Approaching the Holidays with Mindfulness

Thanksgiving, like many other foodies, was one of my favorite holidays growing up.

Staying up all morning stealing licks from the meringue of my dad’s famous lemon meringue pies…sorry Dad.

The mindfulness of chopping ingredients.

The smells.

And most importantly, sitting around the huge table with my loved ones (there are about 15 of us just between my parents, siblings, and nieces/nephews), all saying things we’re grateful for.

My parents also educated me about the history of Thanksgiving, specifically the history of some of our native ancestors and what they experienced due to colonialism.

I think that last one is especially important right now.

Between Gaza, Sudan, Armenia, The Congo and so many other places where there is oppression and sadness, it’s very important to reflect on how we got here and how we can prevent these things from happening in the future.

It’s also important to fully experience joy and fellowship because joy is also a form of resistance and healing.

So if you do decide to partake in this holiday, for whatever reason, I hope you fully and mindfully experience the joy of being surrounded by people you love.

I pray you find solace in your loved one’s laughter and gratitude in the spread of food that will be placed before you.

I also hope that you approach this holiday mindfully.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind that may help you feel well during and after the holiday.

3 Tips For A Mindful Thanksgiving

I. Hara Hachi Bu- Stop Eating When You’re 80% Full

I know, I know…

Thanksgiving is typically the world’s cheat day regardless of fitness background.

But, when you are enjoying your favorite foods try to keep this phrase in mind “Hara Hachi Bu”.

Hara Hachi Bu is a Japanese mindful eating practice popular in Okinawa, Japan. One of the places in the world with the highest percentage of centenarians aka a blue zone.

If you want to learn more about blue zones, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” is a great series on Netflix.

This method of eating is seen in other cultures as well. In Islamic health teachings, we are taught to fill our stomachs with a third of food, a third of water and to leave the last third for air.

“Okay, I get it, don’t eat until I’m full…but why?”

Well, aside from the discomfort, when you overeat, it puts stress on your stomach to expand beyond its normal size.

Overeating also requires your stomach and digestive organs to work harder and if you don’t have enough space in your stomach, hydrochloric acid can push into your esophagus and cause heartburn.

II. Avoid Gratitude Guilt

The past 40+ days have been especially difficult for most of us and while many people are going without, it’s important to not feel guilty for the blessings in our life.

As I stated earlier, embracing joy is a method of healing and so is gratitude.

While you are practicing gratitude, it is more than okay to keep those who are suffering in mind.

And as we’ve seen from many videos, many of our global brothers and sisters are encouraging us to be strong and happy. All they’re asking is while we do these things is to simply not forget about them.

So if you’re a prayerful person, pray for them.

If you have the funds, donate.

If you are an educator, have discussions with your loved ones about these things.

But permit yourself to experience positive emotions. That’s a part of the human experience too.

III. Don’t eat things that make you feel bad.

Ya’ll that are lactose intolerant or have casein intolerance, I’m talking to you guys.

IF you must have mac n cheese, because I’ll admit, until about 2 years ago, thanksgiving was my dairy and gluten day.

I’d pope like 5 enzyme pills and have at it lol.

But recently I’ve concluded that the week of chest pain, eczema flair-ups, and headaches simply isn’t worth it so here are some of my favorite gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives:

  • Deserts:

    • ANYTHING by KATZ Gluten Free (I refuse to stop supporting businesses simply because they are Jewish-owned, but if you do find out that they, like Schar, are donating money/resources that contribute to the current genocide let me know).

      Their pies can be a bit on the sweet side but if that’s your jam, then you’d love them. The pie crust is flakey and buttery, the filling is seasoned. Everything I’ve tried from them is amazing honestly.

    They released a gluten-free stuffing this year too which I’ve been keeping my eye on. If I end up trying it this week, I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes insha'Allah.

    • This gluten-free pie crust by Wholly Wholesome. I’ve only used it for quiche, but it was amazing. It kept together well. Had a good balance between savory and salty, and was flakey.

      If you like open-faced pie this is a good option, but I haven’t tried using the second pie crust as a topping yet. I’d assume it works well though

    • Daiya’s white cheddar mac. The WHITE cheddar Mac specifically. It definitely is giving more craft than baked mac n cheese but if you it as a base, sprinkle some black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, etc and if you’re extra like me make a gf and df bechamel to pour over the top you could probably get away with baking it. The noodles are also gf and are very good.

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I pray you all have a week filled with more moments of ease, joy, and fellowship.

Thank you for being a part of this community.

As always,

Abundant Light and Radiant Health