It’s November already, and the holidays are upon us! The season can be a tricky time of year, challenging us to stick to our goals and stay on our path to physical & mental health, vitality, and joy. Some of us suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) as the weather changes and the days become shorter. As much as possible, get outside – especially in the morning even if it’s just for a few minutes! Some morning sunlight on your face will keep your circadian rhythm in sync for better sleep. A good night’s sleep is a key ingredient for boosting mood, improving energy, and for overall health. It’s so tempting to hibernate under the covers! So set out your walking shoes, comfy clothes and layers tonight, and set your alarm with an extra 30 minutes for tomorrow morning! Then step out in the light for 10 or 15 minutes, or however long feels good.
It’s also crucial to surround ourselves with support systems and people with whom we want to connect. Community is key. It can be a friend or group of friends, family or co-workers, your church or spiritual community, a plant-based support group, or even AA and Al-Anon. Maybe spend a day volunteering with the elderly or an animal rescue. It’s a great way to connect with others.
As much as possible, eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and legumes, with some nuts and seeds. These foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and will support our immune system during the season. Also, when the weather cools off, we are less likely to be thirsty and drink water, so eating fresh fruit and vegetables will help keep us hydrated.
For many years now, my holiday meals have been 100% plant-based. I love to cook, and I especially love creating richer, more decadent dishes to share with my omnivore friends and family. Nothing makes me happier than wow-ing everyone at a party with a plant-based dish like a dumpling stew, mushroom wellington, shepherd’s pie, apple-berry cobbler, pumpkin cheesecake, or any one of the myriad of decadent dishes I love to share.
Before I was plant-based, I couldn’t care less about the turkey and ham. I always went straight for the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie. So when I went vegan, it was easy leaving turkeys off the menu. Since meeting many living turkey friends over the years, I am incredibly passionate about sharing plant-based holiday dishes with everyone!
A few years ago, our son Judah and I spent a magical weekend at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. The turkey residents climbed into my lap to cuddle and chit-chat in their adorable turkey language. They are some of the most curious and affectionate creatures I have known. They love to be scratched and petted under their wings – they will close their eyes and lean their sweet heads into your shoulder when you do this. It’s like a turkey hug!
Culturally, we eat turkeys, cows, chickens, lambs, and pigs, while in other countries and cultures, it’s customary to eat dogs and cats. Cooking my dog Luna or our cat Ringo for Thanksgiving dinner seems like a barbaric proposition. But in Rishikesh, India they feel the same way about their beloved cows! It’s all about cultural upbringing and social norms. I am hoping to contribute to the change I want to see in the world which is for everyone to Eat More Plants! I am here to support whomever is interested in joining me and my community of plant-eaters!