Five Tips for a Happy Paleo Holiday Season

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There are hundreds of blog posts written about “surviving the holidays.” Such advice as “avoid the snack table at all cost” “eat before the party” “it’s okay to binge during the holidays-just let go” “only eat veggies at the snack tables” and the list goes on and on. Everyone has tips that might indeed work for them. However, their suggestions may not work for you! Here are my tips that are centered around empowering you to make the best decisions for yourself!

 

1. We all have different things that work for us and things that don’t work for us. Why? because we are bio-individuals. Some of us get very sick if we eat even the smallest amount of gluten. Some just feel better without it, but can manage small amounts. Same goes for other foods. Some of us have emotional eating patterns that require a different way of processing eating. These individuals may need to let loose for their emotional well-being. There is no one approach to surviving the holidays. My advice is to listen to your body and your personal needs (both physical and emotional). Think about the decisions you are making, keeping your mental, spiritual, and physical well-being in mind. Think about what works for YOU and no one else. Don’t let people pressure you into eating something that you know will have you buckled over in pain an hour later. That is not respecting yourself. Don’t avoid eating something you want to eat if you know your body can process it. Be in tune with yourself.

 

2. If you react to a certain food and it makes you feel sick, consider avoiding it or making a substitution. If you think you can handle it, then enjoy it. If you think you will feel terrible after eating it, don’t eat it. Or eat it and take some digestive enzymes with it to help your body process it. Don’t overthink it. Either way, you will be okay. Just keep “you” in mind when making these decisions.

 

3. Remember that holidays are not only about food!  Our culture puts a very strong emphasis on food. In fact, I think we are in the midst of a national eating disorder. We just don’t know what to do. We *think* holidays are all about food, and must include gluttonous amounts of it. However, there are so many other things we can make emotional connections with over the holidays, and we CAN let go of that notion that is socially entwined in our being. That notion that there needs to massive amounts of sugar laden treats for every holiday get together. Savor the beam in your child’s eyes when they look at the ornaments on the tree, instead of savoring the plate of cookies. You might realize that you are just doing what you are accustomed to doing, and that they aren’t as joyful as some other senses you can experience over the holidays. Be in the moment. Experience the laughing and joke telling. Experience the smells of the pine. Listen to the music. Take pleasure in the sites, scents, experiences. Re-establish some of the connections in your brain that are use to old ways. This might help you to be more in tune with yourself. You will start to show yourself  some kindness, love and respect. Create one tradition that does not involve food.  Take the emphasis off of food, and enjoy some of the other aspects of the season. 

 

 

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4. Take the time to prepare dishes that you know will not make you sick. Bring these dishes to holiday get togethers. Most people just aren’t aware of the versatility of eating real food. The holidays are a great time to teach others you can survive without some of these culturally normal food items that cause more harm to the body than good. I have a client of mine who is proudly hosting her first Paleo Thanksgiving. There are so many amazing and inspirational recipes out there! People think this lifestyle is restrictive because they do not know very much about it. We are fearful of what we don’t know. We are fearful of what is different from what we’ve been taught. Once we realize that eating real food really can be amazing, bountiful, and flavorful, we settle down. So take this opportunity to teach. Not in a “preaching” way. Just bring some awesome real food and watch your family enjoy it! People learn by example.

 

 

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5. Smile more, and let it go. Enjoy this short season, and stop trying to be perfect for everyone, while being angry with yourself. Be true to yourself. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back.”-Anne Lamott 

 

 

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6 Paleo-isms (Things The Paleo Community Likes Alot)

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The paleo/primal community is amazing. We are changing the way people make decisions about what they are putting in their body. We are making big strides world-wide, and I am proud to be a part of this movement. However, there are some funny “paleo-isms” (things the paleo community likes to say/talk about). I’m here to explain why we say/talk about these foods all the time. There is a reason!

