Exercise and Eating Disorders

 It’s not always easy being an eating disorder professional and an athlete.  As I started thinking about writing a blog about my half marathon training (coming soon!) I had the thought that it’s a bummer I have to keep that part of myself somewhat hidden at work. The patients I work with are very sick and compulsive exercise is a common struggle for them, so personal exercise talk is pretty taboo, and understandably so.  When my patients ask what I do on the weekends I tend to play things down.  I say I went for a short hike when in reality I climbed a 14er.  A training run becomes a walk in the park.  A bike ride up Vail Pass a casual cruiser ride.  It’s not that I like lying, it’s pretty awkward actually, but it doesn’t seem appropriate to delve into my athletic adventures.  Exercise and eating disorders is a complicated subject.  While I fully believe my exercise is healthy, I understand how it would be difficult for patients to understand. But I do it because I love it, not because I am trying to change my body or because I feel like I have to.  I live for the adventure. I fuel myself properly before, during, and after my activities. Heck, the sports nutrition is sometimes the most fun part for me!  And I don’t stress too much if I miss a workout or if it doesn’t go as planned.

 
Why is exercise such a tricky topic with eating disorders?  I think it’s because it’s a healthy thing taken too far.  Sure exercise has health benefits, and it can be a great stress relief, but when it’s compulsive it can actually be detrimental to your physical and mental health.  And when it gets to that point it’s hard to cut back, so sometimes total abstinence is the way to recovery.  There is actually research about running and eating disorders that basically says it’s nearly impossible to recover from an eating disorder if you refuse to stop logging miles.  This all seems quite contrary to what we hear in the media about how most Americans don’t get enough exercise and this lack of activity is causing health problems.  I always have to reality check my eating disorder patients-are you more likely to suffer health problems from lack of exercise or the eating disorder?  I guarantee it’s the eating disorder.
So how do you know if your exercise is a problem?  Ask these questions:
– Is my day ruined if I don’t get in a workout?
– Am I working out because I feel guilty about food I’ve eaten?
– Am I eating enough to fuel my workouts?
– Am I avoiding spending time with friends and family in order to exercise?
– Is my workout routine interfering with my work, school, or other obligations?
A “yes” (or 4) doesn’t mean you have an eating disorder but it might be an indicator that you should further evaluate your exercise habits.  Remember, exercise should be enjoyable! If you’re forcing yourself to run on the treadmill but you hate it, not only are you creating an unhealthy attitude around exercise, but you’re probably not going to stick with it long enough to reap any health benefits.  Remember- balance and moderation are key.  Exercise is great if you are doing it for the right reasons and properly fueling yourself, but it’s also okay to cancel a workout in order to grab dinner with a friend, or because you are tired, sick, or injured. Be kind to your body.

Below is a link to a blog I was quoted in awhile ago about one woman’s recovery from an eating disorder and the role exercise played.  She has some good insight and is doing well with her recovery, but keep in mind this was just one woman’s journey.

http://blisstree.com/look/eating-disorder-recovery-exercise-personal-trainer-227/

Lessons Learned from my Half Marathon Training

I knew when I signed up for a half marathon in January that training during the winter in Denver would be difficult. Cold weather, possible snow, darker days…I didn’t even factor in the holidays. Whoopsy! Perhaps the hardest lesson for me to learn was that training in the morning before work is super beneficial this time of year (and probably year round, I wouldn’t really know). Getting up early is painful for me, even when it’s not dark and cold outside, but I found that evening workouts are much more prone to cancellations- work happy hours, having to stay late at work, holiday engagements, feeling too tired/hungry/unmotivated at the end of the day all tend to get in the way. Plus, I tended to feel better at work on days that I got up early to work out. Another thing I learned is that if you dress appropriately you can run in some pretty cold temps. So no more excuses for cancelling runs when it gets nippy outside (but be realistic, running in sub zero temps is not recommended).

To come up with a list of top training tips I consulted with the best runner I know (who just so happens to be my sister), Kim Dobson (see: Pikes Peak Ascent Female record holder http://www.pikespeakmarathon.org/results.htm) to get her advice on how to have a successful half. The tips mostly apply for other distances as well. Here are our recommendations.

