I know it may seem hard to believe but I cry regularly during television commercials. And, I’m not embarrassed about it either. So, this past holiday season when Hallmark introduced a marketing slogan that resonated deeply with me I naturally shed some tears. “Life is a Special Occasion”. It got me thinking about food.Yup, food, because I’m a foodie and that’s where it always naturally goes. I’ve come to realize that I regularly associate happiness with food, and that a lot of my favorite social interactions revolve around eating.

Now lets be clear: there is  nothing wrong with social eating. It is not an entirely unhealthy association, as long as it has boundaries. In fact, our primal nature as human beings is to consume in communication – both with each other and the environment. We are meant to prepare food with love and care. Food is fuel for our bodies, and how we fuel them is incredibly important to our health, our aesthetics and our performance. But it is so much more than fuel. Food is something that spans across all cultures,connecting farmers to families and creating meaningful relationships. So yes, food is social and eating is and should be a social event. But to what end?

How many times have you made excuses to yourself about something you’ve eaten, or about eating in complete excess because it was a special occasion? How awful did you feel after these particularly indulgent social eating experiences? My guess is you felt down right nasty.

There was a time when I would turn down social invitations because of food. I was afraid that being in those environments would be tempting and torturous, either leading to my dietary demise or inevitable deprivation. Now lets stop and think about how ridiculous that was. I avoided fun, social interactions because of food?! Life is short and the opportunity to socialize with the people who enrich our lives should not be missed because of fear of social eating. Now that I have evolved from this I face a equally disturbing problem. How do I commune and converse more than I stuff my face and leave the party with my abs in tact?

If Hallmark is correct (which I believe they are) and ‘life is a special occasion’ where do we draw the line? Because if we don’t we end up in a body composition battle where we indulge, feel guilt, detox and repeat. This relationship needs to be healed and nurtured but in the mean time here are a few strategies I have learned to help me enjoy social consumption without the guilt

1. Slow down. Easy – don’t talk with your mouth full; ewww don’t be that guy.

2. Pay attention to how food tastes. Every single bite should taste incredible.

3. Designate a friend to keep you in check. “Yo Erika put the cookie down”.

4. Be prepared. Plan your meals accordingly and try to stick to your macros.

5. Let go of the guilt. Remember the event for the social interaction not your sore tummy.

Life is a special occasion. Lets celebrate. Surprise date dinner with the Ape. Super moist deicious flavor combo!

Apple Feta Turkey Burger: Makes 10 sliders


1 lb extra lean ground turkey

1/4 cup vidalia onion

1/2 cup apple

2 tbsp sugar free BBQ sauce

2 tbsp sugar free pancake syrup

1oz fat free feta cheese

1/4 tsp garlic powder, onion powder and cinnamon

*Turkey bacon, onion and mushroom topper optional although encouraged.


Combine all ingredients. Using a 1/4 cup section off meat mixture and form into small burgers. Place on a grease cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 435F.

Macros: cal – 100 fat:5g – carb:2g – protein:12g

With love from the Trench kitchen,