Holidays with Ed

For many years, there has been an uninvited guest at the holiday table. He is rude, selfish, awkward and annoying. No one knows how to approach him about leaving though. They feel that if they are too obvious or pushy, he will be offended, or maybe cause a scene. This guest is named Ed. He usually dresses the part of a polite guest, and for the first while when he walks through the door, he is on his best behavior. Once he sits down at the dinner table though, he is a force to be reckoned with. He pokes at his food, barely takes a bite. He keeps pushing and shoving and knocks over glasses while he reaches for the bottle of soda. He “kindly” refuses any butter on his roll, and eats loads of raw carrots, chomping loudly over and over. Guess who isn’t being invited to Thanksgiving dinner this year?

I have feared and dreaded holiday meals for years. All of that “forbidden” food. I knew I would never let myself eat enough to feel full, so I freaked out on the inside whenever I knew a big traditional meal was coming up. I would scheme and devise plans weeks ahead of time, how to navigate around family and food, and somehow keep myself from fainting of hunger, but also not make too big of a scene. I usually ended up eating something “safe”, like carrot sticks, and pretending to eat the rest of my meal, then later I would fill up on a sandwich with “my” food on. Ed always told me I don’t really like ham or Turkey anyway. And why eat a roll when you could have a piece of plain bread? What’s the point of eating mashed potatoes with all of those extras when you could have a plain baked potato? This year, I am determined to enjoy myself, and savor my food. And also, to relish this time with my family, instead of focusing solely on the food I am eating (or not eating). Maybe I’ll even find it in me to eat a slice of (gasp!) pie.

How do I plan to do this? If you know me well, you know I plan most things in advance, especially when it comes to food. Honestly? I have been putting off thinking about Thanksgiving, because I have other things to worry about…but it’s staring me in the face now, so here is my plan. The Herrin Food Plan. If you can’t open that link, let me break this down for you. Basically, the plan is to eat all food groups in moderation. Calcium, carbs, fruits or vegetables, protein, fat, and a “fun food”. My dietitian introduced this idea to me in the very beginning of my treatment, but we didn’t implement it until recently. I haven’t really been great at using it as a solid guide yet, so I’m a little anxious to begin. But what better time than now? Usually I have the same thing for lunch every day. A protein on a slice of bread, a serving of veggies, and some chips. An example meal for tomorrow (Thanksgiving) looks like this:

Wheat roll (complex carbohydrate)
Potatoes or raw vegetables or cooked corn (vegetable)
Ham (protein)
Butter on roll, in potatoes (fat)
Pie(?!) (fun food)

The only thing missing here is calcium, which might end up being a “combo food” but I will be sure to get it in somewhere, since osteoporosis is most likely prevalent in my bones. I’m quite nervous about tomorrow, but I think this is a good time for me to step outside of what I am comfortable with and test the waters a little. I just really hope Ed doesn’t decide to make an unannounced appearance.


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