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Fudge and the Baby Jesus
By Carolyn Allen

The holiday count down is here!  How exciting.  Weekend before last was filled with holiday activities for our family including our ward Christmas dinner party, then joining with lovely neighbors to enjoy the First Presidency Christmas Devotional broadcast.  Of course there were the attendant goodies at each.  As each of the First Presidency shared their powerful messages of the Savior and the reason for the season, my heart was filled to bursting with the Christmas message of the Savior’s gift: peace and hope, love, perfect acceptance of us and comfort through the atonement.  It filled me with a great desire to do better and be better.

So why did I wake up on Monday morning tired, a little cranky and with an undeniable case of the blues?  When my husband and I chatted later in the day, he confided that he too had not been feeling like himself, though life at this stage of our family is very blessed.  We both knew exactly why and could spell it in one word and three little letters:  The cookies and M&Ms we’d eaten on both Saturday and Sunday night.  We made a promise with each other to not eat any more refined sugar or candy until Christmas, and to have a plan for managing it at that time.

Strangely, the weight management aspect of controlling sugar over the holidays almost takes second place to the importance of wisely managing our moods and spirits!

Is it the same for you?  For Bob and me, (now in the over 55-58 range) more than a small amount of sugar results in lingering moods that include sadness, discouragement and anxiety. These are the complete antithesis of the holiday season and the last thing we or our family needs. So why, oh why, do I never tire of anything that is chocolate, mint-flavored, coconut topped, cream-filled or frosted? You may think my initials, C.A. stand for Carolyn Allen, but in truth, they could be “Candy-Aholic”.  

Though the “why” of it all is complex, cultural and personal, the “how” to replace it with something different is not as difficult as it may seem.  The pre-requisite, of course, is for our hearts and minds to be open to giving the unrivaled Christmas gift of health and peace to our physical bodies.  This is a gift that we can give to ourselves, from ourselves with the help of the Savior and the Wise men.  It’s a gift He would be pleased to help us create!

As you continue reading, start thinking about your pile of Christmas cards, the most beautiful ones with the pictures of the Savior and the Wise Men.  Rather than sitting in a pile, they’ll become our most treasured health-management tools this year. 

Fudge and the Baby Jesus

For me, managing holiday sweets starts with a simple, though rather profound question asked by a Christian woman several years ago at a community weight loss support group:  She stood and simply asked, “When you think about it, what does fudge have to do with the Baby Jesus?”

“Well ….” and for most of us our minds quickly jump to attention:  “These special candies, cookies and treats are Christmas celebration foods! It wouldn’t be Christmas without them!”  

Perhaps so! But before presenting some ways to manage the avalanche of cookie plates and food gifts, we can go back to the stable where the Baby Jesus was born. 

What did Mary and Joseph eat to celebrate his birth?

If you have not read “Two From Galilee” by Marjorie Holmes, then here is a true Christmas treat for young and old.  Though fictional, this detailed and tenderly written story of a teenage girl and a young carpenter who are alone, frightened, in love and faced with troubles and an awesome responsibility, will make the Christmas story come alive!

In the book, the author spends several paragraphs describing the 40 days after his birth.  It’s a joy to imagine the Savior as a newborn, isn’t it?

“The fire glowed day and night, crackling softly, for Joseph went forth each day and brought back fuel for it.  And he brought bread and juice and water, and sweets which they ate, often secretively in the still of the night, like children on a holiday.  And with them, the core and flower and focus of their existence, was the baby, new, small, helpless, who yawned and woke and gazed at them with his blank blue liquid eyes, and suckled and slept again.  Or cried, so that they would take turns walking him up and down while the other rested …”  (Two From Galilee, Marjorie Holmes, Page 204)

Of course, there it is! The real treat for them, and it can be for us, was  the Baby Jesus!  Then, with that securely in place, a few treats as well for fun and pleasure.  (Read on for what those treats probably were for Mary and Joseph.   So here’s a neat reminder that He, not unnecessary  candy and cookies,  is the delight of our hearts: Mount Christmas cards with beautiful pictures of the Holy Family on your refrigerator and in the kitchen as a powerful reminder that there is no Christmas food that can please or satisfy like remembering Him on the night of his birth.

