Each day is Valentine’s day

Dear readers, on February 14th, St. Valentine’s day, many are exchanging gifts and greeting cards with their partners and you can almost feel the festive-like atmosphere, mostly in shops, malls and restaurants.

Valentine's or not..

Valentine’s or not..

It’s an engineered occasion, designed and advertised solely for commercial purposes  (what’s called a  ‘hallmark holiday’) – to make us feel we actually want to celebrate this strange day and to make us, above all, collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars on greeting cards and associated gifts.

St. Valentine’s day is by no means a new date in the calendar – indeed it goes back hundreds of years as a romantic occasion – what’s been a vexing recent development is this global commercialization of the holiday, intended to have us buy outrageously expensive cards with stock photos and cheesy messages someone else thought of so we wouldn’t have to.

We are either too busy or too lazy or without a creative bone in our body (but non of us really is) to actually come up with something ourselves – we’d rather go out and pay a steep price for a memorable quote of some long-dead person.

If St. Valentine’s day is a hallmark of anything it is that of consumerism – a symbol of today’s consumer oriented society: we buy for the sake of buying because we are told to and we rationalize rip offs in most irrational ways, especially when emotions kick in, programmed as they might be by skilled advertisers, on such days as St. Valentine’s day – and suddenly, a 5 dollar greeting card seems like a good price!? (Just remember a Pulp Fiction conversation between Vincent Vega and Mrs Mia Vallace about a 5 dollar milk shake)

It is obvious by now that I am not a particular fan of this holiday – and I implore you too to drop it and forget about it for good. Love, if you can at all define it, should be celebrated every day and expressed without any particular reason other than love itself – now I am beginning to sound as cheesy as those cards..

Actually my message is one of health, as always. As cocktail party medicine’s principles would have me say: maintain a balanced and healthy diet on any day, even on days as weird as St. Valentine’s day.

If you drink, do so in moderation and don’t drive.
Don’t overeat but do not put too many restrictions on yourself or your will power will buckle and fail you.
Count your calories but do not expect miracles – many diets that promise super fast but safe weight loss are mostly fads, and you should always aim for a gradual loss of kilograms (2-4 per month) in a format that suits you best without any extreme food deprivations because that’s the only healthy and safe way to go about it.

And finally, it is all in the mind so if St. Valentine’s day brings up genuinely positive emotions then go for it – feeling good and happy will surely result in better health but if you do it just because you think you should then give yourself a break and surprise your lover with an unprovoked gift on some other day, least expected.

Whatever you do, have fun.

Yours in health,

Dr. Mo