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Create Your Own Holiday Traditions

By Cynthia Crowsen from It All Changes

Growing up, Thanksgiving traditions were food, food, and more food. My grandmother’s formal dining table held everything you could imagine; olives in many flavors, several types of stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, home made gravy and the turkey.

We were stuffed like the turkey after seconds and even thirds. After a few hours to let the food digest we had dessert of several homemade pies and cultural favorites.

Food and family are fantastic but there was nothing healthy about it. The one meal could last a week and tryptophan comas prevented any exercise from happening. It was tradition but not one I was looking to keep.

I met my Hunni soon after I lost almost 100 pounds. The traditional family Thanksgiving didn’t appeal to me…I wanted some changes. Our first year dating we decided to make our own traditions full of health and good food.

I won’t say our first Turkey Trot was the best. Thanksgiving is the only day off we have between November 1st and Christmas Day but we wanted to run a Turkey Trot. I remember saying to each other several times, “It’s too cold to for this.” “It’s our only day off.” “I could be sleeping.”

By the race start we were smiling with the accomplishment of being up before noon to run together before most of our sedentary friends even considered waking up. The 5 miles around the lake was a bonus…plus we got a sweet t-shirt. Each year since we’ve run a race on Thanksgiving morning. The only exception was the year I had surgery…and that year we still did my rehab exercises before most people woke up.

We eat a huge meal with family traveling each year is difficult with our job responsibilities. That doesn’t mean we miss out on good food, but the definition has changed. A trick I learned when I did Weight Watchers was to decide what dishes are important. Hunni and I pick the most the important dish of the year and go all out. Last year Hunni wanted coconut cream pie.

For all the other dishes we health-ify them. Roasted veggies with a maple curry marinade, grilled turkey breast (for Hunni…I’m vegetarian,) and roasted red potatoes. It allows us to enjoy the food we love and make our own tradition of eating what we love to share with each other, family and friends.

Our final tradition is inspired by a friend. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, after all, so we write a use a white table cloth to write one thing a day we are thankful for starting November 1st. It’s a great reminder to be thankful of things great and small. Last year thing #25 was being able to run our tradition Turkey Trot 5K after an injury. It’s our tradition after all.

Different races, different meals and our own traditions. We never have the same Thanksgiving twice and love it because they are ours. Make this year’s traditions your own.

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November 22nd, 2011

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