 

Here are 6 paleo-isms and my musings on them 🙂

 

1. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”:

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I’m still an advocate of this saying even if it sounds cliche, and I’ll explain why. Some of the people who preach paleo…but don’t like to admit they preach paleo tear it apart. They don’t want to be considered “paleo” because the word it’s dogmatic to them. I disagree. I still like it. It’s the truth. No, I’m not 100% paleo, and I don’t think this saying advocates that either! What this saying means to me is that by making these changes in the foods you choose to consume, you are not going on a “diet.” It’s not like the atkins diet, or south beach, or weight watchers. We don’t want it categorized that way, because it is very different. In my professional opinion, the term paleo also encompasses thinking about your emotional and physical well-being as well. It is about making conscious lifestyle choices about what you put on and in your body most of the time, and how you treat your body. It doesn’t mean you can’t make less than desirable choices and carry on. Those other choices make up most everything around us– it’s very difficult to avoid them. In the paleolithic days these choices didn’t exist, and so yes, we were all “paleo.” Those days are gone. Far gone. Even though it is still in our genes, the other choices are everywhere and engrained in our social being. So yeah, sometimes we make them. I don’t get a dogmatic vibe from this saying at all. So for those who still like this saying, I’m on board with ya. Because yes, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s my lifestyle. And I am proud of it. I’m also proud of the word paleo and all the lovely people in our community making positive changes.

 

2. Bacon bacon bacon:

 

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Paleo folks talk about bacon a lot. Why? Well, for one, it’s very tasty. Pasture raised bacon is a good source of healthy fats for your body. Bacon has been demonized in Western culture the past what? 30 something years? for no good reason, and we know the truth about it! We want you to enjoy it as well. Because it tastes really good, and provides nutrients for your body, and contrary to what you may have heard, bacon does not clog your arteries or make you sick like processed grains do. It’s just the opposite. The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), 40% saturated fats, and 10% polyunsaturated. So you don’t want to burn bacon as it does contain some PUFA’S. As long as you aren’t consuming vegetable oils, you should be fine. Why no vegetable oils?  Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases. Vegetable oils are not stable. Bacon has a small amount of PUFA’s, so again, just don’t burn it or reuse the oil over and over.

So yeah, we’re big on bacon. We’re going to wrap everything in bacon. We’re going to mix bacon with chocolate. We’re going to wear bacon t-shirts. and post bacon meme’s. and share bacon recipes. and eat bacon with every meal. Totally kidding. Just some meals.

 

3. Coconut everything:

 

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Coconut oil. Coconut flour. Coconut cream. Coconut milk. Coconuts. Coconut water. Coconut aminos. Coconut manna, shredded coconut. Why all the coconut? Yes we tend to be big on the coconuts. Coconuts are amazing, that’s why. Coconuts contain medium chained triglycerides which are metabolized quickly and are used as a quick source of fuel and aids in weight loss. Lauric acid in coconut kills bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is a stable saturated fat so it can withstand heat without oxidizing quickly. Coconut reduces inflammation in the body. It helps the body to absorb calcium and magnesium. It is also high in vitamin E. It is great for the skin and hair as well. You can make deodorant with it. and use it to help heal superficial cuts and burns. and use it as a sunscreen, and moisturizer, and make up remover, and hair treatment. Coconut rocks!

 

5. Saturated fats/Animal fats: 

 

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The paleo/primal community stresses the consumption of saturated fats because, like bacon, these fats have been wrongfully demonized as artery clogging-heart attack inducing-avoid at all cost fats. This led to the overconsumption of low-fat, high carbohydrate processed foods and increased obesity and health struggles in our culture significantly. Saturated fat is necessary for so many functions in the body!

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, saturated fats are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

I wrote a blog piece on this! 🙂

 

6. Fermented Cod Liver Oil:

 Fresh atlantic cod fish

You hear a lot about Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) in the paleo/primal community. You might wonder why anyone would want to consume fermented cod livers. FCLO is a pretty amazing superfood. It contains fat soluble Vitamins A, D, and K2 necessary for maintaining a healthy gut/immune system. It aids in gut healing to help reverse autoimmune conditions. It is great for the brain, eyes and skin. Green Pastures brand is traditionally fermented cold, and not heat treated. Therefore all nutrients and vitamins are not destroyed. The cinnamon tingle is actually very palatable. My kids even take it no problem.

According to Green Pastures:

“The gold standard in pure fish fat/oil from the liver of the cod fish extracted through fermentation rather then cold/hot temps or chemical extraction as the rest of the industry uses. Deep dark rich color equals real life giving nutrients”.

I hope you found this piece helpful!

What are some of the paleo-isms you have noticed?

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About Kathryn:

Kathryn is a Nutritional Therapist through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego extension. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children. She sees people locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office and worldwide via phone and Skype. 

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* Please note: This is a personal blog. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.