Surviving the Holidays: Food

(Originally posted on bcotoronto.com on Dec 13th, 2012)

Meals for the HolidaysLast year I wrote about keeping a diet during the holidays and I thought I would add to it this year as the last installment of our “Surviving the Holidays” series. Last time we talked about how to avoid the temptation of unhealthy and diet-busting treats when it’s not essential to avoid them. This time let’s explore what to do when you are on a more strict elimination or detoxification diet which does not allow you to splurge a little now and then.

The temptations around the holidays can be absolutely overwhelming but with strict diets it is important to not falter or you will have to start the process again. So we’re going to talk about how to avoid breaking your diet at all. Of course, this will take some motivation and willpower but less when you follow these tips.

Be The Host
By being the host for this year’s festivities you have control of the menu. You can tackle the event by yourself and show your guests just how well you can eat on a healthy diet or you can turn your event into a potluck. With a potluck you know that you will be able to eat at least one dish but you can also challenge your guests to raise your standards.

If you are not confident in the kitchen or feel stuck for inspiration on how to make good food that fits into your diet turn to the internet. There are tonnes of great recipe sites out there and bloggers chronicling their diet-friendly kitchen exploits. These resources can guide you to a guilt-free holiday and may even help you convert some of your old favourite recipes into new diet-friends creations.

Offer To Help
If you are not hosting this year, offer to help the host with the prep. This way you can bring something to contribute that you can eat or you can have some say in what goes into what dishes and know for certain if you can have them.

Bring A Contribution
If your help is not accepted try bringing something. You will find that most people, after hearing your reasons, are very accommodating but there are some hosts are resistant to this idea. Let them know that what you can’t eat and they will either find some food for you or swallow their pride long enough to let you bring something.

Don’t Be Ashamed
If there is one thing that I’ve learned from patients and personal experience, it is that whatever your dietary restrictions are, you cannot be ashamed of them. Be proud in your willingness to take on this challenge to your lifestyle and don’t shrink away from telling people about it when it comes up. Don’t just say, “My doctor told me to!” Get into it and explain why it is important for you to eat this way and what it has done for you already. You might even get some friends to try it out too.

With this advice, we can make it easier to not fall off the wagon this holiday season and any party season from beaches and barbeques to sweaters and sweets. So enjoy the holidays and good luck.

Thanks for reading,
Dr. Ben

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