The Place


Holiday eating: give up the guilt!

Posted at 2:32 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 16:32:46-05

During the holidays, we eat some of the most delicious -- but also some of the most nutritious foods of the year, says Trish Brimhall, RDN, CD, CLE.

Loads of veggie side dishes, high-quality, lean protein from turkey, all sorts of vitamin A are in your pumpkin and sweet potatoes and even the desserts have fruit.

From a nutritional standpoint Trish says, Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most nutrient-packed meals of the year.  and yet, the majority of Americans start the holiday season out with eating-based guilt.

She suggests to try something radical this year - combat the guilt and shame with an intentionally positive spin on your holiday eating.  Here are her recommendations:

• Eat joyfully. Enjoy that food. Food is not good or bad - it does not have moral power over you to turn you into a good or bad person. Physiologically, digestion works best when stress is low, and appetite, anticipation and enjoyment of eating are high. And since the majority of serotonin - the hormone that mediates mood and well-being - is produced in the gut, a happy digestion means an over-all happier you.
• Pay attention to your body. Listen to and respect your body`s hunger and fullness cues. Don`t spoil the party by inducing that painfully full, food coma. Good food can and will happen again - it`s not now or never, all or nothing. Savor favorite foods and decadent desserts, but don't do so to the extreme of discomfort or pain.
• Invite happy hormones to the party. Want to endear yourself to your host and produce some mood-boosting endorphins at the same time? Help clean up or play with the kids. Exercise is a fabulous way to produce those endorphins, but not the only way. Altruistic behavior such as giving or helping others also produces that happy hormone. And the more endorphins and serotonin, the less likely you are to have constantly high, damaging levels of cortisol circulating in your system.

This year, instead of focusing on stressful restriction, guilt and shame, make happy holidays more than a glib response, make it a verbally, intentional goal and see how your health responds.

You can get more information from Trish at: