What do you think of when you hear the word: nourishing?
Many think entirely of food.
Food is all around us. It’s a part of our lives. It’s a part of who we are.
Food is culture. Food is habit. Food is necessity.
But food is also nourishment. It’s part of tradition.
When you think back to how you celebrated the holidays as a child, chances are it centered around food.
I remember baking sugar cookies with my mom. Sprinkling red and green sugars; getting a little crazy with the sprinkles. Then, oh, so carefully, picking out one special cookie to leave on a plate for Santa.
My experience stretched way beyond my early years. My sister is almost seven years younger than I am, so my involvement stretched to be a part of her tradition too. We made cookies together. Picked one out. Left it for Santa. And I’d squeal in delight as I got gifts too!
My grandparents lived in the rural Midwest. I associate my maternal grandma with molasses cookies. We’d drive back during Christmas break, and she’d always be waiting for me with my own container filled to the brim with her molasses cookies. She cut them into trees, snowflakes, and reindeer, then frosted them and decorated them with sugars. They were my favorite! (Still are, though I’ve modified the recipe a bit.)
On Christmas day, we’d gather for a feast. I can still picture our holiday table filled with people. The traditional ham in the center of the table. Potluck-style salads being passed around. Every family was in charge of bringing one dish to share. (I ate a lot of Jello salads!)
I look back at those memories fondly. I miss so many of my family members who are no longer here.
What I choose to carry forward
As a grown woman, I want my own daughter to get the same sense of family and well-being I received from my mother and grandmother.
I haven’t duplicated their traditions. Instead, I’ve taken the best of what they gave me, and have shared that with my own family.
I believe our job as an individual isn’t to iterate good intentions. We’re unique individuals who are influenced by the behavior of those we love. Then it’s up to us to move it forward by doing it our way.
Holiday cookie baking is a part of that tradition. But I’ve morphed it to keep up with the times, and add my own reflection.
I want to give my family the same love and holiday traditions instilled in me since childhood. But I have a deeper understanding of our food source, and don’t want to give up health for the sake of tradition.
Luckily, I don’t have to. With a bit of tweaking, I can make cookies a bit better. (They’re cookies; they’ll never be healthy.)
That, to me, is how nourishment and traditions come together … through self-care.
Yes, I could say: “It’s Christmas. Throw all my knowledge and wisdom away for a month and live life based on the past.”
But I know that isn’t right for me.
My self-care kicks in and says: “Be the best YOU you can be.”
And that’s plant-based with an emphasis on WELLTHY living. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I do everything based on creating a healthy 100-year-old me. For her to be healthy in the future, I have to care for my body in such a way that I reach my goal in optimal condition.
That’s my “why.” That’s why I choose every action carefully.
Nourishment comes from remembering how I want to feel today based on my past memories. Then create that reality today so that it aligns with my present and future vision. It’s not about rigidity or stifling creativity. It’s about flexibility and creating my perfect holiday for today’s world.
To create memories that will be carried forward for a lifetime …
½ cup pitted Medjool dates
1 flaxseed egg (1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T water)
¼ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup creamy almond butter
¼ cup molasses
1 T vanilla
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cup almond flour
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t ground nutmeg
½ t baking soda
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Soak dates in boiling water for 5 minutes, then transfer to a food processor.
- Mix flaxseed with water and wait for 5 minutes. Add to the food processor.
- Add coconut oil, almond butter, molasses, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Process until smooth.
- Mix dry ingredients together and add to the food processor. Process until smooth.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. You’ll find it easier if you lightly oil your hands with melted coconut oil. Flatten them slightly as you place them on the cookie sheet.
- Bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden and the tops are cracked.
- Cool completely. Enjoy.