Maintaining Health During The Holidays

by | Nov 3, 2014 | Blog Post | 0 comments

Many of us (myself included) love to use the holidays as an excuse to forget all that we have learned and accomplished during the beginning of the year to totally sabotage ourselves nutritionally. Two extra pieces of pie, a little more wine or beer, a couple of extra servings of grains and six biscuits later, you feel exhausted, irritable, have a sugar hangover and have gained enough extra cushion that your skinny jeans don’t feel so skinny. Last year around the holidays, I realized how unnecessary this delicious torture was. I was so immersed in my health journey and wanted to continue on my path and discovered an even more satisfying menu that left me bloat-free, guilt-free and food fulfilled! So, no more excuses. Let’s talk about how to have a happy holiday with your new gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free lifestyle.

The Meat
CAM00586Many of us meat eaters enjoy a nice centerpiece on the holiday table. Turkey, leg of lamb, roast or whole chickens can easily be prepared to be nutritionally balanced and within the confines of your lifestyle. First, and most essential, is making sure that your protein is responsibly raised using sustainable practices that will avoid unnecessary additives like hormones and antibiotics. Beef should be 100% grass fed (your packaging must say 100% grass fed or the cows are not just eating grass), while poultry should be pasture-raised and use non-GMO, soy-free feed. Check out these farms for your holiday main course as they have high-quality meat and poultry that will keep you nutritionally sound and licking your lips.

Second is preparation. By using fresh and dried spices, you can create a tasty dish that avoids heavy gluten riddled sauces or excess sugar. I made this turkey last Thanksgiving and it was amazing (skip the apples if you want less sugar). Or consider this extremely simple and absolutely delicious leg of lamb recipe. These recipes are just the beginning….I got plenty more where that came from!

The Sides
Arguably the easiest way to stay on task during the holidays is with the addition of nutritious side dishes. Replace traditional cornbread stuffing with grain-free pecan stuffing or ‘cornbread’ and sausage stuffing (here’s a hint: It’s not really cornbread). Ditch the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese this year and substitute with one of these three mashed veggie recipes or grain-free mac n cheese (skip the cayenne pepper for nightshade-free version). And of course, let’s not forget the multitude of vegetable sides that will keep you full and happy! The following are just a few of my favorite vegetable recipes from various brilliant food visionaries:

Butternut Squash Latkes
Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Basil
Garlic Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The Dessert
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy dessert. No reason. It’s all about being creative, bold, and smart. I continue to experiment with different dessert recipes. Sometimes I fail miserably and sometimes I am a rock star but I just keep going until the sweet craving is satisfied without ever feeling like I did something naughty. This Halloween will be the first where my two-year old will actually get to go out and collect her treats. After we get home and throw away all of the high fructose corn syrup, sugar, gluten, soy and other names I can’t pronounce, we plan on enjoying this recipe. In our home, the focus is on the spirit of the holiday not the traditional treats and eats. The remainder of the holiday season (which includes my husband’s, my daughter’s and my own birthdays!) will be filled with wonderful treats. Don’t take my word for it, try them for yourself:

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Frosting
Strawberry Meringue Cake
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Vanilla Bundt Cake
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheesecake

(Note: For any of the dessert recipes, feel free to replace honey or maple syrup with stevia to cut sugar)

So now you are armed with your beginner’s kit for a healthy holiday. The possibilities are endless. Once you realize this and make healthful nutrition part of your daily life, you will no longer feel the urge to destroy all of your hard work and awesome lifestyle, no matter what the season. Wishing you a joyous and prosperous holiday season! Be well.

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