I almost didn't do it this year. I almost decided that enough was enough, and that my stomach (and waistband on my jeans) couldn't take another deathblow. But then I started to smell it -- the homemade chicken stock, the simmering black beans with salt pork, and the fresh cilantro. And then I started to see it -- the tender pieces of shredded white chicken breast, the homemade salsa and my brother's chunky homemade guacamole. Despite the ache in my belly from the previous two weeks... err month... of overindulging, I had to have one last hurrah before I went back to chicken breasts and brown rice, steamed vegetables, and tofu stir-fry.
Every year on New Year's Day, my dad takes over my mom's kitchen to create a Mexican feast of epic proportions. He starts working at 9:00 in the morning, and doesn't let up until we are all sitting around the family room table at 7:00 pm that night. There are chicken enchiladas, grilled steak fajitas, black beans, Spanish rice, and the aforementioned homemade condiments, salsa and guacamole. While he uses substantially less oil and cheese than most Mexican eateries, the meal is by no means heart-healthy -- nor does it land softly in the belly. But if there is ever a time to throw nutrition and diet plans to the wind, this is it. As the last great meal of the holiday season, my dad's chicken enchiladas get the job done with more pizazz than any of those lame high school bands in the Rose Parade.
Today, as I look over the pictures of filets with port shallot wine sauce, twice-baked potatoes, cheesy pizza, peanut butter brownies, and sticky butterscotch breakfast rolls, I feel half-disgusted and half-amused with all I have eaten in recent weeks. It's been a memorable holiday season foodwise, but at the moment, I can't wait to get back to my typical style of eating -- good carbs, lean meats, and lots of fruits and vegetables 90% (errr 80%) of the time with a few dashes of chocolate, French toast and pizza mixed in for good measure (and sanity).
I am actually excited to eat my standard oatmeal breakfast, lame turkey sandwiches, and tonight's dinner plan -- tofu and stir-fried veggies with brown rice. I am no longer lusting for chocolate, as I crave that light and energetic feeling I get when I know I am feeding my body right. I've lived in Los Angeles long enough to know that my "body is a temple," and right now the temple is begging for some tender loving care. After six weeks of cookies, potatoes and lots and lots of wine, I'm more than happy to oblige.
(Or at least until my friend Ali comes to visit next weekend and I hop right back into the Piggy Parade.)