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Wednesday, February 11, 2004  

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posted by Julie |

Valentine's Planning
Strategies for kicking the candy habit

Believe it or not, the point of Valentine's Day is not to send your sweetie into insulin shock. It is not necessary to present blood sugar spiking, non-nutritive, trans-fat-laced cancer bombs as a token of your tender feelings. You always have that option, but it's not actually the point of the celebration. Really.

You don't have to give these things, and you don't have to get them. If you're working to avoid added sugar in your diet, and Valentines Day has you running scared, know that you have options.

First, Valentine's Day is traditionally a day to celebrate romantic love. We've stretched the celebration to include all forms of love, romantic, platonic, brotherly, sisterly, and other-worldish. I'm concerned mainly about you. The Valentine's tokens you give and the ones you get.

A Valentine's token can be candy, but candy is a pretty recent tradition in this constantly evolving and ancient celebration. Other tokens are more traditional. Handmade cards, small handmade gifts, photos or drawings, little mementos, poems, stones, pressed leaves. Valentine tokens used to be things you gave your sweetheart to remember you and your love by. It might be the words or sheet music of your favorite song, a photo from a special moment you shared. Tokens are intended to be romantic, personal, and carried by the person you love, kept close to the body or the heart. Yeah, this sort of gift takes a little bit more time and energy to produce. But that's not such a bad thing, is it? Focusing on the folks you love?

Let it be known now that candy isn't going to work for you this year. Give people hints. You want something handmade. You want socks. You'd like underwear this year. Or maybe you'd like a massage. How about a break from your regular chores for a day? Make up an idea list to help your valentines, so you don't send them into panic mode by declaring your sugar-free status.

So it's already raining candy hearts in your house or office? Decide now that you don't need them. You have been eating them all your life, no doubt, and know exactly how they taste. I can argue that I have had more than my share of them in my lifetime. Not eating them this year is not any form of deprivation for me, because I've already had all that I could ever need. Not eating them does not make me a scrooge. I can say with absolute confidence that I have fully lived the entire conversation heart experience, and now I'm moving on to other things.

Chocolate jonesing? More chocolate availability can make your chocolate addiction feel worse now than usual. Give somebody else the job of grocery shopping and drugstore visiting during this time when the shelves are buldging with the stuff. If you can avoid being in the path of the extra chocolate this year, you'll help yourself keep the monster at bay. Some people do well enjoying just one bite of chocolate to satisfy the craving. But you know if you're not one of those people, and instead need to keep the chocolate out of your line of sight to help you stay in control, do it.

Love is the point of the celebration. What is loving for you would naturally support your good health and well-being. Think along those lines, and you're likely to have a Happy Valentine's Day, indeedy.

Sugar-free Valentines from
Valentine Crafts for Kids,

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posted by Julie |
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