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Dear Abby: Unwanted Holiday Goodies

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Old 12-20-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Dear Abby: Unwanted Holiday Goodies

Saw this on Today's Dear Abby and thought of all of us. What do you think of her advice? What would you do in this situation?

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DEAR ABBY: I live in a small rural town with lots of nice neighbors. During the holidays, I receive a variety of delicious homemade gifts -- jams, cookies, breads and other specialties.
I am careful about my diet and consume no white flour or sugar. This means I must thank the person for the gifts, then figure out what to do with them. I hate throwing them out, and I don't know how to stop the practice. What's the best way to handle this annual dilemma? -- UNSURE IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR UNSURE: If you work, consider bringing the goodies with you and sharing them with your co-workers. Or, donate them to a shelter or senior center where they might be enjoyed and appreciated.

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I'm not so sure about passing around holiday goodies. I've seen so many folks on here complain about goodies sitting around the break room, tempting them. Then again, if you know your co-workers well enough it might work out for the best.

This may not be the best example, but my mom had extra boxes of Kashi brownies, which I brought to work with me and left in the teacher's lounge with a note saying they were for everyone to share. I knew that my co-workers would appreciate them and many of them expressed thanks. I worked in an area with few dining options, so forgetting lunch meant going hungry.

Otherwise I'm not sure I would want to leave cookies and things around if someone is really struggling with eating. It seems very cruel to do that, even if one has the best intentions.

If I receive goodies they tend to wind up in the garbage, even if I bring them home for the family to share. We NEVER were big sweets eaters, so we'll have one or two pieces and eventually wind up tossing whatever sweets were given to us simply because they wind up sitting there for a month with nobody touching them. I don't really feel any qualms about tossing them in the garbage, because I figure that—while tasty—goodies like that are best enjoyed sparingly anyway.

So I enjoy once and move on. It's one of the reason I halve recipes and have smaller cake pans on hand.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:49 PM   #2
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I have a real issue with the idea that people should avoid giving/sharing gifts of sweets/food because others might not control themselves well around the goodies.

I have my own issues with food, and yes, avoiding food gifts is hard for me. But avoiding those foods I have trouble with is my responsibility. It's not the responsibility of people bringing in sweets to consider my own personal issues in avoiding them. In most offices, there are people who can control themselves around sweets and people who can't, just like in every other setting, and it's not everyone's job to ensure that the people who can't control themselves don't get faced with temptation. Temptation is everywhere, food is part of office culture, and we're all responsible for our own consumption. I don't see anything "cruel" about putting a food gift in a space where one or more people might be trying to avoid it.

I do think that if you know someone is avoiding sweets, it's ham-fisted to give them specifically a big ol' plate of cookies. But that's not the same as keeping sweets out of the office so that the subset of people with self-control issues don't indulge.

That said, if you receive a food gift and prefer to throw it away, that's fine (after all, it's a gift, and yours to do what you please with), so long as you thank the giver and don't tell them your plans to do so.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #3
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Put them in the freezer or when you are out and see someone begging for food or work, give them to them. They need to eat, and probably have a family.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:09 PM   #4
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I don't see anything wrong with bringing it in to the office. I work in a pretty large office with over 100 folks and this time of year there is always platters and baskets of sweets and goodies laying around the several breakrooms on this floor. Just because I'm on a restricted eating plan doesn't mean there shouldn't be any sweets around. I totally agree with mandalinn82. My temptations and food hangups are my issue and my responsibility alone. I know a lot of my coworkers appreciate having free goodies laying around; who am I to say it shouldn't be here just because I might have a problem with it? I think it's better than just throwing it out. Of course, I've got a serious issue with throwing out perfectly good food. Growing up poor and with often bare cupboards really makes you appreciate food. If I know I won't be eating it, I'd rather bring it into work. If not work, then see if a church or food pantry will take it. Not all of them will accept homemade foods. I'd also be real hesitant about handing it out to beggars on the street. Again, from personal experience, I've been scoffed at, and even cursed out, by people on the street begging for help when I offered them food instead of money. I was actually chased down the street when I was a teen by a man who asked for a dollar and got angry when I offered to buy him a burger instead. I'm not saying they're all like that, because of course they're all not, but that experience has been seared into my brain.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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I am surrounded by food everywhere I go, it is not up to the rest of the world to monitor my sugar intake. I just thank them and say they look delicious, note I do not say I am going to eat them, If you don't want to take it to the office give them to a shelter or that person with the sign"need food" the ones that get angry and chase you away is because they want money to buy drugs or alcohol.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:37 PM   #6
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I have a wallpaper on my cellphone (that I look at every few seconds because..I'm a dork) that says "Don't give up what you want the most for something you just want right now." And that's a constant reminder for me to not touch the sweet lying around.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:58 PM   #7
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I'm often a big proponent of "what you put in your mouth is your responsibility," since it's very easy to assign blame to others. It just seems counterintuitive for me to pass along unhealthy things while actively trying to promote health and wellness. We are all surrounded, especially at this time of year and I've passed up so many goodies I've lost count. Then again, I must admit I'm just not a sweets person—when I was fat I would have passed on the goodies as well.

