I just love December – it is such a truly magical month, perhaps the most magical month of all. Simply speaking the name … December … evokes an energy that lives within my heart, expressed as joy, happiness and delight. At 55, you’d think I’d outgrown all that by now, but blessedly I have not! For me December is the most wonderful time of the year and I can’t help but be excited about it! I love the winter holidays, all of them – I love giving and I love receiving, and I still believe in Santa. I absolutely LOVE December!
December is my birth month and ever since I was a child, I always wish for snow for my birthday, much to the chagrin of many – and the best part is – I often get my wish! There is no snow as perfect as a new fallen December snow. Indeed when it comes, and every time it comes, it awakens the “Little Girl” that still lives inside me, it brings renewed wonder and exuberance to my spirit, an unbridled enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of sleigh riding, building snowmen and drinking hot chocolate. With the first December snow, I feel an awakening of an energy that is Fairy-like, an energy of pure happiness and delight, of peace and of grace. Yes I do feel it and with intention, I breathe it deeply into my soul and I too am renewed.
But I know that not everyone feels this way about December. I have great compassion for those who do not experience December this way. In all honesty, I too have struggled at one time or another with the less than delightful side of December – the chaos created by the shopping craze; the self imposed stress to get everyone exactly what they want (even though I couldn’t really afford it); co-workers and family members who too are so unhappy that they behave as badly as Scrooge; and especially the consequences of over-indulgence that emotionally derails me for days!
Of course, those of us who have ever consumed too much “Christmas Cheer” know what a hangover feels like, but have you ever noticed that same feeling from eating too much of those all-to-tempting sugary treats? The more stressed out we feel, the more we eat, and the more we eat, the more stressed out we feel. Not only do we pick up a few extra pounds around our waistline, we pick up an emotional heaviness that keeps our spirits from soaring. The energy of sugar is uplifting only for a very short time, and then we fall … hard … and our good cheer falls with it. Ever notice how a child acts about 30 – 45 minutes after eating candy – whining, arguing, crying and screaming like they are possessed? That’s the perfect example of what sugar does to our emotional wellbeing. I know I don’t want to be around that – nor do I want my inner child to act like that.
I am also a believer of “having my cake (or cookies) and eating it too” – after all, a Health Coach is someone to set a good example, right? Hey, I’m human too! I’ve made it my mission to re-vamp all those delicious holiday recipes, handed down for generations, into healthier and just-as-delicious versions of the original. Yes, it took some experimentation and creativity to do so, and through trial and error I have succeeded in my quest to create delightfully delicious December treats that don’t add pounds to my body or heaviness to my spirit. No longer do I fear the consequences of the dreaded Sugar Blues Fairy! No more “bah, hum bug” for me. How did I accomplish this great feat? I’ll gladly share my secrets.
I’ve discovered that I need to eat wheat free and use gluten free flours where I can incorporate nut flours (like almond or coconut) and use flax meal instead of oil, add chia seeds to cookies and cakes – adds fiber, healthy omega 3 fats and protein – all of which slow down the uptake of sugar into the blood stream and thus alleviates the inevitable sugar crash.
As one who loves stevia, I replace sugar with Stevia in the Raw which measures cup for cup like sugar (FYI – stevia is NOT an artificial sweetener); coconut palm sugar replaces refined brown sugar, and applesauce adds both moisture and sweetness. Adding hemp protein powder to my great grandma’s applesauce cake recipe, brownies and chocolate chip cookies makes them extra special! EVERYONE loves them – not only are they absolutely YUMMY – they are good for you too!
Oh, and when I do have a glass of wine, I practice moderation and make sure to eat an ounce of cheese with each glass and drink plenty of water. No hangovers or emotional outbursts for this menopausal woman! Thank you for taking the time to read this, my first blog post. For my birthday wish this year, yes, I hope for snow and a holiday season filled with hope, peace and grace. I hope that we’ll all make time to connect with our inner child and breathe into our hearts the happiness and delight it brings. I wish for the wonder and magic of December to embrace us all, now and forever.
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Brenda Ashby Berry, PHD, is a Professor of Happiness and Delight and owner of Sacred Celebrations, LLC. Brenda offers health, spirituality and marriage coaching, Integrative Energy Medicine and Shamanic healing, teaches Reiki; and is a licensed wedding celebrant. A graduate of WhiteWinds Institute of Integrative Energetic Medicine, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition she has a private practice in Winchester, VA, and is licensed and insured. For more information, please visit her websites: www.SacredCelebrations.net and www.MyMedicineisFood.com