Peer pressure around the holidays

I don’t think there’s an area in life where there’s more peer pressure than in eating- especially around the holidays!
In the past, when I have gone home to visit the family, there’s this false notion that I don’t like anything. My family completely bought into the low fat/high carb craze of the 1980’s, and still think that is just how people should eat. When I cut down on eating pasta (a staple food in my family growing up) about 10 years ago, suddenly, I was the one that wouldn’t eat anything. He’s picky! He’s obsessed!

Funny, because all I had done at that time was cut down on certain specific carbohydrates. I think the problem was that, like many people, they did not want to look at themselves and analyze their own eating habits- so it was much easier to categorize me and cast my eating habits aside (without even looking into the reasons or positive benefits a lower carb diet may provide!).

This Thanksgiving, I was reminded a bit of this while celebrating with friends. While I fully realize that Thanksgiving is not a time to preach or tell people how to eat, the subject of tryptophan came up at the dinner table. It always does! Many people think the amino acid l-typtophan in the turkey is what makes people tired after the meal. But of course as we know, it’s the carbs! So I pointed this out. “It’s not the tryptophan, it’s the carbs.” Well that was turned into the joke of the night, so everything after that was “No it’s the carbs!”. It was pretty funny, but at the same time, I think impossible for people to believe!

Not much of a chance of cutting out carbs at a Thanksgiving dinner, but some smart decisions can be made. Do you really need to pile on huge helpings of stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, and have 2 desserts?

I believe the trick to avoiding most of the inevitable peer pressure at holiday meals is to fill your plate. But, fill it with the good stuff like green salad and turkey. Take small amounts of most of the other items, so you don’t have people asking you “didn’t you try the ________”? it’s SO good, you should try it!” For dessert, ask for a small piece of pie. Yes, you might still be mocked, but if you just tell everyone you are SO FULL from dinner, they will back down.

December here we come! The average American puts on 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stay tuned and don’t be one of them!

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