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Autumn is in full swing, and with it comes the Feasting Season, beginning with the Halloween candy bowl, Thanksgiving, and Christmas gatherings. Ironically, this anticipation can be both a blessing and a source of stress for those of us who watch our diets. When I am tempted to indulge (and who isn’t from time to time?) I remind myself of the French axiom “Cake or bread?” The key word in this little phrase is OR, meaning that in order to avoid over indulging, I am wise to eat cake OR bread, but not both.
It’s a useful practice. Reducing dietary carbohydrates, especially grains and sugars, is an excellent way to lose excess body fat. For those with metabolic or digestive disease, there may be no choice in the matter, with both sugar and grains best avoided. But for those who can tolerate a more liberal diet, making a few strategic choices can allow us to “have our cake and eat it too.” Here are some suggestions:
Take this axiom literally, and choose to skip the bread basket if you plan to have some dessert. Or spread a little extra butter on that bread and let it be your dessert.
Another strategy is to divide and conquer. Eat half a roll, and cut a thinner slice of pie. Eat smaller portions of everything. Skip the egg nog or sparkling apple cider, and resolve to eat rather than drink those extra calories.
Mashed potatoes or stuffing with turkey? To have this abundance of choices is truly a blessing, especially when we know all too well that there are those who would love to have such a “problem” of choice!
When it comes to giving, we are also faced with an abundance of choices. I can give through my local church, or send a check for California wildfire disaster relief to the conference center. I can donate through UMCOR or join a Volunteers in Mission project. I can give to the local food bank, Heifer Project International or to Habitat for Humanity.
Choices, choices! Do we adopt a favorite charity or spread the love among many? What we ultimately choose to do doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we make a choice and follow our inspiration. There’s a lot of need in the world, and it can feel overwhelming at times. Giving is the best antidote I know to “compassion fatigue”. Sometimes it all boils down to the next choice in front of us. And that’s enough. --Andrea Winchester