Training Tips:

• Make or use an appropriate training plan to guide your training. Even if you are pretty knowledgeable about what your training should look like it will help you stay on track if you have it pre-planned and written down. If you are a novice a 12 week training program should be sufficient to get you to the finish line, assuming some base cardiovascular fitness.

• In that training schedule include a weekly long run and a tempo run. Remember to build slowly towards the long run depending on what your base fitness is. If you are a newbie, your “long run” might be 5 miles. Tempo runs should be pleasantly challenging, typically just shy of race pace. Use tempo runs to visualize yourself in your upcoming race, fighting through the pain and fatigue.

• Reduce your weekly mileage every 3-4 weeks for one week to allow your body to recover and adapt from training. Think of these as “easy weeks” not off weeks.

• If something hurts while you run, take a day or two off. You might be able to do some low impact cross training like the elliptical or even yoga and core work instead. Listen to your body. Runners tend to have a hard time resting, but think of it this way-it’s either a little rest now or a lot of rest later when you really injure yourself.

• Run a 10K in the middle of your training block for motivation and to see where your running fitness is at. It will also help you adjust to race atmosphere.

• Be a part of your local running community- attend run clubs, run with friends, use social media (Facebook, Strava), read running magazines etc. This will help you stay motivated and make it fun!

• Practice your nutrition strategies during training runs. Experiment with different products until you find the ones that work best for you. For a half marathon distance you will likely need some sort of carbohydrate supplement during your race.

• Invest in the proper recovery tools-I’m talking foam rollers (I recommend Trigger Point), ice packs etc. Make sure to stretch after all runs.

• Taper. Your longest training run should be about 2 weeks before the actual race. You can focus somewhat on shorter, faster runs during this time but the actual week before the race should be pretty low mileage and intensity.

• Consider carb loading. This one could be a blog topic in of itself! Half marathons are kind of on the border of necessitating carb loading, depending on how long you think the race will take you. It could be helpful to focus on a higher carb intake for the 2-3 days before the race. Don’t rely on a giant pasta dinner the night before, it will likely just give you a stomach ache and wont’ really help your performance. Stick with carbs that are familiar to your body.

Race Day Tips:

• Arrive at the race with plenty of time to get ready-warm up, stretch, use the restroom, and get to the start line. (We recommend one hour before the start).

• Also make sure to get up early enough to get in a proper breakfast and digest it. This means you may have to get up pretty early; typically you need about 2 hours pre-race to digest the meal. Some athletes will even get up, eat, then go back to sleep for a bit. Make sure it’s a familiar breakfast; this isn’t the time to try that new breakfast burrito you heard about! It should contain mostly carbohydrate with some protein/fat. My go to is whole wheat toast with peanut butter and honey.

• If it is cool outside, wear warm clothes and stay warm until as close to the race as possible. Be careful not to overdress for the actual race though as over-heating can slow you down. Consider gloves. Cold hands are no fun, and they can also serve as a place to stash your energy gels.

• Wear familiar socks and shoes (ones that you have completed long training runs in).

• Think of the first mile as a warm up and ease into the race. It’s better to start conservative and speed up as you go then to start out too fast and have to slow down…or stop.

• Break the race into thirds or fourths (so 3 or 4 mile increments for a half marathon). At the end of a section, have a general idea of what time you should be at and give yourself a pep talk. Try to push a little harder at the start of a new section.

• Use water stations as “breaks”. This doesn’t mean you stop, it means you slow down just a bit to give your body a brief rest and to properly hydrate. Speed up as you leave the water station.

• Race by feel rather than by the watch. It’s okay to look at your watch a few times during the race, but don’t look at it each mile or half mile, and don’t let the numbers psych you out, especially if you’re racing faster than you thought (that’s good!)

• Focus on passing people the second half of the race. Pick a person ahead of you and slowly work to catch up and pass them.

• Expect that the race is going to hurt, and be ready to stay mentally tough when your body tells you to slow down. One of Kim’s favorite running quotes, by Dr. Stan Beecham (via Greg McMillan in a Running Times magazine), is “You ain’t gonna get out of the race pain-free so you gotta pick the pain — the pain of the race or the pain of regret.” Our bodies are capable of so much more than we know, if we are willing to push ourselves.

