Read what Dr. Brenda Freeman has to write about managing grief during the holidays. Also, how to make simple swaps and substitutions to make your Thanksgiving dinner go smoothly hopefully without any unnecessary trips to the grocery store. You might even get some good leftover ideas!
Fall is in the air and with it comes the anticipation of delicious holiday food and pleasurable family gatherings. But not for all. For some, the holiday season triggers grief and sadness as we remember lost loved ones and the joyful holiday celebrations of the past. Grief over thedeath of a loved one leaves a measurable impact on the well-being of the griever. One poet noted that grief ‘tears a big hole in our hearts.’
What is grief, anyway? Grief is a response to a loss that often includes psychological, social, physical or behavioral reactions. It is not a mental health problem unless the griever is suffering from a complicated bereavement (defined as a failure to work through the processes of grief appropriately) in which case they should see their physician or a licensed therapist for assistance.
In the way of background, humans tend to form emotional bonds known as attachments. We attach to spouses, pets, places and friends. But while attachmentis a natural part of living a rich and full life, a byproduct of attachment is loss. In other words, once we become emotionally attached, we will inevitably experience thepain of loss when the person or pet dies, a relationship ends or a move is made.
For many individuals aging brings with it a pile-up of losses when a new loss (such as the death of a friend) occurs while we are still suffering grief from a former loss (such as the death of a spouse). For older people, the grief pile-up happens because friends, partners and spouses are often from the same age group. Other factors are loss of physical capabilities and death anxiety about our own death triggered by the deaths of others.
While grief may be unavoidable, it can be managed so that it does not ambush daily living. Suggestions on managing grief:
Finally, it is important to recognize that loss can have a silver lining. Loss can help us sharpen our capacity to define our life activities and friendships that are most important to us. Understand that grieving the past can make your “new” holidays and your future meaningful.
The traditional turkey and stuffing might not be everyone’s first pick. It’s a perfect time, with football in the air, to learn some simple swaps and substitutions that may “up” your game-day or holiday meals.
Cut up vegetables
Simple Swaps: Try making small swaps to help your family get more of the good stuff.
Sub It In: Tempted to skip over a recipe because of one ingredient? Just use something else!
For more tips to feed you and your family well please visit Cooking Matters.
If your recipe calls for a food that is too pricey, too hard to find, or that you simplydo not care for, try subbing in another. Substitutions may be different dependingon if the food is raw or cooked.
Figure out how the food is being used, then try the tips in the charts below.
Foods within the same category can be used in place of each other. For instance, a dark leafy green such as kale can be replaced with any other dark leafy green like chard or collards, whether raw or cooked.
Berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries)
Stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots)
This material was funded by USDA’s SupplementalNutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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Freeman, B., 2023, Healthy LIVING while aging! (2023-11), Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Newsletter
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