Paleo Christmas Mindset
Christmas is a holiday often associated with decedent sounding, grain and, sugar-filled foods like decadent cookies, sugary candy canes, and rich fudge. Unfortunately, in most cases, these holiday traditions are not Paleo-friendly, now that you are avoiding most man-made, processed foods.
At first glance, the Paleo diet can appear to be overly limited during the Christmas season, but with a little legwork, it can be anything but. Navigating this holiday with Paleo approach can be done with a few modifications and a little perspective:
Focus on the can, rather than the can’t.
It might be challenging to build a gingerbread house from your new Paleo friendly (not yet tested) grain-free recipe but even making the attempt can be fun. Alternately you could make gingerbread shapes and characters instead. Better yet, the list of Christmas dishes that are inherently Paleo-friendly is comparatively endless: prime rib, roast turkey, spiced apple cider, roasted chestnuts, Champagne, mulled wine. Pick your favorites and focus on those.
Be selective with sweeteners.
While sugar is not considered Paleo-friendly, there are numerous sweeteners that are more compliant. Consider sweetening your eggnog with maple syrup or glazing your holiday ham with honey and orange juice. You might find that your Paleo diet has significantly shifted the way you taste sweet foods and a little sweetness will go a long way. With the mindful use of sweeteners, Christmas can be just as sweet as years past.
Borrow from traditions.
Traditional English Christmas puddings were a simple affair made with dried fruits and spices with an egg and suet binder. In their truest sense, they are not only delicious, but make a perfectly Paleo friendly indulgence. Instead of relying on modern, flour-dependent varieties, investigate a historical recipe. Travel the globe with your palate and draw inspiration from international holiday dishes, like Puerto Rican pernil (roast pork) or a traditional Swedish smorgasbord with meatballs, sausage, pickled herring and sliced beetroot.
Christmas is an opportunity to flex your Paleo taste buds.
Christmas is an annual event and it might be more fulfilling to permit the occasional indulgence (barring food allergies) than to leave the holidays with a lingering sense of regret. Your plan is always there to support and create a foundation every day of the year.
Gift with care.
When choosing a gift for another who is following their Paleo lifestyle, think beyond grass-fed steaks or tubs of coconut oil. Think of the plethora of Paleo friendly household self-care products, cooking classes and kitchen gadgets, books, exercise equipment and the like that may be appreciated. Another consideration could be a donation in their name honor to a new trend: holistic land management, which uses rotational grazing to reverse the effects of desertification. A gift like this is not only a nice gesture, but can support thoughtful animal husbandry—a tenet of the Paleo lifestyle.
It’s not just about the food.
In the end, the holidays are a chance to connect and grow closer to your loved ones. Celebrate the season around a warm fire without a second thought as to what’s in your neighbor’s mug.