• If you find yourself struggling utilize the power of positive thinking. Get a mantra in your head such as “I feel fast, my legs feel strong”. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated to help.

• Don’t underestimate the importance of post-race recovery nutrition. This too could be it’s own blog topic (and maybe it will!) Basically you need mostly carbs with some protein as well; ideally within 30 minutes of finishing your race.

Coffee: Is it Good or Bad for Your Health and Sports Performance (or Just Delicious)?

Ever wonder if your daily cuppa joe is helping or harming you?  Heard that caffeine (such as that in coffee) can improve your sports performance?  Like so many foods and drinks, coffee gets a fair amount of press for its implications in our health.  Most of the press is positive, but some is negative too.  Since it’s such a commonly consumed beverage, and I myself enjoy a cup almost every morning, I decided to do a bit of sleuthing into the topic.  Here’s what I found out.coffee
Good News:
  • Regular coffee consumption may lower your risk of developing: type 2 diabetes (via reducing insulin resistance), gout, Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, liver cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Coffee contains antioxidants which have health benefits and may in part explain the lower risk of some cancers (although this link is not clear).
  • Despite what Cher in the movie “Clueless” would have you believe, there is no truth to the rumor that coffee stunts your growth.
A caution, however, that the amount of coffee used in the studies varied and at least one study used 4-6 cups of regular coffee a day which is more than the average coffee drinker consumes and enough to cause side effects in some people.  The use of decaf vs regular coffee also varied. Decaf coffee was only found to be helpful with some of these conditions.
Bad News:
  • Too much caffeinated coffee can cause jitteriness, rapid heart rate, dizziness, anxiety, and nausea (all temporary).
  • Some studies have found an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and heart disease among coffee drinkers, although more recent studies have not.  However, some people cannot metabolize caffeine as well as others and these people are at an increased risk of heart issues.
  • Caffeine can temporarily raise blood pressure.  If your blood pressure is normal drinking coffee daily shouldn’t affect your blood pressure long term, but be aware of how much you are consuming if you have hypertension or pre-hypertension.
  • Large doses may not be good for pregnant women.  It is safe to consume 200mg/day or less, about the amount in 12 oz of drip coffee.
Sports Performance:
Athletes have long known about the ergogenic effects of caffeine.  That’s why you’ll find it added to many sports gels and drinks these days.  The main benefit is that caffeine helps enhance fat burning and since fat is the main fuel used during endurance exercise consuming caffeine can help you better utilize this fuel, resulting in the ability to work out longer and harder.  Caffeine also stimulates the brain, improving alertness and reaction time, delaying fatigue, and even providing a slight analgesic (pain relieving) effect.  Although once believed to be a diuretic, in moderation caffeine should not contribute to enough fluid losses to affect performance.
If you want to try using caffeine for sports performance, try using 3-6 mg of caffeine per kg body weight since that is the range studies found to be beneficial.  Some of these studies used a bolus dose of caffeine before the exercise, others used it spaced out during the exercise, so experiment with what works best for you.  For a 150lb athlete 3-6 mg/kg body weight would be 204-409 mg of caffeine, which is about the amount in 2-3 (6 oz) cups of home brewed coffee.  Note that this is a lot more than the amount found in most gels, which typically range from 25-100 mg per gel.
It’s important to point out that this performance enhancement applies only to endurance exercise.  Caffeine does not seem to benefit strength or speed sports as much.
Bottom Line:
Take these findings with a grain of salt (no, not literally!).  These studies cannot prove cause and effect but only an association. It could be that some other commonality among coffee drinkers results in the lower risk of these diseases.  However, it does appear that the news is mostly good, so don’t feel guilty about enjoying your coffee.  Just make sure you’re not relying on coffee to meet your body’s fluid needs.  Tolerance to coffee and caffeine varies from person to person, so stop before you start feeling jittery.  Although it’s unlikely to cause any health issues, don’t expect it to cure anything either.  It’s not worth choking it down just because you heard it was good for you if you don’t actually enjoy it.
If you are an endurance athlete, I believe that caffeine is definitely worth experimenting with.  Whether you do this by coffee consumption or not is a personal preference.

