Stop The Turkey Stuffing
It’s that time of year again…
With Halloween behind us, and Thanksgiving only a few short days away; the holidays are officially here again. Known for excessive feasts, family, drinking, gift giving, and over spending — the holidays might actually be the worst time of year for those seeking financial independence.
While some may savor the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the flavors of the holidays, most of are going to cringe at the sight of that bathroom scale and bank statement on January 1st.
This Thursday, much of the United States is going to be stuffing themselves so full of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie that they’ll collapse into a tryptophan induced coma….
This face stuffing behavior continues on Friday and into the weekend with a the gigantic pile of leftovers….between bouts of excessive consumerism of course.
Who could forget Black Friday? It’s the best-worst shopping day of the year…with deals so good, fights break out over the “on sale” plastic fantastic merchandise. It’s the capitalist version of holiday face stuffing.
While I do admire the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday (sharing, family, thankfulness, helping others), I find the modern perversion of the holiday to be completely distasteful.
It’s disgusting when you think about it….one of the richest nations in the world has a holiday where they stuff themselves to excess and then spend mountains of money on junk they don’t need….all the while being obese and mired in debt.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the numbers…
Last year, Thanksgiving weekend spending averaged $299.60 per person….and yet per capita debt levels in the U.S. reached $46,170. Do I even need to mention that more than 1/3 of US adults are now obese? Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture?
Eating more and spending more is not a recipe for happiness.
For The Love Of…Food
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE food, especially delicious food. I write about good food all the time on this blog….but I also eat more than enough without holiday culture telling me I’m supposed to stuff my face and spend way too much.
There has to be a point where a person says, “I’ve had enough! I don’t need to be fatter, and I don’t need to be poorer.”
Well, I’ve reached that point.
I’m NOT going to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal this year. I won’t be stuffing my face with turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Instead, I’m going to do the exact opposite…
I’m going to eat nothing.
The Anti-Thanksgiving Plan
That’s right, I’ve decided to skip Thanksgiving this year.
I’ll be fasting this year. Instead of filling my gullet with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the trimmings, I’ll consume nothing (other than water, or tea) for 24 hours. I won’t going-out shopping on Black Friday either.
Why? I’m doing it for several reasons:
1. A Reminder. A reminder to myself just how good I have it the other 364 days of the year. My life is filled with plenty. Three square meals a day. While some families might sit down to a homemade meal only a handful of times per year, I make a homemade meal from scratch for my family nearly every single day.
2. Practicing Resilience. I’ve gone the entire year without missing a single meal. That’s a luxury some people don’t have and it’s probably made me soft. I want to remind myself of that deprivation, and to deal with it. Resilience takes practice.
3. Anti-consumerism. I want to take a step back from consumer culture. I try not to let culture and social norms define my behavior, but that’s sometimes difficult. I don’t need to waste my wealth and health just because culture says I should this Thursday and Friday. By fasting, and skipping the shopping, I’m protesting the excess and the waste of the holiday.
4. Health. Believe it or not, there’s a considerable amount of medical research that demonstrate intermittent fasting can have positive health effects — such as lowered insulin levels, weight loss, altered metabolic rates and hormone levels. There’s even animal studies that indicate changes in longevity might be possible. While some of these claims may not end up being true, I think it’s safe to say that eating less is a good thing when it comes to my health.
Yes, I’ll probably be really hungry by the end of the day. But, I’ll be a little bit thinner and a little bit wealthier as a result. That’s going to make me feel pretty darn good…far better than I’d feel after eating a third helping of turkey.
Just to be clear — this is only going to be me. I won’t force the kids or Mrs. Tako to skip eating on Thursday. I won’t make a traditional turkey meal, but I will make a sensibly sized meal for them instead.
Not For Everybody
Cultural norms are hard to break, especially where family is involved. I get that.
I realize my Anti-Thanksgiving plan isn’t going to be the next big holiday fad. Americans love to eat waaay too much for something like that to happen. Only financially independent weirdo’s (like me) do this kind of stuff!
My only ask is that, as you sit down and eat your Thanksgiving dinner (or go out for Black Friday shopping), please think about this post.
Think about your financial status, your health, and whether you actually need all this excess.
Could culture be holding you back from achieving Financial Independence? Could you be happy with less?
Just think about it.
[Image Credit: Flickr1, Flickr2, Flickr3, Flickr4]
26 thoughts on “Stop The Turkey Stuffing”
I heard about this fasting plan of Mr. Tako this evening. My response: “Oh really? Interesting… Well, I might eat popcorn that night though… 😉 ” Cruel, he says. I say, no no, just giving you a heads-up to prepare for what’s to come…
Hehe, a fast isn’t as meaningful without someone enjoying popcorn in front of you 🙂
She certainly does make life…meaningful. 🙂
Maybe it’s because I’ve never engaged in Black Friday, but I actually see Thanksgiving as one of the few honest holidays. We typically get a free turkey from the local grocery store by grouping our expenditures for the month. Then it’s all about spending time with the family for better or worse. Stuffing and green bean casserole are actually pretty cheap when you think about it. Now the consumerism of Christmas is another beast altogether.
That’s cool you can get a free turkey, but there’s more to consumption than just the price. I was trying to draw parallels between overspending and overeating.
As far as Christmas vs. Thanksgiving, I see the two as linked Holidays of Consumption. A tag-team. What exactly are people buying on Black Friday? Christmas gifts!
I love this line – “Eating more and spending more is not a recipe for happiness.” I guess it’s fine (the eating part) for one day, but we eat and spend WAY too much throughout the year. This is a great reminder about being mindful and thinking about what we have. We are not having a traditional Thanksgiving this year either. We’ll be at the beach and we’ll cook something on the grill – not a huge feast, but what we want & need. We’ll watch the sunset and give thanks in our own way, as you will give thanks in your way.