And the sweets?  The sweets in any Mediterranean locale are FRUITS.  Grapes, figs, raisins and other dried fruits.  There will be honey, and there will be nuts.  (For an interesting article “What Would Jesus Eat for Dessert?”  Click HERE for my Meridian Christmas page or paste this link into your browser:

I’m quite sure there was no fudge!  Nor did they miss it!

However, I believe we all tend to feel deprived if we have no sweets at all. Will fruit and nuts feel like a Christmas celebration for you? If yes, then excellent!  Healthy holiday fruit indulgences may mean a trip to a store beyond your traditional grocery store for some specialty fruit to enjoy!  The Asian markets in our area often have unusual fruit that is extremely affordable and delicious.  Now’s the time for those treats!

Wise Men To the Rescue

If no, and it’s truly not Christmas without divinity and fudge, then it’s time to summon the wise men:  Figuratively don a turban, mount a camel and consider the following: There were three of them, they knew what they wanted, and it took them a long time to get there.
So, choose three treats that mean the most to you.  Decide the days or events where you will enjoy them, then plan to eat them slowly so they’ll last a looooong time!    Give careful thought to your selections, making a conscious choice as to when, where and with whom you will eat these three special treasures.  They’ll be all the more special for making it a production! 

Think of the prolonged time it took the wise men to arrive at the stable, and by eating it slowly, it will make one treat feel like much, much more.   Make them memorably wonderful by eating them while sitting down, using utensils, putting the fork down in between bites, savoring every morsel and every taste without guilt.  It’s best to eat them after a nutritious meal or snack, so they don’t cause too much of a blood sugar spike, which in turn makes you just want more.

  Then, a toothbrush or a cinnamon breath mint for a quick rinse, extra drinks of water and an energetic walk (or several vigorous trips up and down the stairs if the weather is bad) as soon as possible are good ways to end the eating experience and literally  keep things moving through your system afterwards.

OK! Make it happen by choosing another Christmas card or two with pictures of the three wise men and put them up as reminders that you, too, are wise, with the ability and power to wait and eat what you want MOST, instead of what happens to be in front of you at the MOMENT.

Before and after those three treats there will be many opportunities to graciously say “No thank you!”  Here’s a little song that will make even that a Christmas pleasure:  Practice by singing along with the radio!  (I’ve created a printable card for you at my special
Christmas Meridian page.  Click HERE for my Meridian Christmas page or paste this link into your browser:

To the Tune of “Angels We Have Heard on High”

Verse 1:
Christmas was a time to eat
Something rich and something sweet
Pounds I’d gain my pants got tight
This year I will do things right!

No -ooooohhhh, No -oooohhhh, No – ooooh, No thank you
This is what I sa-ay.
No -ooooohhhh, No -oooohhhh, No – ooooh, No thank you
This is what I choose to say.

Verse 2
Christmas cookies, chocolate fudge
Made for pounds that would not budge
Just three treats this year I’ll choose
My good health will be the news!

No -ooooohhhh, No -oooohhhh, No – ooooh, No thank you
This is what I sa-ay.
No -ooooohhhh, No -oooohhhh, No – ooooh, No thank you
This is what I choose to say.

Verse 3
Better far than sweets for me
Are clothes that fit and energy
Health and time with those I love
These are gifts from Heaven above

No -ooooohhhh, No -oooohhhh, No – ooooh, No thank you
This is what I sa-ay.
No -ooooohhhh, No -oooohhhh, No – ooooh, No thank you
This is what I choose to say.

Truly, it’s the hap-piest season of all, and when we manage the sugar so abundantly available at this time of the year, we’re at our hap-happiest best too

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