Fashion Island just held its annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony, with a 90-foot tree extending its magnificence to the shops and customers below.
I muse on the idea of the holidays beginning 12 days before the sacrificing of the turkeys. It gives me a slight shudder that the beginning of the end is near. That my stomach is going to expand two-fold and my steady will of healthful eating dutifully tested.
I pray for some deep inner strength to keep me safe from the wandering pumpkin pie that secretly slides its presence for the second time onto my plate, its umber-orange body precariously waiting underneath an avalanche of stately-white whipped cream.
Or the butter-soaked rolls innocently staked out at my end of the table, waiting for the moment to launch their round, perfectly browned glutinous leavened body into my mouth.
But even before the turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes even grace the table, the whole gluttony of it begins way before then. It’s the ominous in-between where guests arrive and the turkey timer dings it’s ready. It’s the black hole where dips and chips and sodas are front and center; and growling stomachs instinctively are lead to cheeky deviled eggs filed next to the stately stuffed mushrooms.
So let me begin this kick-off with the 12 days before Thanksgiving, a guide to working up to the festive feast.
The twelfth day before Thanksgiving is the start of the acclimation process into the holidays with the art of deep breathing…deep breath in, deep breath out 12 times so oxygen can ignite the metabolism, patience and enthusiasm.
The eleventh day before Thanksgiving requires running 11 miles or blocks or minutes so culinary pleasure become guilt free.
The tenth day is breaking out the forgotten juicer and sending 10 apples down the blades to drink 10 ten times throughout the day so the malic acid in the apples can jumpstart the liver and keep the digestion on track.
For the ninth day, find a mantra, any mantra, and chant it nine times for a melodious effect on the body with its neuro/psycholinguistic reverberations. Try something like, “There’s no place like home….there’s no place like home,” when standing in the wrong line at the grocery store, or wedging your way onto PCH from Dover.
On the eighth day before Thanksgiving, place eight drops of lavender oil in your car, in your office and on your bedroom pillow to sooth away the stress of finding your “favorite” in-laws standing on your front porch.
On the seventh day, drink seven big glasses of water to hydrate each cell, flush the waste and locate every bathroom in the mall (prep for the Christmas holiday).
On the sixth day before Thanksgiving, drop and do 6 push-ups then 6 sit-ups 6 times. If you can get through the mini-boot camp, heaving two 25 pound turkeys around, keeping your balance twirling between the stove and island and dragging a reluctant 80 pound lab outside is a snap.
The fifth day before Thanksgiving, exercise your mouth – open wide then stick out your tongue five times to loosen up the jaw and allow your tongue a good stretch to gear up for food and good conversation.
On the fourth day, drink four cups of nettle tea, each cup the quarter hour at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. for mineral revitalization and joint ease.
On the third day before Thanksgiving, notice three new things every three hours, pulling you out into the Now and keeping you grounded.
On the second day before Thanksgiving, give a hug every two hours to someone different to keep the blood, heart and love flowing.
And on Thanksgiving Day, remember to eat for living, drink for health and never forget the abundance so graciously displayed in your life that fine thankful day.
Gina can be reached at [email protected]