A Birthday without Cake?!?

I had a blast last weekend going out to celebrate a fellow dietitian and friend for her birthday!  We went around Des Moines and had people and things take pictures with this adorable picture of her. Today is her birthday and we are posting pictures on Facebook, Twitter (and blogs) as well as texting her. What a great calorie-free way to celebrate!

We all associate food with events. Birthdays mean cake (heck any celebration means cake), Thanksgiving means huge meal and pie, Christmas screams cookies and candy and hot chocolate, and prime rib and......the list goes on and on. Since we associate food with events, we can also associate happiness with food. Is this a good thing?  I would say yes, sometimes. I always talk with clients about the "feeling" they have when eating certain foods to really associate with emotions on why they are eating a certain food. When I was younger, I was obsessed with my parents homemade pizza. When they would make homemade pizza, that meant we could eat on T.V. trays AND watch T.V. while we ate. Happy Happy Joy Joy!  It was such a great feeling!  Now, I associate pizza with happy feelings and thoughts. So, when I am a little down, what do I crave?  Pizza!  (Unfortunately, my parents do not live close enough for delivery).

Now I am not saying you should not have cake on your birthday or pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but why not think of non-food ways to make an event happy?  With new ideas and traditions, you can create that same happy and positive emotion without adding calories. Try having a "cake" made out of the persons favorite things, or for every Thanksgiving donate the pumpkin pie ingredients to a local shelter. Not only will you feel great about not consuming extra calories, but you and your family will appreciate the good feeling from doing something a little bit different.