can continue to experience more of all the good things God has to offer me. Like enjoying my time with my family!

How does eating well bring you more joy?

Are you looking for someone to help you easily find enjoyable ways to connect to God, make better food choices and move your body more? Maybe get a jumpstart on your New Year’s Resolution? Or a speaker who understands the science and has personal success in these areas? Someone who’s been there, done that. Someone who understands the challenge, will help you find practical ways to meet your goals and will encourage you rather than criticize you? I’ve got a few open individual coaching slots. I’m also available for small or large group speaking. Email me at julie@juliegrunklee.com to start the conversation! I’d love to work with you!

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