The holiday season is upon us! It’s the most delicious time of the year, with all the traditional rich foods and sweet treats! Yet, for the many of us who subscribe to a paleo way of eating, the holidays are often fraught with anxiety about when paleo and non-paleo worlds collide!
So, without further ado, I’m bringing you my top survival tips for navigating the holiday parties and family gatherings without falling off the paleo wagon!
Eat at home first
This is my number one strategy for when I’m going to a function where I’m not sure what to expect. Last year, I went to a party where the only thing I could eat was items from the raw veggies platter! To avoid being caught unawares, I make sure I’ve filled my belly sufficiently before I leave home. That way, I’m not hungry when I get there and feel good about politely munching on a few carrot sticks!
Take your own food
To avoid being exposed to foods I can’t tolerate or simple choose not to eat, I volunteer to bring some side dishes or desserts so I can have something good to eat other than salad. Bringing you own food makes it easy to load up your plate with foods you love, whilst sharing something both nutritious and delicious with the other guests at the same time!
Be the host
Hosting a gathering is the only fool proof way to ensure that you have control over the food offered. Yes, it’s more work for you, but your guests aren’t likely to notice that you’re dishes aren’t loaded with grains, dairy or other non-paleo ingredients. People always appreciated a hearty, home cooked meal that is made with love! Indeed, my family always look forward to my healthy, grain-free desserts topped with whipped coconut cream!
Know where you can make allowances
Be aware of which foods are an absolute no-no and which ones you can be a little more lax. If you can handle a little dairy, have that glass of eggnog, but if gluten ties your gut in knots, stay away from the red velvet cake! That way, you can indulge a little bit but won’t wreck your health for days.
Ask yourself “Is it worth is?”
When faced with temptation, remind yourself how good you feel since going paleo, and ask yourself if throwing caution to the wind is really worth it. Remember how bad your health was before your started your wellness journey and how eating those foods will undo you efforts and cause your symptoms to return. For me, the phrase “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” has a very different meaning!
Get an accountability partner
If you find yourself in a stand off with a tray of Christmas cookies, have a person that you can turn to in times of temptation! It could be a colleague, your workout buddy, a trusted friend or family member. Remember, there is safety in numbers!
Don’t be a paleo evangelist
If you love the paleo lifestyle and all the ways it had change your life, it’s tempting to want to share the good news with anyone who will listen. As much as you want to tell grandma that the gluten in her dinner rolls causes leaky gut, a holiday family gathering is probably not the right time or place! However, if someone wants to hear about how you resolved your health issues without drugs, you can strategically share what you’ve been doing to improve your health. Focusing on the positive helps other to be more receptive, while respecting their food choices.
Holiday celebrations frequently revolve around booze. If you have chosen to refrain from alcohol as part of your new paleo lifestyle, have a go-to substitute drink. Drinking something like sparkling water with a few mint leaves or a fruit garnish can be rather festive, and makes handling social drinking situations a little less awkward!
Holiday travel plans
For many of us, the holiday season requires a lot of travel as you visit far away family and friends. Airports and gas stations can limit healthy options and can lead to impulse eating if you are unprepared. Pack paleo-friendly snacks for the journey, such as jerky, nuts, boiled eggs, olives, fresh veggies or fruit. If you’re going on a road trip, take along a cooler crammed with your favorite paleo goodies and eat along the way!
Whether you are new to paleo, or you’ve been eating this way for years, the holidays can make it difficult to keep up your healthy eating habit. However, through some simple forethought and strategizing, staying committed to your paleo lifestyle is possible!