Sunday, March 2, 2008

is there such a thing as a healthy holiday?

a couple weeks ago after a long run i was listening to a news article about paczki’s day (a polish holiday celebrated on the thursday (“fat thursday”) prior to lent) & i began to ask myself whether there was a single holiday that i would associate with good healthy eating. the tradition of paczki day is to use up all the forbidden food ingredients (lard, sugar, eggs, & fruit) that are in the house prior to lent & the result is the paczki.

a paczki is basically what we americans call donuts – they are deep fried donuts that are filled with either a sweet jam or pastry cream. a jam filled paczki on average is 450 calories with 25 grams of fat & a pastry cream filled paczki packs up to 650 calories with 30+ grams of fat. here i had just finished a 12 mile run & was recovering with a cup of coffee & large bowl of oatmeal & i was listening to these people talk about eating between 3 – 12 paczkis in a single sitting. the news article was describing how folks will line up for blocks outside bakeries in cities like detroit, chicago, & milwaukee waiting to get their hands on some paczkis.

i started rattling through the various holidays we celebrate here the US & i began pairing them up with the most common foods associated with holiday…

valentine’s day: chocolate & more chocolate

st. patricks: beer & potatoes

easter: baskets filled with candy & chocolate to include the infamous
cadbury crème egg

the 4th of july: hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, ice cream, & pies

halloween: baskets (grocery bags) even larger than those used for easter filled with hard candies, chocolate bars, & sugary other goodies

thanksgiving: excessively large meal followed by pumpkin, apple, & pecan pies

christmas: egg nog & cookies, an excessively large meal very similar to thanksgiving followed by more pies, homemade candies, & things like peanut brittle

& then there is new years! new year’s day is famous for folks eating lots of healthy blacked-eyed peas. the blacked-eyed pea of course is associated with good luck & fortune & while the majority of people aren’t fans of the blacked-eyed pea they’ll at least eat them on this day. so if you tell folks their luck will change for the better then maybe they’ll put down the cookie & pies for a day & go for something better.

is it true that new year’s day is the only holiday associated with eating food that is good for you? i suppose it makes since that the most popular day for people going on a diet, starting to workout, giving up cigarettes, etc. should be associated with good food. of course two months later (feb – valentine’s day) the diet is over & these same people are now enjoying decadent chocolates & the following month (mar – st. patrick’s day) these same people can drown their sorrows & unachieved diets with beer & potatoes :).


kris said...

you are overlooking that new years eve is a night over consumption. no matter how healthy you eat on new years day, most people are starting off the new year in the negative....maybe that is why all the black eyed peas - an attempt to offset the night before....

Brian Kirk said...

quite the valid point. so does that mean there isn't a single U.S. holiday that is associated with eating healthy foods?