How to Stay Healthy & Survive the Holidays


The holidays can be a challenge if you eat any kind of special diet like gluten-free or plant-based. I should know, I eat a plant-based gluten-free diet and have for many years.

Over the years, I have developed some strategies on how to handle holiday get togethers while eating a special diet.

Host your own party / dinner.
You have the party, you can control the food you make and serve. The downside? You will be doing a lot of cooking. And don’t make a big deal announcing your food is vegan, gluten-free or whatever – people most likely won’t notice! You can also host a potluck, but make a few dishes yourself that you know you can eat.

Be prepared.
You probably will be going to holiday parties where there is going to be a lot of alcohol, sugary treats, and all kinds of other things you may be avoiding, especially if you eat gluten-free and/or vegan. I like to have a big snack – like a smoothie – before a party. That way I am less likely to go crazy on eating stuff I know will not make me feel good. And, if you are a good cook, bring something yummy & healthy for everyone to enjoy (like the recipe below)! If I’m avoiding alcohol, I like to bring kombucha for everyone to enjoy.

Save the debates for another time.
Ok, so sometimes when your friends and family hear that you eat a special diet they can be very defensive – and even mildly insulting – towards you about it. By you telling them how you are improving or changing your diet, you are holding a mirror to them and their eating habits.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that eating plant-based is “not healthy” or “they could never do that” or “don’t you miss cheese” and the list goes on. Try to be a good sport about it. Also, expect questions about how and why you eat a different diet and know how to answer them. I’d be a rich woman now if I had a dime for anytime someone asked me how I get my protein (fyi, the answer is beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, grains, tofu).

In return, this is not the time for you to turn up your nose on what your host is offering or to preach about your diet.

Have gratitude.
The holidays are really about connecting and sharing with family and friends, not the food. You are fortunate that you are able to choose what you eat. So many people around the world and even in this country lack basic. food security. Be grateful that you are able to to make a choice to eat plant-based, organic, gluten-free, etc.

Apple Crisp Recipe

This recipe can be made within most dietary guidelines, and is always yummy! It’s also simple to make with not a lot of ingredients.

(plant-based, gluten-free)
12 medium sized organic apples
1 lemon
2 cups whole oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp coconut sugar
Optional: almond or cashew milk

Preheat oven to 375.

Slice all of the apples – if you are using organic apples you can keep the peel on. Toss in the juice of one lemon, then put into a baking dish.

In a separate bowl, mix the oats, almond flour, coconut sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar. Spread this topping on top of the apples.

Cover the baking pan with foil or a lid, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Serve with almond or cashew milk poured on top of each serving.

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