Food vs Supplements to Fuel Your Workout

 Well, I survived the Tinkerbell Half Marathon!  Survived is probably a bit of a dramatic word choice, it actually went quite well.  Yay PR!  But thinking back there were some things I did right and some things I didn’t.  For instance my legs felt my lack of weekly mileage.  Although I did a good job of getting in a weekly long training run on most weekends I clearly didn’t do enough shorter sports drinkstraining runs during the week.  Lesson learned.  One thing I feel I got right was my nutrition strategy.  I felt well fueled and hydrated before, during, and after the race and didn’t experience any GI discomfort, which is an occasional problem of mine.
So I guess now is the time to admit that I am kind of like a kid in a candy store when I’m in the sports nutrition supplement section of REI.  I’m not sure why exactly, but I love looking at all the new products and flavors and actually get excited about going on long workouts so that I can use them.  Yes, I am a sports nutrition nerd.  Others in the field don’t get so excited by supplements, and prefer to use real food whenever possible.  So which is better?
At the Tinkerbell Half Marathon I opted for a sports nutrition supplement instead of solid food, as is usually the case for me.  In real (aka not when exercising) life I always prefer food over supplements to meet my nutrition needs but when I’m working hard my stomach just can’t handle solid food.  I’ve always believed that there is no real advantage to using a supplement over real food, and that it really comes down to a matter of preference, but others in the sports nutrition field have strong preferences, on both sides of the equation.  And there aren’t a ton of studies out there to tell us which is better.
bananas
However, a recent study (Nieman, Gillitt, Henson et al.) on cyclists pitted a carbohydrate drink (Gatorade in this case) against bananas during a 75km ride.  Researchers found no significant difference in mean power, heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, or blood glucose levels between the two groups.  Study participants did report feeling more full and bloated with the bananas however.  What does this mean for you? Basically that it comes down to a matter of preference. Your sports performance is unlikely to be improved by your carbohydrate delivery source choice.   Your stomach may be affected differently however, so it’s important to test different carbohydrate sources and supplements in order to find out what works best for you.

Is Your Running Routine Killing You?

 Most people think of exercise as a healthy thing.  We often hear about how most Americans don’t get enough exercise, so there is a lot in the media about trying to increase our activity levels.  Of course there are multiple health benefits to exercise.  It’s something that might even lengthen our lifespan if we do it right.  But I’ve read a couple of articles about running lately that kind of freaked me out.  Basically, the articles reported that researchers have found that there is an optimal amount of running for health benefits, and that running above that may actually start doing more damage than good to your body, including increasing artery plaque buildup (from exercise induced oxidative stress) and shortening your lifespan.  That message in of itself didn’t concern me too much.  I’ve always figured that ultra endurance running, although intriguing, can’t actually be good for the human body.  However, the limits the researchers did recommend surprised me.  Apparently, the health benefits diminish if you are running more than 20 miles a week, more than six days a week, or faster than eight miles an hour.  That’s not very extreme.  Most runners I know meet at least one of those criteria.  According to the researchers, the greatest health benefits come if you are running only 5-19 miles per week at a pace of 6-7 miles per hour and spread over 3 or 4 sessions per week, no more than an hour at a time.
So what’s a runner to do? Well first of all don’t freak out.  Logging a lot of miles isn’t guaranteed to shorten your life, the studies just found a correlation. That’s not proof.  And there are things you can do to help combat plaque buildup in your arteries, namely following a healthy diet full of antioxidants.  I would, however, recommend thinking about your priorities and evaluating the cost versus benefit of logging lots of miles based on your personal situation.  For instance, if you are a casual runner who runs mostly for enjoyment or the health benefits it’s probably best to stick within the above recommendations.  However, if you are a competitive runner (on any level) who consistently trains for events you generally need to log more than 20 miles per week.  So if you want to keep competing you might not have much of a choice.  But if you love running and the competition and challenge of it, I’m guessing you find it worth the risk to go above those limits anyway. Just make sure to cut back a bit when not in training mode.  Also be sure to incorporate easy days, easy weeks, and off seasons into your training schedule, as well as cross training.  I’ve said it a million times, but life is about balance. So find yours and run with it!

