Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Nov

Savoring the Holiday

seniorcouplewithwineCatalogs, store fliers, magazine articles, and recipe books presume to offer it: “All you need to make a perfect Thanksgiving!” By now most of us have the “stuff” that typically goes into Thanksgiving: the food, the festive napkins, the centerpiece, etc. We’ve unearthed the ginormous serving tray from the basement and dug out the carving set. We’ve taken down the box that holds Grandma Rose’s old gravy boat. And we’ve likely ironed out the logistics of the occasion: when guests will arrive, when the turkey will go into the oven, and who will bring what. We’ve straightened the house, cajoled the kids to make their bedrooms presentable, and maybe the more ambitious and organized among us have even made a dish or two ahead of time.

Some of us tomorrow will be hosting large gatherings or perhaps celebrating with just immediate family, a partner, or a friend. A few of us will eat alone. Others of us will be guests in friends’ or families’ homes or part of larger groups hosted by religious or neighborhood communities.

This week we shared recipes for making a more primal dinner, but we know that Thanksgiving is about more than the menu. (Reader emergefit, you beat us to the punch. We couldn’t agree with you more.) The Primal Blueprint is ultimately about living the best life possible. It’s about maximizing your workout with minimal duration to allow more time with family, friends and fulfilling personal pursuits. It’s about eating healthily enough that – in the short term – we maintain the immune systems that keep us going when others are down for the count with the latest bug and – in the long term – we put real life in our years and don’t have to sacrifice time, finances, grief, and life opportunities to the burdens of avoidable disease and decline. The Blueprint is about reducing the impact of stress by taking advantage of the best relaxation practices and by taking real inventory of our lives to see what matters and what doesn’t. Where is our life energy going? Is this where we want it to go? What do we want more of in our lives? You could say that the holiday tomorrow is an apt reminder of that suggestion.

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Our culture and even individual responsibilities sometimes encourage us to get so caught up in the practical operation of the holiday that we can find ourselves shuffling through the motions, hitting all the obligatory dishes and events, but never really touching down emotionally or interpersonally. It’s likely that some of us have previously taken the lesson and pared down or honed in on what we deem the most essential of the holiday. (The gathering, the gratitude, the giving of time….)

In this hectic part of year the suggestion bears repeating – and revisting. Carpe diem, take the bull by the horns – whatever you want to call it. Enjoy the moment – the company, the conversation, the chance to connect and tell stories new and old. Start some fresh traditions or revive some old ones (a pre-dinner family game of touch football, an after dinner walk, an evening around the board games or family albums, an evening of volunteering). Whether you’re alone or with a whole horde, here’s to making the most of the day in such a way that we’ll all go to bed that night fulfilled (not just full), inspired, at peace, nostalgic, and grateful for the day instead of just relieved the dishes are done or glad we made it through.

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It’s true that there’s something about a holiday meal itself – the variety, the rich flavors, the calm (and flurry) of annual preparation rituals, the deep-seated emotional associations and memories. Nonetheless, the day has the potential to feed us in ways the best turkey or family recipe can’t. We’re all coming to the day from different settings and with different situations. Whatever you’ll be doing, wherever you’ll be celebrating, whatever you’ll be looking back on or looking forward to in the spirit of thankfulness, we all wish you the best for your holiday.

.imeida, javaturtle Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

10 Last Minute Holiday Health Tips

Holiday Survival Guide, Part 1

Holiday Survival Guide, Part 1

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Can’t see the forrest through all the trees? I have seen many a holiday ruined by someone trying too hard to make it “perfect”. Relax and enjoy yourself, the company, and the time no matter how you spend your holiday! Thank you Mark.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on November 26th, 2008
  2. Happy Thanksgiving Mark and staff and my fellow readers of MDA!!! I’m thankful for all you guys!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

    Andrew R wrote on November 26th, 2008
  3. Last year I had about 25 people over and was doing all of the cooking myself. I was frantic the night before and day of… completely not enjoying myself… and being slightly snappy to my husband (in other words, terrible way to “appreciate” the true meaning behind Thanksgiving). That is, until my little girl dragged her bright pink stool from her room to the kitchen, set it next to me, and said “Can I help mommy?” At that point I didnt care if dinner was done at 5pm or 10pm, I just enjoyed showing her how to make our traditional family Thanksgiving recipes. Heres to the true meaning of the holiday!

    Holly wrote on November 26th, 2008
  4. The holiday season brings out the best or the worst in people. I stay away from the “scrooges” and enjoy the holidays with my precious, happy, and greatful loved ones.
    Happy Thanksgiving all.

    Coed Fitness Tips wrote on November 26th, 2008
  5. Of the many things I am thankful for, connecting with like-minded people, in this amazing age, is to be included on that list. Mark, your family and staff, SoG, Co-Ed, Debs (I know you’re out there) and all the rest, regardless of what anyone eats tomorrow, I am thankful to have you to help keep me grounded — always learning, always growing, and never satisfied with the fitness-quo. My values have profoundly changed since I first logged on to this site, and the others I have connected with through MDA. I am better for your reach.

    emergefit wrote on November 26th, 2008
  6. What a wonderful reminder, thanks a bunch!

    That’s what I love about you, Mark, and all the rest of you here, you know what REALLY counts and strive to live that way and encourage others to do the same.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving…..which was actually six weeks ago for us Canadians!

    new_me wrote on November 26th, 2008
  7. Happy Thanksgiving to Mark and all of the great contributors here. :)

    Jerry wrote on November 26th, 2008
  8. Although I’ve harped on my mother for years about going overboard with holidays, I still need a reminder myself when it’s my turn to host. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “have to get it done!” that it can ruin the joy of the holiday. I even ran out to the store at 5PM today to print some photos because my fridge looked bare, and as I confessed to the cashier “Last minute neurotic holiday decorating…” I realized how silly I am sometimes. The photos look freakin’ awesome though.

    My mom has a friend who once hosted a party where one of the guests was Martha Stewart. Martha was in the kitchen fussing over how the pies looked while everyone else was outside having fun. Mom’s friend said to her, in a very pointed tone of voice, “No one cares about the pies, Martha.” Our family whips that line out any time Mom starts getting too deep into things, but today I had to laugh and tell myself “No one cares about the pies, Martha!” when I started to feel overwhelmed.

    Thanks for the reminder to just chill already, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here. =)

    Heather wrote on November 26th, 2008

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