Having it all at Christmas…….An approach to the Silly Season and balancing a healthy lifestyle.
Eeek…It’s December this week! Here’s my latest blog with my top 10 tips on managing the silly season and staying true to your body.
Today I considered that for some people Christmas is going to be a little daunting. Since last Christmas there might be a new baby in the family, a diagnosis of some sort, an intolerance or allergy to food, a new lifestyle approach to healing or even a diet that some people are new to. For whatever reason many of us are looking at Christmas lurking around the corner and wondering how are we going to negotiate it and still enjoy the season without being a total Grinch!
This information contains a few of the Christmas practicalities that I uphold in my house and I hope that by sharing them you may get some ideas and even post/comment back about your Christmas action plan. Post your ideas on Facebook or on my website so we can all benefit from the wisdom of others. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please signup to my newsletter to receive an exclusive Christmas recipe for healthy chocolate mousse.
I’m so excited about the season and the challenges that it sometimes brings. Christmas is usually the time of excessive eating and having a complete disregard for the diet or lifestyle you’ve upheld so faithfully all year. For many it’s not just one day of temptation but weeks of parties and functions followed by a week long affair of eating leftovers. For others it’s provokes feelings of exclusion.
For many years I turned a blind eye and pretended that I was impervious to the side effects of too much good cheer. Like many others I tried to suppress the guilt and cheat the calorie count. I increased the workout in the gym to make up for my weakness for fruit cake and candy canes. I know how hard this all is because I have been there too. With a few of my suggestions in place we will all survive the season together and still be able to hold our heads high at weight watchers meetings, gyms and social engagements. There is nothing worse than abstaining and resenting that you have to.
I’ve listed a few things that I do at home to get into the season, negotiating all its delights and feeling all the better for it. Let’s get into it…
- First suggestion is to know your boundaries. Where do you draw the line? For me I must avoid grains, dairy, refined sugar and soy. Outside of this I am a little more flexible during the holiday season. During other times of the year I would petulantly avoid the copious amounts of fruit sugars in Paleo baked treats, starchy flours like tapioca, corn and rice. Make a mental list and give yourself a little room to move if your body can handle it. Importantly some autoimmune diseases and allergies won’t allow this kind of flexibility likewise if you have started a gut healing diet, don’t go undoing all your hard work. There’s always Christmas in July
- Start thinking now about the types of foods that you want to have and how you might be able to substitute them. I’m never ever going to miss out on Christmas pudding!!! This is a not negotiable so I swapped my gluten and dairy laden one for a raw one with a white chocolate sauce with thanks to Pete Evans.
Other ideas could be:
- eggnog made on almond milk
- bliss balls to replace the original rum-balls
- a coleslaw with homemade aoli instead of mayo
- my chocolate mousse from the December newsletter, can be set in the fridge and rolled into balls to make either soft centres for handmade chocolate, cake-pops, or truffles
- Ginger bread made on almond meal
- Stuffing made on swede, cauliflower, sunflower-meal, with fresh herbs and orange peel etc
- Invention Kitchen time!!!!
- Eating mindfully is one of the most important things I “never” remember to do when I sit down to dinner. By then I am starving and I’ve eaten it before I’ve drawn breath. Christmas dinner and lunch are two very special occasions that you want to draw out as long as you can. Think about the beautifully laid table, the company, the smells, the excitement of the day and revel in the love of family and friends coming together. We all put so much effort into the presentation of the home and our inner food editors/stylists get their once a year gig to come out to lay the most exquisite tables.
- Alcohol is a personal choice. I would prefer that if anyone is going to indulge at Christmas that they choose quality. I don’t drink much anymore but I have a preference for Margaritas, top shelf tequila, ice, lime, shaved ice and celtic salt or a an organic, preservative free red wine.
- Left over’s!!!! The absolute best thing about Christmas is the leftovers:
- Keep the dripping from the roast trays to use as the base for dishes like sautéing with.
- Make extra bliss balls to freeze for treats when friends drop in over the holiday’s.
- The left over roast meat becomes savoury muffins, curries,
- The bones and carcasses become stock. I’d suggest that while cleaning up after the Christmas lunch/dinner celebrations, get out the slow cooker and put the bones into the pot, with that any leftover veggies or meats and add the basic onions, carrots, celery, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves and thyme. Cover it with water and leave it for 10 hours.
- You be the host…The best idea is to have Christmas dinner at your place. Plan the menu, checking with others dietary requirements.
- Buy some little foil takeaway trays. Put the left-over’s into serving sizes and give them as Christmas takeaways when people leave or put them straight into the freezer. Then it’s in their fridge not yours or you don’t have immediate access to them.
- If you’ve read the December newsletter you would have also read my tip on how to get kids to not eat so much candy over the Christmas season by persuading the kids not to eat candy and exchanging it for a higher reward thus delaying gratification.
- In Australia Christmas is stinking hot!!!! The tar melts off the road and it’s almost too hot to eat. I’d suggest getting an ice-cream maker. I make my ice-cream out of coconut cream and olive oil. The ingredients in this recipe make it such a nutrient dense food, packed with saturated fats, MCT and if you serve it was a small amount of in season blueberries which contain resveratrol then the ice-cream is now so nutrient dense that I think that even David Wolfe, vegan and super food genius, would be impressed. The recipe can be found on the Paleo MOM blog site.
- If you know that there is absolutely no way you will be able to find something to eat then you can eat before you go.
- Call ahead and make arrangement with your hosts to bring something that you can share with everyone else. From my own experience the plate that I bring is usually the first one to be finished. I think that people instinctively know that you’ve prepared it with love, care and attention and doesn’t food always taste better when it’s made with love!?
- The most important thing I have to offer is that you should be happy with your choices, they are your choices and you do have control over your Christmas celebrations. Make the best choice you can with what you’ve got and enjoy the relationships around you and don’t forget to rest and recover in readiness of the smashing year to come.