The Pitfalls of the Quest for Perfect Nutrition

 bagelI once overheard a personal trainer at my gym say to another trainer “I was so bad today, I had a white bagel!”   The other trainer gasped in horror as I cringed to myself and debated whether or not it was worth telling the trainer how silly she sounded.  I don’t like when people refer to themselves as bad because of something they ate. That’s classic eating disorder talk and it’s sad to think that some people genuinely feel so guilty about something they ate.  Sometimes I think things like the trainer said are said as an exaggeration or for effect, but it’s still not a good habit.  Eating a less than healthy food does not make one a bad person! Lying, cheating, stealing…those things make you a bad person, but not your nutrition choices.
The problem I see with striving for perfect nutrition is that it doesn’t exist.  Think about it: two of the most popular ways of eating out there currently, vegetarianism and Paleo, are just about as opposite as you can get.  So how do you even begin to define what “perfect” would look like?  There is no consensus on what the best diet is, even amongst nutrition professionals.  Another problem with trying to attain perfect nutrition is that there is almost always a next step that could be taken.  Eating lean meats isn’t good enough; you have to marinate them to help reduce development of carcinogenic compounds during cooking.  Oh and make sure it’s grass fed and free range. And local.  Maybe it starts with decreasing sweets, then it’s decreasing refined grains, then it’s all grains, then it’s an eating disorder.  Okay, now I’m exaggerating but you know what I mean.  Where do you draw the line?  To me, this means that trying to reach nutrition perfection will result in inevitable failure, and you’ll end up feeling bad about yourself and possibly set yourself up for disordered eating.
So what do you do if health is important to you but you don’t want to feel bad about your nutrition choices?
  • Eliminate food rules.  If you have rules, you’re more likely to want to break them and then feel guilty about it afterwards.
  • Practice mindful eating. Pay attention to what you are eating and enjoy it.
  • Find balance.  A white bagel isn’t going to ruin your health as long as it’s not the main staple.  Set more realistic goals, like choosing whole grains more often than not, that way you don’t have to shame yourself for the occasional appearance of a white bread product.
  • Practice moderation.  Allow yourself less nutrient dense foods, such as dessert, on occasion. Totally denying yourself of it will just make you want it more.
  • Don’t stress about the occasional indulgence. That’s normal and that’s part of what makes life enjoyable.  One brownie will not change the course of your life (okay maybe if it has an engagement ring in it or something!)
  • Reward with food in moderation.  But also try to find other forms of reward, like getting a massage or buying yourself that new gadget you’ve been wanting.
  • Never punish with food (yourself or your kids).  Even taking away dessert can backfire. I once worked with a patient whose parents locked up all the candy in the house when she was a kid. Years later when she got a car she started driving to the store daily to buy her own candy to binge on.
  • Focus on the positive. Instead of thinking about what you “shouldn’t” eat, focus on getting plenty of nutritious foods.  If you’re getting enough of them you just might find you don’t even want the less nutrient dense stuff.
  • Get to the bottom of the bad feeling.  Chances are it’s not really about the food, so if you are feeling really guilty about your food or eating habits or your body enlist the help of a dietitian or even a therapist to explore your relationship with food and your body.

I Swear I’m Not Slacking (Eat Your Vegetables)

 Okay, so I haven’t written a blog in what feels like forever, but it’s not for lack of want. I have ideas in my head, and some even half written down.  However, I am currently working on a 3 hour presentation that I will be giving March 2nd (yes you read correctly: 3 HOURS!) on the dietitian’s role in the treatment of eating disorders and not only is that taking up a lot of my time, but it’s also sucking my will to do anything other than stare at the wall with the little free time I have.  Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s my excuse for lack of blogging. So in the meantime I’m going to copy and paste a blog I wrote a long time ago on vegetables.  If there is one thing the plethora of diets out there can agree on, it’s that vegetables are good for you and you should probably be eating more off them.  In fact, if you ever come across a diet that says not to eat vegetables you should probably run the other way!

Vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet, regardless of your health and fitness goals. Not only are they packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, but they are also low in calories.  The general recommendation is 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day, and most of those should be vegetables not fruit, but most people find it easier to get in fruits than vegetables.  It’s not an easy target to hit (a serving is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw veggies). Most people don’t even come close, and sadly white potatoes are the most frequently eaten vegetable in the U.S.  Which I think barely counts! I find the best way to get in enough vegetables is to add them to foods I already eat. It’s much easier to throw some extra veggies on top of your sandwich then to try to incorporate plain veggies into your diet as snacks or sides (but those are good ideas too), especially if you’re not too keen on the taste. Below are some tips on sneaking extra veggies into your diet.

