© Jacquelyn Johnston, M.Ed.
Do you have a number of social events to attend this week? How about next week? Is your company among those that have decided to eliminate the Office Party for economic reasons? Maybe you’re among those who are glad this is happening, because you feel that current times call for austerity measures.
Some offices are having The Party, scaling back just a little, but I do hope there is still room for a symbolic yuletide gesture of appreciation for the people who make it all happen. A friend of mine, who does the marathon rounds this time of year, tells me that he gets quite tired of the same little processed finger-foods they pass around. These are generally supremely tasty, full of salt, hidden sugars, and ghosts of nutrition. By the time the third gathering rolls around, he is screaming to go home and sit down to a plate of plain pasta seasoned with nothing, washed down with a gallon of water.
Now, while food and wine enjoyed in the company of kindred spirits have a deeply historical significance, would you take a look at the traditional offerings? Egg Nog, for example, is made from ingredients similar to those of ice cream—in fact, if you exclude the spirited version, you have an ice cream recipe! So we drink liquid ice cream—oh I know, it’s a source of magnesium, but along with the calories that come from the liquor it in itself makes for a rich and fattening meal. And do you need a second helping of everything, especially gravy, and are you happy to retire, stuffed and seeing spots in front your eyes, much like Garfield after he’s inhaled an entire dish of lasagna?
A friend of mine who did medical research in the African country of Cameroon told me this: When the hunter-gatherer males kill a large and tasty beast they bring it home in triumph, whereupon the womenfolk prepare the meat for consumption by man, woman and child. When the meal is ready, they eat. And eat. And eat. At the end of the meal their bellies are distended, much like the paunches of our beer-bellied friends here in North America. Then, barely able to move, they graduate to a long nap. This makes perfect sense in that part of the world, as they do not expect the next meal to come till about four days later, when they have to go hunting again. Life there is one continual cycle of hunt, roast, eat and sleep. Is this beginning to sound too familiar for comfort? Oh, and my friend did notice that not one of the tribesmen he observed had an ounce of fat on him. I wonder why.
So now, after all the festivities at work we continue the food-fest at home. This is wonderful as far as the company goes, and as long as we don’t think we’re on a cruise. Good food is one of the warmest expressions of friendship and good cheer. Like everything it is best enjoyed in moderation. Overloading the liver and tempting the pancreas with an assault of sugary invaders will have its consequences.
Is your festive fare conducive to good cheer, or to obesity—and its frequent companion—diabetes. Have we got a recipe for Diabesity here?