With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it might be a good time to reach out to give some tips and thoughts about how to have a keto-fantastic holiday season :)
Thanksgiving is a time to come together and celebrate all that we are grateful for, and what better way to show gratitude than to show respect for our amazing, beautiful, strong bodies. This can be a challenge though if we are surrounded by ‘treat’ foods that are chock-full of grains and sugar! Some people handle this challenge by simply allowing themselves the day off, and eating whatever is on offer. And let's face it, the occasional ‘cheat day’ isn’t going to make you obese, or diabetic. These serious and often devastating chronic conditions develop out of nutrition choices made over long periods of time, not by indulging in the occasional special meal. If you do decide to revert to your old ways of eating these holidays, don’t beat yourself up about it after – just get right back on the horse again as soon as possible. That’s our mantra within this awesome community, right? – “Keep Calm and Keto On”!
However, as an experienced keto-er myself, I can think of several reasons why I personally will be choosing to ‘keep it keto’ these holidays:
Before I became fat-adapted, I must have become accustomed to the pain/inflammation that comes from ingesting too much refined carbohydrate, because now when I return to eating that kind of food, my body tells me exactly how much it doesn’t appreciate it! I feel exhausted, achy, sensitive and generally unwell until I process it all and return to my new normal.
I’d probably have a terrible sleep that night; and now that I’m used to having great sleeps, I’m greedy about that! :)
My skin would probably break out; again I’m used to it being clear and not red/blotchy these days. Rosacea – gone! I don’t want it back again.
- I wouldn’t even enjoy it all that much anyway, as now that my palate has adjusted to being sugar-free, traditionally prepared sweet treats are simply too sweet for me!
Another important point to note is that for some people, sugary or starchy carbs can act as a trigger for the emotional eating, binge eating and other dysfunctional food-related behaviors that contributed to them becoming overweight, sick and unhappy in the first place. If any of that applies to you, you should perhaps be especially prepared and have in place a solid plan for surviving the holidays!
The good news is: it’s not even very hard to keto-fy your favorite foods. Hooray!
Tips and tricks to help you stay K this year:
OK, so let's say you’ve decided to try to keep the carbage at a minimum this year. Good for you! You’re going to need some ammunition; a plan of attack.
The first thing to do is a little bit of self-analysis. Think about your personal faves, what are the carby items that you associate with this holiday, that would be most likely to tempt you? The turkey is all good, sure - but what about the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the devilled eggs? The pumpkin pie? Once you’ve identified your personal danger zones, you can get prepared…
Find recipes that will work for you – creamy garlicky cauliflower mash easily subs in for potato mash…pumpkin pie and whipped cream are perfectly suited to being made keto…seed crackers, olives and a roasted red pepper dip can transform a carby platter into a keto-dream platter! All these recipes and more can be found online for free, and if you have some that you swear by, please send them to us! We are in the process of building our own online recipe library within the Ketologie website, featuring tried and true recipes that really work for our special community.
Shop in advance for all the key ingredients that you’ll need. You may need to stock up on keto-friendly pantry essentials, such as your favorite sweetener of choice, butter, coconut cream, fats/oils, and don’t forget – good quality SALT!
If you’re hosting, remember: your kitchen – your rules! You can sub cauliflower mash for potato mash if you want to – it’s just as yummy anyway :) It’s OK as well to double up if you are afraid of disappointing anyone – just make sure to involve everyone, so you don’t end up spending the whole day in the kitchen!
Also remember, non-starchy carbs/veggies are your friend! Think grilled asparagus, green beans, crunchy broccoli/red onion salad, leafy spinach/cranberry and slivered almond salad, roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and bacon. Yum!
Once you’ve planned out your menu, assign sides, salads or desserts to family members or guests. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – it is the natural human condition to want to help one another and be a part of the group. Your F&F will love being able to make a contribution that is truly valued, and they may even appreciate the chance to practice a new skill/try a new way of cooking!
- On the day, don’t allow non-supportive F&F to ‘wind you up’. For many people, the decisions that you’ve made about how you want to approach food are challenging; some may even take it as a personal criticism of how they eat. They may subconsciously feel affronted, or even guilty/ashamed – and deal with it by going on the attack. Try not to react to their challenges, and be Zen about it. Take a deep breath and simply say something neutral. For example, rather than telling them in great detail all the reasons why you think carbs are bad, just say something non-threatening and personal to you, like “I just like how I feel when I eat like this, so I’m going to stick with it thanks. Another slice of pie, anyone?” :)
If you really need to, escape to a neutral place and just take some time out. Even the bathroom will do! A few minutes of peace and quiet, perhaps even checking in with your fellow Ketologists online for moral support, or just taking a few deep breaths will help you to relax, and restore your resolve.
Have sugar free hot chocolate mix on hand, along with vanilla extract, whipped heavy cream, chopped nuts, cinnamon etc for an easy, delicious but keto-friendly post-dinner indulgence. Any good quality 100% cocoa combined with your favorite sweetener will do – but consider pre-mixing it in sufficient quantities for the whole family, that way you won’t get held up fiddling around measuring each cup by cup :)
- After the big meal, and if it’s not too late - consider going for a walk or play outside with the kids, grandkids or pets. A bit of fresh air and stretching your legs can be the perfect way to balance out this great family oriented day.
Like with just about everything in life, preparation is the best way to ensure success! So don’t get anxious about the holidays coming up – instead, figure out your strategy, and then take the appropriate action in advance, so you can relax and look forward to these special days as an opportunity to connect with your loved ones in new and healthful ways…and simply…ENJOY!
Yours in health and happiness,