As the Christmas holiday quickly approaches – in less than TWO weeks!! – you may or may not be getting anxious or at least considering how you will go about eating traditional holiday fare this year. If this is your first year through the holidays as Paleo you may be feeling encouraged that you will not falter and you have a lot of motivation to keep at it because you have so recently seen the great effects and benefits the diet can offer your body, health, and mind. If you are a Paleo veteran you may be feeling solid in your Paleo knowledge and have already made plans and know exactly how and what you will do to avoid certain food traps…in either camp, however; you may feel as if you’ll just throw caution to the wind and enjoy whatever you’d like, after all, it’s a special time of year! While I certainly cannot make your decision for you as each individual is different and our bodies each require a unique balance of what we can tolerate along with the nutrients we need, I hope to encourage you at least to consider your options and to help you have some peace (and hopefully not a tummyache!) after the holidays are all said and done.
1 – So first thing’s first as I mentioned above to remember why you embarked on a paleo lifestyle in the first place and what good it has done for you thus far. Think back to how your health was before you began and remember how you felt. Use these memories to fuel your desire to eat as Paleo as possible through the holidays and avoid the junk!
2- Try to offer to host a gathering for your family and friends. Granted, with this option you may have to have some cooking skills or at least some forethought and planning. You can always order some meals to help supplement your own recipes! With this option you have the ability to control most of what will be served and if you are having guests bring a dish you can tell them what items are still needed in addition to what you are serving. You can make it easy for guests to bring paleo additions by suggesting fruit or vegetable dishes that are easy to prepare and don’t require many special paleo baking supplies. If you cannot be the one hosting, take a dish or two that you know non-paleo-ers will still love and allow you to fill up on in case there isn’t much served that you feel comfortable eating.
3- Don’t let yourself get hungry before you go! Okay, so this may sound slightly rude, but it’s not, I promise. Fill up with nutritious food ahead of time so you aren’t famished when you arrive. This will help you resist any temptations that may arise if you listen to your body and fill up on a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates ahead of time.
4 – Eat what you can. Chances are there will be SOMETHING you can eat. Stick to meat options that aren’t soaked in sauces. You may have to give a little because they most likely won’t be grass-fed or free range but this is likely quite a bit less of a threat than eating the processed enriched wheat flours and refined sugars that can be in many of the casseroles with hidden ingredients.
5- Be smart about beverages! I understand that water can be a bit boring at an event with an impressive array of ciders, eggnog, and other alcoholic drinks. You know what your body can handle but you can choose to stick to the non-alcoholic cider without added sugar or have some sparkling water with lime or another paleo “mocktail” and save yourself quite a few empty calories.
6- Lastly, stay active through the holidays and your visits with family and friends. If the weather permits, suggest going on a nice walk after the meal, take the dogs outside to play with to expend some energy, play a game like charades to get everyone moving, and if all that fails, offer to help clean up and do the dishes! Don’t get lazy. Be sure to schedule some time to work out and keep your body craving the good food you’ve grown to love and enjoy!
All this said, it’s the holidays and honestly, a lot of us deal with stress and anxiety for many different reasons. That alone should motivate us not to put junk into our bodies that will just make us feel worse, more run down, and throw our hormones out of whack. You can always call upon a paleo accountability buddy you can text encouragement and support to at an event where you’re struggling. That’s what friends are for and after all, it’s a special time of year, you know! 😉