Holiday Solution #2
You feel like you can't stay Paleo/AIP... Holiday Solution #2 : Make the Choice to Eat for Health
It's Thanksgiving Day. You wanted to make the traditional foods that everyone is "used to." Or, you're going to a traditional feast at someone else's house (oh, the butter stress). This goes two ways: you take care of you or you don't.
Whether it's today, this weekend, next week's party, or next month's holiday feast, I know you just want to feel like you're part of the celebration, part of the group… not the weirdo with your own food "in the corner."
I know that you want to sit at the table and not have everyone ask you about your meal.
But, here's the thing, would you rather tell them about the swift jaunt to the toilet you'll be taking if you eat their food? Or the not-so-swift mood swing you'll get and the hives, and did I mention the toilet (even if you don't have an autoimmune disease, but you've been off these foods, and you eat 'em, your gut will not be happy)?!
When you eat foods that are traditionally holiday, that means gluten, grains, dairy and sugar. These are the main culprits of digestive upset, inflammation, brain disruption and can lead to autoimmune flares (read: bloating, diarrhea, sore body, brain fog, not sleeping, whatever symptoms arise with your AI flares). You have worked so hard to get this under control, do you really want to loose it over one meal?!!
And, just because you feel great in the moment, it doesn't mean you're gonna feel good in a few hours, or days. Heck, sometimes the negative affects of food hit a week later. So, make the choice to keep your body in balance, and choose to eat for health!
Cook the meal at your own house Your ingredients, your quality control. If Auntie makes a special pie that everyone loves, have her bring it (you don't have to indulge). Add in a few items that will make everyone feel comfortable, but keep the primary items clean. You can eat turkey, cranberry sauce, and lots and lots of vegetables under AIP/paleo guidelines!
Choose a new twist on the meal Make brunch, have salmon, go Asian. Do something totally outside of the box to keep it fun (and no one will wonder where the green bean casserole is)! Make it a small intimate gathering instead of a huge one. Have just your immediate family instead of the whole shebang. Make new traditions… it's OK to do something new!
Take snacks to the party Bring your own delicious paleo cookies or AIP sweet & sour wings to a party to share. Even if you're not "supposed" to bring food, most everyone will be happy for the addition. And, that means you feel more comfortable eating and socializing around food. Don't have time to bring your own dish? Have some snacks before you go. Arriving hungry to a place where you can't eat anything sets you up for disaster. You won't have fun, you might eat some of the food "just this once," and feel badly (physically and emotionally) for doing so.
Prepare in advance Don't let your hunger get the best of you. Be sure to have food ready to go at home this season. Keep veggies and meat in the 'fridge, to make quick meals as needed. Or, have a batch cooking day where you make a bunch of meals and freeze them (or just have in the 'fridge for several days). If you can't get to the grocery one day, ask for help. Use my meals and shopping template to help you plan your weeks.
Maintain blood sugar Be sure to eat your regular meals, even if there's a party or something extra you're adding on your plate. Don't think about calories or balancing that cookie (since it's paleo). Eat plenty of fats, protein and fiber at your meals. Lower your carbs if you're not moving much, but increase if you're going skiing or hiking (or dancing) that day. Stay hydrated. And, if you're drinking alcohol, be sure to have fat with it.
Feed your brain Yep, you heard it again! Feeding your brain means that it maintains optimal function. If your brain works, then you have a better chance of staying on track with your meals, your food choices and your sanity. Eat what you know works for you. Then, drink a minimum of 32 ounces of water each day, and add more if you're sweating more (from that crazy holiday shopping or your warm yoga class). Increase water at altitude, and know that herbal teas and broth count as hydration. As mentioned last week, and above, eat plenty of fats and protein with each meal. Take some deep breaths and be grateful for all that you have (that feeds your brain in other ways)!
*Photo is a paleo brunch with turkey-shaped pancakes, date caramel sauce, pears, sautéed greens and bacon from Blooming Beets in Boulder, CO.