1. Put bell peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, or mushrooms in your morning omelet.
2. Add bell peppers and onions to hash browns and serve them with a little ketchup or salsa on the side.
3. Make a homemade veggie pizza with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and even broccoli if you’re feeling adventurous.
4. Try a veggie quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla with part skim mozzarella and oven roasted zucchini, bell peppers, and onion.
5. Spice up spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, diced carrots, or sauteed spinach.
6. Load up your sandwiches with veggies-not just lettuce and tomato but spinach, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, bell peppers, and onions.
7. Place a few slices of tomato and spinach on a whole wheat grilled cheese sandwich.
8. Add layers of spinach or eggplant to lasagna.
9. Blend cooked cauliflower or broccoli into mashed potatoes.
10. Add your own extra mixed veggies to store bought soup.
11. Blend a handful of kale or spinach into a fruit smoothie.

If you’re not a huge fan of vegetables, try roasting them in olive oil. I swear it makes any vegetable taste better, plus you’ll get in some healthy fats!

Jumpin’ on the (green smoothie) Bandwagon

 I’ve never been one to go for whatever the fad du jour is.  If it’s trendy, fashionable, or in vogue (en vogue? I don’t even know!) I’m not usually drawn to it, whether that be fashion, food, or life.  I’m not sure if this stems from not wanting to conform, not paying attention, or not caring about what’s “in”, but it’s just the reality of how I am. This is particularly true when it comes to food trends.  Raw foods? No thanks. Paleo? Nah. Gluten-free? Not for me!  I guess I just don’t want to do something because it’s popular.  If I actually like something and believe in it, well that’s another thing.  Case in point: green smoothies.  At first I was skeptical.  Liquid spinach?!  But in reality they’re a great way to get in more veggies, which is a food group most people don’t get enough of.  They are refreshing on a warm day, pretty tasty, and frankly, they are kind of fun. Okay so I’ve only made one so far but I like the concept and I plan on experimenting with them more and hopefully posting more recipes.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, I have joined the green smoothie trend.

Here’s what I did for my first one:

8 oz coconut milk
1-2 handfuls spinach
1/2 cucumber, cubed and preferably frozen
1 green apple, cubed

1/4 avocado

When it Comes to Food, Are There Just Two Kinds of People?

A colleague of mine was recently confronted with the following question by a person she met on a plane.

“Which type of person are you? An “eat to live” or a “live to eat” person?”
This person held the theory that all people fall into one of two categories: those who only eat because they have to in order to survive, but who get no joy out of eating, and those who get great joy out of eating and would do it whether or not their survival depended on it.  Ah, how simplified!  I guess I get where this person is coming from, but I disagree that all people can be shoved into one category or the other based solely on the fact that I believe I can’t wholly be placed on either side. It’s a good thing I didn’t bump into this person because my answer would probably be way more info than they wanted! Case in point: as a sports dietitian I’m very interested in how to properly fuel the body, particularly during exercise.  I guess that would fall into the “eat to live” category since it’s all about science and performance and not enjoyment.  However, I really like food (well good food). My Denver Restaurant Week experience at ChoLon Bistro was amazing! There is a foodie side of me that loves to explore new restaurants and try the occasional indulgent meal.  That would be my “live to eat” side.  Depending on the day or specific situation I might be more on one side than the other, but overall I think I’m pretty much in the middle.  Both sides are there, as equally balanced as can be.  I guess you could say I’m a “live to eat to live” person!
 I’m also not sure it’s healthy to only consider yourself one or the other. Where’s the balance? It’s okay to enjoy eating, but it’s also okay to think about health and fueling your body with productive foods.  Amazing indulgent meals lose their appeal if they’re eaten every night after all.  But eating based off numbers all the time is a rigid way to live.  The human relationship with food is complex.  We use it in all sorts of social situations, from work lunches to weddings.  We use to celebrate, to comfort ourselves, and to connect with others.
So let’s not divide ourselves into two categories.  It’s okay if you fall more on one side than the other, but we are all people, and we all need to eat, and deserve to enjoy it!
Bon appétit!