Possumhaw: Let's get personal here



Shannon Bardwell



"Married men are more likely to visit the doctor, thanks to their wives pestering."


-- Tara Parker-Pope, author of "For Better - The Science of a Good Marriage."




Many of us are preparing for our holiday feasting and perhaps how to manage our consumption for the least amount of damage. Last year I gain several pounds, and well into spring they were still hanging around. So, this year I am trying to do better and help my guests to do better as well. It's not as easy as you may think.


Over the years we've had company who couldn't have salt. This leaves out a lot of options. Even a can of green beans has 290 mg of salt. Some couldn't have sugar, or I might say shouldn't have sugar, but mostly they ate it anyway. For myself, I don't eat meat but will eat fish. A sister-in-law will eat meat but doesn't eat fish. Sam doesn't care for turkey, and by the time the married kids get here, they've already had multiple turkey and dressing dinners from the "other side of the family."


A couple of years ago my neighbor had a holiday party with lots of homemade desserts leftover so she brought them to me and my family. I picked out the "tiger butter" and hid it in my closet, figuring the family could have all the rest, which I thought was pretty fair. I gorged on the irresistible chocolates until I made myself sick. I'm planning to exercise better control this year. I have to. No tiger butter, please. My life depends on it. Maybe yours does, too.


In preparation and for inspiration, I reviewed "Drop Dead Healthy" by A J. Jacobs for a crash course in how to navigate eating through the next few weeks. I bought the book at the last Columbus-Lowndes Public Library's book sale. (Which, by the way, they are having again on Dec. 7.) It's the Friends of the Library members' sale. The one where you can fill a paper bag for $5. Jacob's book costs me 28 cents -- worth every penny.


Jacobs' health goals were to increase longevity, acquire freedom from disease and pain, and maintain a sense of emotional, mental and physical well-being. I find, as I age, these are the values I desire more than winning a marathon or being "Twiggy" thin.


I hope I'm not ruining your holidays, but here are a few suggestions from the book that will allow you to enjoy your celebrations guilt-free. Decrease portions by 30 percent. Consider how food and drink have been tremendously "super-sized" since we were kids: Cokes went from 6.5 ounces to 20 ounces. Drink a full glass of water before you eat a big meal, or eat an apple first. This sounds good: "savoring meditation." Make every bite count, focusing on the taste and enjoying it. No stuffing your mouth. After dinner, take a walk, maybe with family. Enjoy outside if the weather's pretty. Communicate with one another. Be grateful.


The Bardwell menu is shaping up to be a healthy grilled salmon and rotisserie chicken, along with roasted winter squash and an arugula salad. I'm still contemplating desserts.




Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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