1) Eat before you go to the Christmas party.
This principle is similar to “don’t go shopping when you’re hungry”: if you’ve already eaten something healthy before you get there, you’ll be much less likely to pig out on the delicious but thoroughly unhealthy spread you’re likely to find at a social function.
2) Be intentional with meals you can control.
There are probably going to be lots of parties, family get-togethers, and special meals, and you want to be able to enjoy them with the people you love. With the expectation that you’ll indulge a little bit at those events, be even more strict about maintaining a whole foods based, sugar and simple carb-free diet the rest of the time. Here’s a quick crash course on how to do this.
3) Maintain your exercise program.
You remember the old, “how do you fit these big stones and this quantity of sand into this little jar?” The answer, of course, is to put the big stones in first, before filling the remaining space with sand. In the same way, when our schedules get crazy with The Urgent (sand), self-care (the big stones) is often the first thing to go. So before you start booking your calendar full of activities, pencil in your usual workout routine to make sure it doesn’t get supplanted by more “urgent” activities. And if you don’t yet have an exercise program, schedule three days per week of walking. This will serve two purposes: not only will it help you offset the extra calories, but it will also serve as a stress release and likely help you maintain your sanity!
4) Manage your cravings.
There are two kinds of sugar cravings: physiologic and emotional. If you’re on a blood sugar roller coaster most of the time, the quickest way to stabilize it is to have some form of protein every time you eat — so if you’re going to have that piece of pie, grab a handful of nuts too. If this still isn’t enough, consider some blood sugar support nutrients (my favorite Blood Sugar Support link is found below, or you can just pick up some chromium at your local health food store, taking 1 cap three times daily between meals.) If the roller coaster persists, you most likely are going to need a candida cleanse after the first of the year.
But what if the cravings are more emotional? These kinds of cravings also usually want either sugar or simple carbs, but they hit around mid-afternoon to evening, and they’re especially bad in times of high stress. Usually these indicate a state of lower serotonin, and the carbs give temporary relief—so it’s a form of self-medication. The best way to curb these cravings is with a dose of either tryptophan (1000 mg) or 5-HTP (50 mg) just before the cravings hit. Both of these are also linked below, but you can also find them at any local health food store. (If you choose 5-HTP, be aware that this is a committed pathway to serotonin, which means your body can do nothing but make serotonin with it. Thus, it’s possible to overdose—and you’ll know if you’ve overdosed because you’ll feel a bit emotionally flat. If you’re on an antidepressant already, best to choose tryptophan instead. If you’re not, make sure you start with just 50 mg either in the afternoon or evening, whenever the strongest craving strikes you. Add in the second dose only after waiting three days, to make sure 50 mg isn’t sufficient to take care of the problem.)
5) Bring your own food.
This is especially important if you have a food sensitivity or an allergy: you want to make sure you’ll have at least one dish at the event that you can have and that you’ll enjoy! If you have an old family recipe you love, here are a few ideas to render it healthier:
|Sugar||Stevia, Mannitol or Sorbitol, Pureed Dates|
|White Sugar||Honey, Maple Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup|
|White Flour||100 % Whole Wheat Flour|
|Wheat Flour (Contains Gluten)||Almond Flour, Oat Flour, Amaranth Flour, Coconut Flour|
|Eggs||Mashed Bananas, Applesauce|
|Milk||All Unsweetened: Almond Milk, Non-GMO Soy Milk, Coconut Milk, Flax Milk|
And if you want some specific recipe recommendations I’ve curated myself, here’s a few I can recommend (with attributions and my star ratings! …Can you tell I like chocolate?)
????? Chocolate Bark: (Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, white sugar free!)
????? 3 Ingredient Homemade Chocolate Bars: (Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, optional sugar free!)
????? Raw Peanut Butter Pie: (Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, white sugar free!)
???? Zucchini Brownies: (Optional gluten free, dairy free, egg free, optional sugar free!)
???? Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt: (Gluten free, egg free, optional sugar free!)
???? Tofu Chocolate Mousse: (Gluten free, egg free, dairy free, white sugar free!)
????? Frozen Banana Bites: (Gluten free, egg free, dairy free, white sugar free!)
????? Healthy Chocolate Mousse: (Gluten free, egg free, dairy free, white sugar free!)