Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 26, 2013

The healthy food diet has fallen off a cliff and exploded in holiday flames

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Christmas is over for another year. For once, the weather wasn’t a huge worry. When that snowstorm hit on Thanksgiving Day, I had visions of driving to my parent’s house across snow-covered roads while my fellow motorists drove too fast. Fortunately, the weather was surprisingly warm and the pavements stayed free of ice.

I’m sure my sister Karen, and my nephews A.J. and Alex, complained about not having a white Christmas if we didn’t get even a dusting of snow. They live in North Carolina, so they don’t have to live with the white stuff most of the time. I remember one year when Charlotte was hit with a snowstorm worthy of the name. Karen told me all the neighborhood kids went outside and had a blast, but only one family on the entire block had a sled. They had recently moved from New York state. That sled was used dozens of times before the snow melted.

If we didn’t have enough snow for sleigh riding, I know I was a little safer this Christmas. I know I mentioned this in previous columns and Prerogative magazine, but last year I tried imitating a stunt Alex pulled off with ease —— riding a saucer sled snow board style — and likely bruised my rib cage. I was in pain a good couple of months afterwards. The boys thought my fall was hilarious. They think getting some  bruises and a fracture or two is all part of playtime.

As nephew A.J. said with his teen wisdom: “If it’s safe, it can’t be any fun.” This is why so many teenagers hurt themselves in so many strange ways. If I got through Christmas without having that sort of fun, I’ll live with it. Lasting pain isn’t a good reminder of the holidays. I still think of Christmas 2012 as the one when I almost busted some ribs and taking too deep a breath hurt for a couple of months.

Another way I likely hurt myself is breaking with my diet. Being diabetic compels me to avoid too many carbohydrates and too much sugar. Unfortunately, those are two of the main Christmas food groups. A.J. and Alex think the gingerbread cookie is a major food group. Mom bakes up a big batch for them and those boys literally eat them by the handful. I nibble, sort of nibble, on a cookie or two. Sometimes I nibble on three, four or five. And I don’t nibble the big cookies. The big cookies don’t last too long, anyway. With A.J. and Alex around, gingerbread cookies last about as long as a goldfish in a piranha tank.

Another big temptation on the holiday menu is a big Tupperware bowl holding three or four gallons of party mix. Mom puts in cereal, peanuts, little pretzels, spices and plenty of Worcestershire sauce. I would get that mix by the handful if I could get away with it. Mom and Karen both fuss at me for nibbling too much, but I get this stuff only once a year.

Mom also makes a nice load of baked pecans with brown sugar. They’re so good, I could live off those things. One Christmas morning, she baked a big pan of monkey bread that she and Karen prepared on Christmas Eve. You take biscuit dough and stick them all together in a cake pan with brown sugar, and the stuff melts in the oven. It’s so good, I’d be happy with just one pan of monkey bread under the tree and nothing else. Mom makes some hard-boiled eggs, too, so we’ll have some protein with our sugar fix. Now I just have to worry about the cholesterol.

We usually have a light lunch; but when the evening arrives, it’s time for Christmas dinner. There’s nothing light about Christmas dinner. We have some beef with Yorkshire pudding, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Mom usually makes a chocolate pudding pie for me, too; with sugar-free pudding, of course. I love that pie with whipped cream and maybe some coffee. That tops off Christmas dinner very well.

Like millions of other Americans, I’ll have to pay for this indulgence with more trips to the gym and strict adherence to my diet. Recently I’ve managed to keep the pounds off, but a diet slides down the road when the holidays approach. By the time Christmas arrives, your diet has fallen off a cliff and exploded in flames. I’ll get back on mine as soon as the Christmas leftovers are gone.

The new year, the last holiday of the holiday season, is approaching fast. Hopefully we had a safe Christmas driving season, and we will have a safe New Year’s Eve without any crashes to end 2013 on a bad note.

Greg Jordan is the Daily Telegraph’s senior reporter. Contact him at