I have 2 parents, 3 siblings, 1 husband, 2 kids, 2 sister-in-laws, 3 nieces and 1 nephew.  My husband’s family is a robust 9 people in total.  So that equates to 23 people in my immediate family.  That’s 23 birthdays a year that we do our best to celebrate. 

Look at the size of that cake!

Look at the size of that cake!

There are at least 12 solid holidays each year that we celebrate with a seasonally appropriate decadent meal.  Juicy burgers for the 4th of July and my sister-in-law makes the best monkey bread for Easter morning after church.

So for 2016, I can count on at least 35 family filled, food filled celebrations.  I bet you are counting yours right now.  I’ll wait while you count……

Maybe it’s because, in our DNA, we were once starving pioneers, but regardless of the reason, most of us approach decadent food as if we will NEVER have it again.  We approach the party food table with a mentality of gluttony.  My husband even preps himself for it like a pre-game pep talk.

Now you might be thinking, “oh great, here it comes, when the dietitian is going to take away all that is good in the world…like I can’t even get Aunt Betty’s cannoli’s one freakin’ time a year.”

Well pioneer, just hold your horses.  As it turns out, if your Aunt Betty has a really good cannoli recipe she only makes once a year, I would like an invite.  I often wonder what people think when they see that my party plate is the farthest thing from healthy.  I imagine a scene from Downton Abby where the most scandalous thing has just occurred at the most proper party and people are all whispering while the camera pans back to my plate and then my food filled face, while a crumb falls off my cheek.

The truth is, one of my most important health rules is that food is meant to be enjoyed.  [bctt tweet=”We are hard-wired to connect good food with great social experiences.”]  So please do indulge a little when you are at your next family gathering – note I still said “a little” 

So here is where our society as gotten a little raucous with the abundance of decadence.  When there are donuts in the break room, when chips and soda become a daily indulgence, and dessert comes with every meal… This is when we have lost site of the 35 REAL reasons to celebrate and splurge. 

All of that yummy stuff that you get at a party should remain and, in your mind be labeled as, party food. 

We have such an abundance of all foods.  That includes healthy food too.  But we forget that healthy food was once decadence for pioneers.  For all of you ladies out there age 30-40, you will likely remember this scene from the 1990’s screen version of Little Women.  It’s Christmas day and one of the sisters runs down stairs to find the table filled with lovely settings and food.  In sheer joy she grabs an orange, a rare treat for that time, draws it to her face and exclaims, “oh! oranges!”

Indulge and celebrate everyday with delicious fruit.

Sometimes I wonder if we have become so obsessed with the cakes, chips, soda, donuts, and dips, that we miss out on the joy of all the other wonderful food that should fill the days in between the 35 big parties.

Find joy in the abundance of your local grocer’s produce section and celebrate it.

So here is what I want to leave you with; by all means, please do indulge in the joy that comes with great food and great people for your 35 or more events each year.  Find joy in the abundance and worldly variety of the massive produce section at your local grocer, and let that fill the other days in your year.  Because with so many people and holidays to celebrate your next indulgence is likely just around the corner.