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Comfort food and books for comfort

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Christina Stock Photo A tradition in Germany: "Häppchen," which means little bites in English. A variety of these "Häppchen" get served between 9 p.m. and midnight on New Year's Eve.

New Year’s traditions and how to keep resolutions in the new year

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

It is hard to believe how fast this year flew by. When you are a kid, a year, a month, even a day seems to last forever, especially if you had a fun family vacation planned. Adults however, always complain to have no time, or say, “Once I’m retired, I will do everything I wanted to.” Some dream of traveling, others plan to write a book, do research into the family tree, lose those pounds or become a better person.

Who knows how much time we have left? So, instead of dreaming about the future, how about making plans and adding it to this year’s New Year’s resolution?

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We all read each year the statistics in multiple magazines and newspapers: Chances are slim to keep New Year’s resolutions as far as even February.

According to the American Psychological Association, there are some tips and tricks to outwit oneself.

First of all, start with a small, attainable goal and find friends or a coworker with the same goal or as a “cheerleader.”

Then, don’t do everything at once. If you want to write your memoirs, you don’t need to start at the beginning. It is easier to start writing down flashes of memory that you can later put into a timeline or context. If you want to lose only a couple of pounds, replace one of your meals with something healthy you like, like a favorite fruit or yogurt. Instead of purchasing that gym membership, start walking. Park your car as far as you can and get those extra steps in.

However, if it is something serious you want to achieve, like wanting to lose a considerable amount of weight or to stop smoking or drinking, go to a professional. Your family doctor will be able to guide you and may even have information about groups you can join. Especially if you are thinking about one of those new diets, check with your doctor first.

If you want to start the year with improving yourself, check out the book by Andrew Garrison and Sally Severino, “Being Image Strategy.” It won this year’s New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the self-help category. While you may get a retro-feeling of the 1970s with some of the words used, it actually is an excellent guide into one’s ego. It is a step-by-step walk to locate what holds you back and what to do about it. I especially like chapter 4 where the author talks about forgiving and that carrying a grudge, trying to heal from life’s scars is the biggest stress on one’s life. More information is available at NMbookcoop.com and online at the usual book stores as an ebook or in hardcover.

Before New Year’s resolutions, there is New Year. Make it a healthy and happy one. There is nothing worse than beginning the new year with a hangover. Easy solution? Don’t drink so much. Yes, yes, I know … easier said than done when you are at a party and young. However, if you are in charge of a party, there are several things you can do:

Have plenty of soft drinks and water available.

Have the mandatory bowl for the car keys, so you can make sure nobody drives drunk.

Serve substantial foods throughout the evening, not just chips and crackers.

In Europe, the French, Spanish and Nordic countries serve cold cuts with sliced bread throughout the party.

Germany and the Nordic countries — who have those potent hard liquor brandies — serve high protein food with bread, such as pickled fish and gherkins. The vinegar in those soothes the stomach and straightens out its ph level.

In last week’s Vision edition, we featured the Camarón con Salsa Rosa, a shrimp salad. Instead of having it as an appetizer, you can serve it as a topper on sliced bread.

If you like to splurge, serve as a topper sliced cooked eggs on mayonnaise topped with caviar. Those who prefer heartier food can top their bread with mustard, liverwurst and sliced gherkins. Another favorite that has everything to prevent or soothe a hangover is smoked salmon as a topping or by itself — Finland, Sweden and Denmark are known for their different fish dishes and serve those often at breakfast, with or without hangovers.

Lastly, drink lots of water and stick to drinks with a low-alcohol content.

Have a safe and fun New Year 2020.