I don't see the point in passing along goodies that I KNOW someone else is trying to avoid and they may not quite have the willpower to. If I know they like the sweets and want them it's another story entirely.

If there is someone I know that will enjoy something, I'll give it to them. My fiance loves that stuff so half the time I'm passing along sweets to him and his family because they'll eat them.

I understand it can seem shameful to throw away food, but I only feel that shame when throwing away "real" food, like stuff you would eat for a meal. Then again that mentality led me to eat too much, since I was always told that I should "clean my plate." So despite eating relatively healthy, I was fat.

It's interesting to think about, regardless. Is throwing away sweets the same as throwing away vegetables?
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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I forgot to say that I don't necessarily mind when people bring me treats. I find uses for them, and other people I know aren't on diets.

A neighbor made me sugar cookies so I repackaged them and gave them to friend's children along with some toys. The same went for candy that I was given.
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookinmary View Post
Put them in the freezer or when you are out and see someone begging for food or work, give them to them. They need to eat, and probably have a family.
This.
My mom does mystery shops where she goes out and tests resturaunts on all the things they're supposed to do, and this ends up in free food. Well, recently my mom started giving the food to homeless people she sees at stops along the road, because we don't really need it.
But if you'd have to go out of your way to find a homeless person, like Abby said, donate to a shelter of some sort.
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owlsteazombies View Post
I have a wallpaper on my cellphone (that I look at every few seconds because..I'm a dork) that says "Don't give up what you want the most for something you just want right now." And that's a constant reminder for me to not touch the sweet lying around.
I hope you don't mind but I stole your idea cuz it was so incredible...I just did that to my phone...thank you! I hope it works as well for me as it has for you....
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:33 PM   #11
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Should we be donating sweets though? Why not healthy, nutritious food? I think it's easy to fall into the line of thinking that hungry people should be happy to receive any edibe items we cast off.

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This.
My mom does mystery shops where she goes out and tests resturaunts on all the things they're supposed to do, and this ends up in free food. Well, recently my mom started giving the food to homeless people she sees at stops along the road, because we don't really need it.
But if you'd have to go out of your way to find a homeless person, like Abby said, donate to a shelter of some sort.
In college I volunteered with an organization that "rescued" leftover food from campus events and brought it to shelters. There were some strict stipulations that made it difficult to rescue all the leftover food. Most of the time all we could get were the heroes.

I don't even know if a shelter would take homemade goods, and I'd venture to say that many probably would not.

Unfortunately a few bad apples (no pun intended!) ruin it for everyone with good intentions.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:04 PM   #12
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I think giving away sweets is how people become victims of their environment. I know when I donate canned items and boxed things, all I see in the food warehouse for the needy is junk junk and more junk.

But they won't take fresh vegetables from people, just from stores. But then, around here Trader Joe's, Kroger, Meijer and a few others won't give them away because of liability. But isn't there a good samaritan act?? I just don't get it.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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I don't see the point in passing along goodies that I KNOW someone else is trying to avoid and they may not quite have the willpower to. If I know they like the sweets and want them it's another story entirely.
I draw the line at giving something specifically to person A, if you know person A is avoiding sweets, that they can't eat.

But let's say I work in an office with Person A, B, and C. Person A is avoiding sweets, but Persons B and C aren't, at least that I know of. I don't think it's "cruel" to person A to bring in sweets for the office to share.

That was the point I was trying to make. It's different to give someone something specifically that you know they can't or don't eat...
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:13 PM   #14
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I draw the line at giving something specifically to person A, if you know person A is avoiding sweets, that they can't eat.

But let's say I work in an office with Person A, B, and C. Person A is avoiding sweets, but Persons B and C aren't, at least that I know of. I don't think it's "cruel" to person A to bring in sweets for the office to share.

That was the point I was trying to make. It's different to give someone something specifically that you know they can't or don't eat...
LOL that would be super villain type stuff. Moustache twisting, white kitty cat holding evil.

"I know you are on a diet, so here is a huge basket of Twix, candy corn and reeses cups!! Muwahahahaha!"
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:14 AM   #15
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I take the gift in the spirit it is given and either feed it to my kids and husband (who aren't sensitive to these foods like I am AND can control themselves) or essentially regift it out of the freezer when a function like a bible study or party comes up. It works great and I always smile to remember the kindness of the giver. I love baking for other people, even if I can't eat it myself, anymore.
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