De-Stress by Enjoying Your Food - Alliance Integrative Medicine

De-Stress by Enjoying Your Food

I LOVE peppermint mochas. LOVE them. This is a song I made up about them that I sometimes sing to my husband when we’re driving home from our Thanksgiving celebrations… what do you think?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

With coffee shops selling

And everyone telling you “Peppermint mochas sold here!”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s the hap-happiest season of all…

When I moved to Arizona (AZ) to attend Naturopathic Medical School at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM), I found myself really struggling to live there. As it turns out, I’m just an East Coast girl through and through and cacti, sand, and heat just don’t do it for me.

During my first year at SCNM, I was also incredibly homesick. I had never been so far away from family and I was so excited to spend my first long break away from school in cold, snowy Pennsylvania during the winter holidays. Before I left, while trying to do some holiday shopping, I wanted to buy my sister a sweater. But as it turned out, during the winter, stores in Arizona only sold clothing that would be considered spring or fall items back at home. So I went outside, wearing flip-flops and shorts, sat next to a palm tree, called my mom and cried. I was done. I missed home.

After a couple of minutes of sobbing, my mom suggested I go back inside, find the nearest coffee shop, order a peppermint mocha and call her back once I had it. Unbeknownst to me, while I was looking for the coffee shop, she was driving to her local coffee shop to buy one too. When I called her back, we sat and talked on the phone, sipping our peppermint mochas together for over two hours.

Sometimes loving a food has absolutely nothing to do with how it tastes. Sometimes we love a food because it once helped us deal with a stressful moment, or it helped us connect with someone we loved. Sometimes we use food to help share our joy about an event, or even to re-experience a happy memory. During this upcoming holiday season, love your food. Eat in moderation, but love and savor every bite you take.

A study conducted in 1999 found that in comparison to Japanese, French or Belgian adults, American adults thought of food more for nourishment than pleasure, but were less likely to classify themselves as “healthy eaters.” The research concluded that this caused food to become more of a stressor for Americans than a source of pleasure. It may be the reason why our cardiovascular disease rates are so high, whereas those rates in places like France, where food is considered richer, are much lower.

So, during this holiday season, I will be doing all my holiday shopping with my purse in one hand and my soy peppermint mocha in the other. I will drink it to the health I know it will bring since I will do so with happy memories in my heart.

And for you – relax, take a deep breath, and embrace your food traditions.

Happy Holidays!!!

By Lisa Gallagher, N.D.

P.S. Start the year off right by joining our 21-Day Transformation Program beginning on January 6th, 2014.

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