That Thanksgiving plan actually sounds pretty awesome Vicki!
Thank you! A lot of bloggers have been saying that Thanksgiving is different in that it’s about togetherness–but in reality I think it encourages over spending and consumer pressure. I love getting together and having a hearty meal with my family for Thanksgiving, but the spirit of the holiday has been perverted. I find it extra disturbing that Black Friday basically negates all of the thankfulness and goodwill we tried to create. Oy.
Absolutely agree Mrs. PP! The original spirit of the holiday was a beautiful thing, now it’s just about (over) consumption.
Oh man, skipping out on the plastic fantastic and all the turkey! We are on our way back from Costa Rica right now, so no traditional dinner for us either. But we will spend time with family 🙂
Good luck with the fasting!
Sometimes it just feels good to not eat. Try it sometime, you might not think its so bad.
So rad that you are willing to challenge the status quo in every area of your life, including sacred Holidays. A over stuffed meal is not going to make you happier, wealthier or fit in your life over-all.
We love having the family over but keep it very simple. No turkey, and basic vegetarian sides. I cook everything from scratch, including bread that makes the stuffing. I saw at PCC the other day gourmet stuffing mix for $7.99. I was thinking are you kidding me? Fortunately, I have two teenagers and a husband that is a bike hobbyist, so they will eat up most of the leftovers quick.
The thing I love about this time of year is shopping the loss-leader items that stores carry: Pounds of pasta for 50c each, pasta sauce, canned pumpkin, baking supplies. I bought a years worth of pasta at that price. I am very disciplined though, I work the stops in with my other errands and only buy the items needed. The grocery store can be an FI’s downfall if you don’t have a plan.
We avoid Black Friday like the plague. There is nothing we need to warrant dealing with that nonsense.
Yep, we avoid it like the plague too! Mrs. Tako and Tako Jr. #1 took the bus to the library today, while I stayed home with Tako Jr. #2.
Love the spirit of the post and your ambition. The one way we as a family are working on trying to combat consumerism over this holiday in particular is to focus on GIVING in the spirit of gratitude. My child is 3 but we made sure to take her to the market and had her help us pick out food to make care packages for some less fortunate families. Don’t know if she fully gets it but I want her to grow up understanding that gratitude isn’t just a feeling but should result in an action as well. Hopefully doing things like this will keep us from getting caught up in the all the excess. Thanks for the reminder.
That’s great! Keep up the giving!
Wow that’s a really interesting concept. I have never considered fasting on Thanksgiving but I could definitely see this going underground and having some momentum. Just like there is now a Buy Nothing Day the day after Thanksgiving I could see a movement.
Thanks for sharing and I hope Mrs. Tako enjoys her popcorn 🙂
She didn’t make popcorn, but she did torture me by deciding to make a delicious meal for the evening.
You rock Mr. Tako!
I am fasting too- I’m on day 4 of a juice fast (nothing but clear soups, herbal tea and fruit or vegetable juice) and will need to end it on Saturday on day 6 as I need to make a business trip to Vietnam and do some dining. I wanted to do 40 days of juice fasting- that will need to wait until Q1 of next year due to timing concerns. I’ve fasted previously over Christmas and New Years- loved it big time! It’s great to feel sharp, alert, in great shape and mindful during the holidays. I’m an American living in Thailand- we are almost FI but I’m still working full time including on Thanksgiving (now, today) as it’s not a holiday here. My dinner will be two cups of strained apple juice.
Life is good. Glad to be fasting with you.
Thanks Mike. I’ve never tried a juice fast, but it sounds cool!
Where in Thailand?
Didn’t know you were a vegetarian, but that’s great!
I usually don’t buy anything on black Friday but this year I managed to pack my jewelry and leave it on my dresser, so I got earrings. But there was no waiting for the doors to open, crowds etc. It was an every day errand.
Thanksgiving dinner this year was more like a ‘regular’ meal…1 starch, 1 veg, 1 meat. Turkey with gravy, green beans, homemade mac n cheese, oh and corn bread (2 starches). Some years my dad has made a lot more trying to make favorites for each of us. I liked the focused menu.
Living out of state (the job made me an offer I couldn’t refuse), while my sister and brother live ~1 hour from my dad makes it about family time for me. I had dinner with friends last night and will see others today. The long weekend and time for visiting makes it easier to do the drive, vs a 2 day weekend. We will see what the traffic is like on Sunday for the trip back.
Thanks for the new perspective.
Good for you Mr. Tako. Hope you were not too hungry.
Nope, not at all!
I’m a HUGE fan of intermittent fasting. I try to practice it a few days every week. Our bodies are meant for this. For millions of years, we evolved into hunter/gatherers and feasting and fasting was the norm. The whole “3 meals a day” concept came about from farming practices, that only started 10,000 years ago. This is because they knew they had to work in the field 12 hours a day, every day. Where a hunter/gatherer society would only work on average about 15 hours a week. It is funny how so many things evolved from agricultural… eating habits, workout habits (i.e. long, slow instead of short bursts), money habits, hording, etc…
Also, your statistic on 1/3 of Americans being obese, would jump to about 2/3rds if you include just being overweight. Interesting, how about 2/3rds of Americans are also unhappy. Coincidence?
That’s hardcore Tako. I have TWO Thanksgiving meals scheduled! Have to eat with the family and then visit the girlfriend and her son. She can’t come to the other meal because she has to cook a special meal for her Celiac son who can’t eat most of what will be served. I’m going to try to eat light!