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November 22, 2013

Good Nutrition & Black Friday.

What do these two concepts have in common, you say?

They appear to be so far on each end of the spectrum, yet if we truly think about it, both have everything to do with excess. Perusing and researching articles on my laptop is now loaded with ads about how much earlier a store plans to open next Friday.

In some instances, the stores are advertising opening this Friday (tomorrow!) at an earlier time than normal, to gain some advantage for those wishing to make their purchases prior to next week’s predawn ungodly hour of retail madness.

Duly noted, I say. The compelling idea that opening a store five hours before the actual opening hours posted on what the retail shop advertises is the perfect example of why it is dubbed “Black Friday”.

It’s a rather grim day in American shopping history.

It is almost as if the retail gods are claiming it as a holiday, and everyone needs to beware of the crazy folk who set their alarms for 3 a.m., stand in line for hours, stampede through the front doors when the interior lights go on, and fill their baskets with everything about as big as they can find.

It reminds me of those old game shows where you had 90 seconds to fill your shopping cart with anything you wanted, running through the store, pulling large boxes of whatever into your basket, whether you knew what you were going for or not. It was the frenzy of getting something for free that drove these people to seemingly cockeyed behavior.

Black Friday has a similar quality, only you have to pay for the vast amount of purchases dropping into your cart. Oh, but the sales and the marketing and the red tag specials! It’s a retail outlet’s dream this time of year.

Apparently, it is also an economic indicator of how our country is faring with the recession. I liken it to excess.

The flip side of the coin is nutrition and the current state of affairs with diets, detoxes, trends, and supplements.

Every human being wants to be healthy, eat right, make sure they are informing themselves on the best way to nourish, enlighten, prolong the aging process, be kind to the environment and its inhabitants, and keep their healthcare costs down—especially now with all the confusion surrounding healthcare.

What has gotten a bit wacky is taking just about everything to extremes.

We’re taking the good nutrition of the soul and turning it into the most marketable concept that the world has ever known. Nutrition and food is an ever-evolving source of nourishment. What was healthy for us one day no longer serves its original purpose, and becomes the bane of the holistic and wellness professional community.

If we aren’t getting our fix with a certain food, we try to condense it into pill form and overload our systems in a manner that throws quality food right out the window. Supplements are necessary for many people. Taking them in excess is not.

Filling our baskets at health food stores with the trendiest foods, the latest weight loss fruit, bottles of organic pills that will change the course of our life, more kale than we can possibly eat in one week—this might fall into the fight-or-flight category.

Good nutrition is not a game of chance.

It is a persistent and consistent measure of how your body adapts to changes with your age, the environmental pollutants placed on food sources, and any chronic conditions left uncared for over the years.

Psychologically, when the weather gets colder, we tend to reach for the foods that provide comfort and satiety. This is normal behavior, especially living in northern climates. Sunnier beach climates prefer lighter indigenous fruits, vegetables, and protein sources that satisfy the gut without compromising surrounding nature. However, many Americans have a strong need to acquire as much as possible in both their stomachs and their refrigerators, simply because it offers security.

The tendency to jump on the bandwagon of what everyone else is eating and buying and losing weight on, is a surefire road to excess and not paying attention to your own body and its needs.

Black Friday and good nutrition have more in common than we might realize.

They are both a constant in our lives. They both occur around the holidays when planning and excitement are at an all-time high. Each one offers up a chance to be mindful and reasonable and sane. Maybe they are mutually exclusive, but you can’t run through stores next Friday without being powered up on some strong coffee and carbo-loading from the previous night.

Good luck out there.

Remember not to knock people over in your quest for that latest anti-aging cream at half the price, or waiting impatiently for the wellness person to restock the shelves of the perfect boxed cleanse formula post-Thanksgiving.

Breathe…

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Flickr.}

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