I am a bit convicted at the fact that as I describe this "Healthy Eating" Project, there is the remainder of a hearty pumpkin pie with traces of whip cream and all, sitting on a tidy little dish upon my desk. But that's okay... Thanksgiving is just around the corner, right? :)
As I share about this project, do not be mistaken by my hypocrisy. I am preaching to myself as much as I preach a healthy lifestyle to the average American. Hence, the theme of my project titled, "Thanksgiving Bliss". As most people know all too well, Thanksgiving is the holiday that revolves around the dinner table (not the Christmas tree or Easter Bunny or Firework stand). When this holiday approaches, what is the one thing that everyone speaks so fondly of? Ding, ding, ding! Turkey is indeed the correct answer. Now fortunately, turkey is a fairly healthy food in comparison to other dishes... Yet when the entire array of food makes a full circle around the turkey, filling up the whole table- that's where the problem lies. Let me explain. And yes, I will get to the project soon.
Remember when you were little and your mom would always say, "Don't get more than you can eat!"? That was a good reminder for us as children; but for some odd reason, it never worked too well. We would still end up dragging our way to mom with a half-empty plate muttering, "Mom, I can't finish it... Will you pleeease?" And of course, Mom would not want to throw the food away so she would finish it off reluctantly. Sometimes she would finish as much as 4 different plates, depending on how many of us kids got more than we could handle. You can imagine what kind of problem this created for Mom - she was a little overweight. And I don't blame her, but there's a better way to get rid of that food.
Rather than disposing 4 plates of left-over Thanksgiving dinner into her body, Mom should have disposed it into our compost pile. She thought she was putting the food to better use by consuming it - yet when you get down deeper, it winds up in the same place eventually... the garbage. The solution to this problem is to train children to immediately dump their food in the compost pile. If the pile is not nearby, Mom can provide a bucket for left-overs. Sounds like a silly idea in a way, but it not only saves Mom the trouble of forcing extra calories into her body but it is beneficial in several other ways as well.
First, the compost is healthy for the soil. Worms and bugs will break down the food in no time, creating healthy soil while they're at it. That soil can be used for the rosebushes in the front yard, the cactus in the kitchen, or the tomato plant in the backyard. Plus, because you're making your own soil, you save money on the packaged soil you would have bought and the gas you would have used to drive and purchase it! Second, throwing leftovers into a compost pile or compost bucket saves money on the garbage bill. Rather than piling your trash can with Thanksgiving leftovers, you can pile up your compost bin for free. This brings us to point three: disposing left-overs into compost is a good example to the children in the house. It teaches them that small wise decisions can make a difference in their personal lives and in the community. If you take the opportunity, you can even explain to them how neat the cycle really is. Eat what you can, throw left-overs into the compost pile, watch it decompose, plant something in the soil, and watch that plant grow as a result!
Hence, the "Thanksgiving Bliss Project". Rather than stuffing yourself with unnecessary calories like you stuff the turkey on Thanksgiving... put those nutrients to good use another way! It takes a wee bit of creativity and self-discipline on your part, but the outcome is quite a treat. Like a slice of pumpkin pie!