Thanksgiving! We all look forward to it. Hanging out with family and friends, taking a break from work, watching sports on television, maybe a movie or two. And, hang on, there was something else we were going to mention…. Oh right: Eating a bunch of food! Yep, that was definitely it. Because, as we all know — Thanksgiving is the holiday where cooking and eating are kind of the whole point.
WE PROMISE NOT TO BE CURMUDGEONS
Right off the bat let’s be clear about one thing. This is not the blog post where we’re going to tell you not to have turkey or pumpkin pie. We aren’t going to tell you to make kale paste and a side of mashed kelp (although — there are definitely excellent recipes for both of those things that would go great with turkey, so stop making that face). But here’s the thing: Trying to mix in some sensibly healthy practices with your cranberry sauce binge isn’t really all that difficult. Plus, you’ll feel better knowing you did them. Come on — you know you will.
For example: There’s a Turkey Trot happening somewhere near you on Thanksgiving Day. They’re great! Charitable donations, a wonderful spirit of shared purpose by an entire community, and you get some exercise in before the big meal. You don’t even have to trot! Nobody is going to be mad at you if you walk — and the health and wellness benefits accumulate simply by adding in some physical activity whenever you can.
We’ll go ahead and draw a loose connection to the WELL Building StandardTM here — because it’s these types of lifestyle points that make the WELL Standard so interesting. There’s an entire Concept in WELL v1 entitled Fitness, and within that concept is a Feature called Activity Incentive Programs (it’s Feature 65). What WELL attempts to do is incentivize the occupants of WELL Certified spaces to do things exactly like participating in a Turkey Trot. For WELL v2 these have been moved into the new Movement Concept (V11: Physical Activity Promotion). The point is — all of us should try a little harder to pay attention to how we can enhance our own wellbeing, no matter what we’re up to.
SOME THANKSGIVING OPTIONS
So, how about looking at a few nutritional possibilities (which fall under the Concept Nourishment in both WELL v1 and v2), such as: fruits and vegetables. Have some, is the general idea. In fact, try to have a bunch (especially vegetables) — which WELL addresses by suggesting in Feature 38 that they be placed at “the beginning of the food service line.” For Thanksgiving, perhaps try to create a nice collage on your plate in which the veggies take up at least half of it, and watch out for those starches! Yes, we know how yummy the mashed potatoes and the stuffing are, but maybe slightly smaller scoops? You can do it.
While we’re envisioning this hypothetical plate collage, what about this: Try using a smaller plate than usual. Surface area goes way down with just a scant decrease in diameter. You can look this up on the internet if you’re interested in working out the math, but seriously, don’t feel obligated — just concentrate on your serving sizes. Interestingly, WELL actually sets standards for dishware size, because the use of smaller dishes actually helps us to eat less. Did you know that? A very unobtrusive constraint that encourages healthier eating. That’s cool.
Also: Watch out for the sugary drinks! That’s another terrific way to make a healthier choice during the holidays. Go ahead and have some of those scrumptious vittles your mom (or another friend or relative) is roasting up in the kitchen, but! — lay off the colas, and the fruit juices, and go for the water. Trust us, you’re going to feel better if you do.
YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN’T BE A CURMUDGEON
We did, we did. And we’re not being one! Have a superb Thanksgiving. Enjoy yourself completely. Taking a four-day break from your regular schedule and choosing to relax instead — getting away from your day-to-day grind — will be rejuvenating all by itself. Breaks are absolutely essential for our mental wellbeing. So — do not work over the holiday weekend. You have our permission to take the time off. If there’s a problem, have your boss call us.
But — while you’re relaxing and arguing with the family about whether to watch Die Hard or It’s a Wonderful Life (an impossible choice, so go ahead and watch both) — just try to remember: Be mindful about what you’re eating and drinking. Try to spend some regular time moving around. That’s all we’re suggesting. Because if you do, your Thanksgiving isn’t going to be as great as usual — it’ll be even better.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.