People “Go Paleo” for a wide number of reasons. You might be handling a list of food allergies, an auto-immune condition, or a delicate digestive system. You may have found that paleo helps manage other health problems you’re tackling or just that you started to feel great after cutting breads and sugars from your life. Whatever the reason, chances are that you’ll be facing one heck of a crucible actually sticking to the paleo mandate this holiday season. Especially with platters of cookies and overly concerned relatives around every corner.
How do you pass on the traditional baked mac’n’cheese or the pan of stuffing when it goes around the table? How do you turn down the special homemade treats from family, friends, and coworkers? Most importantly, how do you get your vital nutrients when every food-laden table is packed with everything you could possibly put on the paleo “no” list?
Trust us, we know what to do.
1 Focus on the Roast and Veggies
For those of the paleo diet, holidays are actually a pretty great mix of food options. The roast, the centerpiece of every holiday dinner, is usually totally paleo and delicious. Steamed veggies, raw dip trays, and fresh fruit are all on your “yes” list. It’s just the carb-loaded sides and desserts (Okay, everyone else’s favorites) that are an issue.
Focus on the fresh natural foods that make up the staples of the feast and you’ll at least find enough calories and nutrients to make it through the evening family chats.
2 Offer to Cook Breakfast
Breakfast is where a paleo chef really shines on the holidays because there’s so much you can do with eggs and breakfast meats. Make an omelet with meats that your family will love. Not only will it be a good time, it will also show that you are “on the team” when it comes to family food. You’re not sitting out, you just don’t eat breads or dairy anymore and that’s OK. Take your turn in the kitchen and really wow your family with your ability to create delicious non-processed breakfast platters.
3 Assist with the Feast to Influence the Ingredients
When it comes time to cook the feast, offer to help in the kitchen. You can make little suggestions like using coconut oil instead of canola to ensure that those dishes you can eat are made in the healthiest possible way. And, of course, there’s always the roast. When it comes to eating great haunches of meat, holiday roasts are pretty paleo-amazing.
4 Make an Amazing Raw Dip Tray
As for the afternoon holiday noshing, be sure to lay out a raw veggie tray with one or more powerful paleo dips. Most people don’t realize that there are some amazing paleo options for dips (because most dips are dairy- or bean-based). Enlighten your family to the great flavorful potential of paleo raw dips and give yourself something tasty to snack on while everyone else grazes through cookies and pretzels.
5 Pack Immune-Boosting Vitamins and Mineral Supplements
Going paleo means getting your micro-and macro-nutrients from more natural sources than most pantries can provide for. You can probably expect that your holiday-cooking family won’t have the same mix of vegetables and proteins that you keep at home, so supplement while you’re away. It’s easy to pack a bag of Vitamin C, Omega 3, Turmeric, Colloidal Silver, and Probiotics before you travel to your hosting family’s house. These minerals will keep you healthy even when you’re browsing the salad bar for much of the holiday season with family.
6 Explain It Like a Food Allergy
If a well-meaning (or not so nice) relative insists on not understanding Paleo, the best approach is to use the food allergy angle. Even if you don’t have a specific allergy, you can (quite rightly!) explain that refined flour makes you feel poorly or that you – personally – can’t have too much sugar. You can express that you’re so happy to see everyone else enjoying the pies and cookies, but this is a your-stomach thing. Explain that high sugar is too acidic and unnatural oils give you indigestion. Family members over 30 will nod along and those who can’t handle the word “diet” will often back off. After all, they wouldn’t push almond cookies on someone with a nut allergy.
7 Mix Paleo Cocktails
Finally, make a splash in the evening with paleo mixers. Of course, many paleo adherents have also given up alcohol as part of the gut health initiative which means getting creative. Cater to your fellow non-alcoholic adults (and teens who like to feel included) by mixing some delicious drinks using natural fruit and vegetable juices instead of the usual syrupy mixers. Make drinks that pack a punch without a kick.
Ready to rock the paleo holidays? Contact us for more insights or to tell us your healthy holiday hacks.