This started as an Instagram post last year but I realized this might also be a good place to share…

The Monday morning after Thanksgiving last year I woke up and could hardly move.  I was incredibly stiff and just felt terrible overall.  I was scheduled for a hospital shift but had to call in sick.  Luckily it didn’t last long and by the early evening I was feeling a lot better.  (I have so much sympathy for friends who have autoimmune issues that are much worse than my Hashimoto’s and who are in constant pain.)

Now maybe my misery was triggered by sitting on my bum in the car the day before for 12 hours.  Or maybe from a month of snacking on Halloween candy.  Probably a combination and likely other factors as well.  Regardless, I felt some urgency in needing to commit myself to a plan for healthy eating to get through the holidays without making myself sick again.

Enter a stroke of inspiration:  The Twelve Veggies of Christmas.  I actually made the little tree in the picture and put it on the fridge, and would check off the vegetables as the month progressed.  My contingency was that before I indulged in any holiday sweets or treats, I had to first cook a meal that included one of those 12 vegetables as a part of that meal.

The math actually ended up working out well.  With holiday events and concert rehearsals and other evening commitments, we weren’t home for dinner quite as often as typical, so there weren’t as many dinners to prepare.  Twelve was just the right number.  And I think around December 22 we crossed off the last vegetable and I started enjoying the holiday goodies.  And it actually made my meal planning easier and my grocery shopping a little funner as I hunted down the right veggies for each week.

It’s super cheesy, but it worked for me last year so I’m trying it again!  And I’d love any company!  🙂  My list for this year includes beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, rutabaga, turnips, winter squash, artichoke, kale, carrots, swiss chard, and parsnips.  (But I also reserve the right to swap out vegetables based on availability!)  Happy December!

Later this month: how The Chiropractor made “gingerbread” houses out of fresh vegetables with his nieces and nephews–you won’t want to miss that one.  🙂