Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Time - Food, Family, Friends and Relationships

Ridin' Solo this Xmas!
I LOVE Christmas time! In fact I love Christmas so much that in June this year I was fiending for Christmas so badly I went to Starbucks and ordered a peppermint mocha latte (in the middle of Summer in Florida) and said 'Merry Christmas' at the end of every phone call for the entire day. Way to throw people off hay? I really think I was meant to be a Christmas elf (I have elf ears).

Decorating a friend's tree
Anyway, this year is going to be the first year I spend Christmas solo. No family, no boyfriend. I am happy to be single for the first time in years, but it's so weird. Mostly, I am upset I won't be with my family. Being Greek, we are a very close family who love to eat together. I am going to miss eating and celebrating with my mom dad, brother, and sister this year.


My Second Family
Mom #1 (Samantha) and Mom #2 (Me)

My Babies
My friends are my second family. Since I was 18 I have lived far away from my family (with the exception of this past year), so I am pretty used to invading my friend's family dinners, and events as if I was the long lost family member. I love my friends and they are truly like family to me. When I am back home with my family, my friends are constantly at my house for dinner even when I am not there!). Family & Friends are so important to me.

So this Christmas I have been spending extra time with my best friend Samantha and her two amazing children. Christmas is so much more festive and fun when there are children to entertain! I have been friends with Samantha for years. I was there when she got the news that her husband passed away 3 Christmas's ago. Since that day I made a commitment to Samantha and the kids that I would be there through thick and thin no matter what. In the last couple years I have been all over the map (literally!), so this will be my first Christmas with them in 3 years.
Since I moved back to Vancouver, I have fallen right back into the role of Mom #2 (Samantha calls me the 'Dad'). I LOVE spending time with them, and I call them my babies. They make fun of me and Samantha all the time and tell us that we can't live with out each other. We can, and have, but we find a lot of support and positivity in our friendship and that's what kept us 'together' for so long and through so many of life's' crazy twists and turns.
It's so important to build these kinds of relationships in life because we all have our days where we feel depressed and moments where we lose motivation. These are the people who are going to remind you who you are, these are the people who are going to motivate you to continue being you and encourage you to succeed and prosper in your life. Not to sound super cheesy but I think Christmas is a time to open up and show appreciation and love to those around you who support you through thick and thin throughout the year. Being single, I have learned so much about myself. I have learned that I am a great friend, I have learned that I HAVE great friends, and making them a priority in my life again (before it was always my man...yes I was one of those girls) is the best gift I gave myself this year, and will continue to stay this way forever. Man or no man!
MEET THE CHEF!
Chris Irving aka The Chef
This past Sunday was mine and Samantha's Christmas party. I decided I would bring my Greek tradition (cooking lots of food - then force feeding it to Canadians, children, and strangers) to this party with me. I have never  made a turkey in my life, so I figured that this year my good friend Chris Irving would be the best man to do the job. Chris, or "The Chef" as I call him, has quite the Rep in the Food & Restaurant biz. Chris was trained by Gordan Ramsay (most recognized from the show "Hell's Kitchen") and worked in "Petrus" which is one of Gordan Ramsays' top end restaurants in England for 2 years before coming to Vancouver and opening his own restaurant "Pourhouse".
So my kitchen was quite a change compared to what this guy's usually used to working with. I lacked a couple of the necessary cooking utensils but the Chef, being as creative as he is, had no problem coming up with substitutes. Check out what we used as a rolling pin!
Chris is the most passionate person about food that I know and it's always a treat to have him cook. We cooked together until 3:00am the night before the party, and threw together the last minute touches while at the party. I truly felt I was with family.
2:00am and still baking!
 I put together a little slideshow of some snapshots I took of our late night baking and also some snapshots of our food at the party!



EATING XMAS FOOD AND STAYING FIT!

Christmas time usually means a ton of unhealthy food, chocolate, booze and everything else that makes you fat.
I say...don't stress!

This is what I am doing. Eating what I want, in proportion. Not holding back, but I am going to bang it out in the gym and use it as motivation to take my training to new heights.

If you haven't started going to the gym yet. Now is the time. Eat during the holidays and use that to motivate you to go burn it off and hit the weights!! Enjoy the food, enjoy the company and then deal with consequences in the gym. Some people go by the saying that 'prevention is better than cure', but I feel like in this case, preventing gaining the calories is more stressful and depressing than anything (which isn't good for u!) so let go (a little) and eat what you want, be happy, and work extra hard in the gym. You deserve it.

Fill up on the healthier stuff and indulge a little on the bad stuff. Don't attack the mashed potatoes and the Christmas pudding first! Turkey is awesome, eat it up, easy on the gravy and go nuts with the salads and vegetables. The sides are usually the worst. Stuffing, mashed potatoes etc. Don't even get me started on the desserts !
Some basic tips for Xmas time Food/Drink
  • Go low fat on the Egg Nog 
  • If you are going to drink alcohol, try and stay away from Baileys and Kahlua. Stick with wine, or spirits with diet soda. (Don't forget that the calories you consume from drinking alcohol go straight to your abdomen...just sayin!)
  • Don't go to a Christmas Party super hungry. Eat something healthy to fill you up a bit before you head over.
  • Fill up on the good stuff like vegetables and turkey.
  • Try everything, but be conscious of how much you eat. Everything is okay in proportion.
  • Drink lots of water
  • If you are going to a party bring dessert and make it with low fat options!
As you let yourself go a little with eating and drinking this Christmas, why don't you bump up some fun Christmas physical activities too? Go ice skating, snowboarding, have a snowball fight, or build a snowman (it's hard work!)! Find ways to stay active and be festive at the same time. Especially if you have kids, they love this stuff! If not, plan a snowball attack on your boyfriend or girlfriend, they have no choice but to retaliate which = your workout! That was a joke, but hay, what ever works!










I HOPE YOU GUYS HAVE AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS (Καλά Χριστούγεννα!), EAT LOTS, TRAIN HARD, AND START PLANNING THOSE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS - I KNOW I AM!

TO MY FAMILY I LOVE AND MISS YOU SO MUCH AND WILL BE SKYPING WITH YOU ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!!!!!!

From my table to yours, Merry Christmas - Καλά Χριστούγεννα!


Photo Credit for photo "Chris Irving aka The Chef": Nordica Photography