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This is not a Christmas blog - - though Joy to the World is my favorite Christmas Carol and at Jesus’ birth the angels brought “Good tidings of great Joy.”
It seems to me that in every culture eating and mealtime are supposed to be occasions for joy. Food is not just fuel that you pump into your stomach like gasoline into a gas tank. Food is supposed to bring pleasure. There are ethnic recipes, holiday traditions, and etiquette standards. There is companionship, hospitality, and round the table conversation.
Yet when I talk to people who are trying to follow a diet they fret about what a hassle it is. All too often I read people on the Forum who are ready to abandon the BTD/GTD because it stressful.
If I ever had the chance to sit down with Dr. D for lunch or a cup of green tea, I would have a thousand questions. One of them would be – are people on the BTD/GTD destined to a life of stress? I am guessing, based on his books and mp3s of speeches, that the answer would be a resounding NO! In fact I could site passage after passage where he writes about the damage that stress does to your body and how to use exercise, sleep and food to minimize stress.
So if stress is the antithesis of what the BTD is supposed to be about, what can we do on a daily basis (and especially as we enter the Christmas season) to find pleasure rather than panic in the kitchen and dining room?
Relax if you are new to the diet. It will take a while to remember what foods are beneficial, neutral and avoid. Embrace the beneficials. Try new foods. Focus on building health. Don’t be fearful of making a mistake. You ate wrong for your type for years…now you are getting better.
I believe that people are more important than things. I strictly follow the rules at home; but when I am with family or friends, I am a gracious guest. There are three advantages to this. First it makes the BTD less scary and more appealing to friends who might be considering it. Second, it preserves relationships, rather than offending those I care about. Third, I get to enjoy a treat.
Be a little flexible and not too legalistic. I believe that when strict adherence to rules about food becomes legalism, it is counterproductive. You are trying to reduce stress, not add stress. A slip up with an avoid is not going to kill you.
Here is how it works for me. I was invited to a neighborhood cookie exchange this week. I made Type A & O compliant cranberry apricot bars to share. I did not eat appetizers that contained wheat, because there were lots of other choices. I tried several cookies and they were delicious. I brought a variety of cookies home which makes my husband, who feels the loss of cookies at Christmas time more deeply than I do, very happy. It was a joyful evening – full of laughter, companionship, and friends. The next day I was back to my own routine.
It would make me very sad to think that someone would abandon the BTD/GTD entirely because of pressure to be perfect. Stress should not be part of this diet. Eating right includes enJOYing your food.
This year all I really want is one homemade gingerbread cookie. If I find one I'll eat it.
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