Food and Drink 

Good grief, it’s gluttony!


Pushing yourself back from the dining table with a groan after dinner and heading to the nearest soft place that will accommodate you horizontally?

If misery loves company, rest assured that you’re not the only one suffering from the cumulative effect of holiday overindulgence, that some would call, well, gluttony.

One of the original deadly sins as proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church, gluttony’s six brothers — pride, envy, anger, lust, avarice (or greed) and sloth — also rear their devilish heads this time of year.

Angry as we line up for Boxing Day sales, greedily buying yet more stuff — cheap — that didn’t appear under the tree. Envying those who got all of their loot. Lusting after various configurations of bootie at festive parties. Lounging around slothfully after stuffing ourselves with whatever was handy in miserable compensation for being spurned and recovering from said party… you get the picture.

But it’s gluttony we universally suffer from in this indulgent neck of the woods, and the one collective “sin” — more like the state of the nation — we pledge to reverse through diet! exercise! weight loss! as the holidays wind down and the New Year rings in.

By comparison, when’s the last time you heard pals resolving to be less angry or more humble in the coming year?

The problem is, in our constructed free-market universe that not only tolerates but encourages eternally insatiable appetites, what do we consider gluttonous?

In medieval times, theologian Thomas Aquinas described gluttony as “not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire... leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists.”

Aside from the moral virtue part, that pretty much covers the holidays, and beyond. When I asked one friend if she was suffering the consequences of gluttony over the holidays, she wittily replied, no. She and her husband suffer from it all year.

But you’d never know, for they both exercise — exorcise? — away the consequences.

This is normal. While some cultures used to celebrate, even revere overeating as a hallmark of status and power, we carefully corset, if not completely closet by whatever means necessary, any evidence of same.

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