Food for Thought Around Holiday Time

By: Dani vanDriel, Sask Mustard

At this time of year, I am humbled by the fresh bounty available to us, and so appreciative of those who sow, harvest, deliver and make it taste great. Reconnecting with fresh, simple food has been an anchor in my journey from feeling tired and worn down; to balanced, capable and wanting to be a positive influence for as long as I’m able.

Up until 8 years ago, I’d kind of lost my way in my relationship with food. Although I’d grownup with such privileges as a large vegetable garden (with food to share), sun-kissed berries foraged in the woods, fish reeled-in from pristine lakes, and connections with friends and local producers for treats like farm-fresh eggs,  chickens, elk and the like, I’d lost the core idea of what food is. Slowly, through life’s ups and downs, growth and loss, I’d developed an existence with food that was kind of sad and less than satisfying. Like a love affair gone bad, it was making me feel older than my years and downright uncomfortable in my skin! It was time to change!

Several years and many improved habits later, this I now know: Food is life. Plainly and simply, it is our body’s fuel. Just as the correct fuel optimizes the performance of our vehicles (gas, diesel, propane, battery), the right food-fuel optimizes every system in our human machine. The right fuel makes it possible for our bodies to fire on all cylinders, purring, gleaming and burning clean without leaving a trace.

Having finally learned what it takes – and how energizing it feels – to maintain a normal BMI at mid-life, I’m so much better at making healthy food choices. I’ve adopted Michael Pollan’s mantra, Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants and along the way I rediscovered the joy around finding, preparing, serving and enjoying simple, healthy meals! Not only has cooking become relaxing and restorative after a busy day, but in preparing and eating nutritious, whole foods I am deeply appreciative of everything and everyone who brings “wholesome” to our pantries and tables. Someone who has influenced and inspired my journey has been Dr. Lilian Cheung, co-author of  Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. Do read it (as well as Michael Pollan’s books), and then gift them – their messages are game changers.

So join me in heading into the holidays on a slightly different path by switching the focus from food … to friends/family having fun and being fit for all life’s challenges and opportunities.

  • Let’s slow down and prepare simple meals that taste great and are nutrient dense to fuel our minds, bodies and spirits.
  • Let’s unplug and meet in the kitchen, chopping, laughing, stirring and sharing. Invite the kids – and elders – to experience food preparation as a journey and not just a destination.
  • Let’s give thanks for what we have eaten, and then get up from the dinner table and get that blood circulating and some colour into our cheeks again! We were designed to move!

Let’s savor all this season has to offer, my friends. Nourish your body and your heart. Live mindfully to bring joy, meaning and peace for all.

Coconut Curried Chicken & Vegetables

Coconut Curried Chicken Vegetables
Kid Approved: Easy and fun for kids to help out with

This simple and kid-friendly recipe features curry, mustard and coconut milk, and is full of nutritious vegetables.


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