So, this is my first Christmas as a Paleo. I am extremely nervous about it. On Thanksgiving, we went to my husband's side and everyone was very uncomfortable with the fact that I wasn't eating. I just fasted because everything was not friendly to my particular diet choices. There wasn't even a relish tray. Anyway, I'm not sure how to approach this holiday, as there will be extended times when I am unable to access my own refrigerator. Not to mention, several days in a row. What is the best way to handle this? I can handle a short, 12 hour fast, sometimes. It all depends on my mental state, where I am in my cycle, etc. My mental state when with my in-laws is generally not the greatest... HELP!
Most of the responses seem to be advocating "go with the flow," which is fine for some people I suppose. But if you started this diet to cure and reverse disease symptoms, then it's the worst advice ever. Would you tell a drunk, "get over yourself, have a drink...get back on the wagon after the holidays..."? One person's "cheat" is another person's "trigger."
Your husband is the key to making this work. You need to engage him to help clear the path for you socially. This is no time to be ambiguous. He should make your food intolerances clear to his family.
And bring snacks.
My advice is simple: ENJOY CHRISTMAS! A few days will not make or break your health kick.
How many years had you not been paleo? Seriously, the negatives (stress, less fun, not enjoying christmas ffs!) of trying to stick to paleo FAR FAR outweigh the benefits of sticking 100% to your guns.
If you just try and make healthy choices (example: eat the turkey, skip the gravy. eat the pudding, skip the ice cream. drink, but in moderation), you'll get the best of both worlds.
Hope this helps. I've been a health nut for years, but you're damn right Im eating chocolate, cakes and mince pies next week^^
Don't worry, enjoy the holiday, and embrace the necessity of food. Even if the family provides the worst of commercialised SAD for christmas dinner, grok would still have eaten what was available and shook of the effects. Some people de-paleo just to reaffirm their commitment. If there's particular foods like gluten you want to avoid as it has a longer-term impact, that shouldn't be too uncomfortable, but for the most part the food, while not necessarily of the best quality, is not going to kill you within a few days. Use whatever control you have to take more of the parts of the meal which are preferable. If it's really bad, eat minimally so as to minimise discomfort all round. If you need to, you can fast when you get home.
Above all, exude an aura of quiet confidence and calm, even if you're not entirely happy with the food choices you're having to make. Otherwise the pressure might be too much and you'd lose all control. And, well, actually that's really not that big a deal either. If it helps, I tend to join in with big meals, but otherwise can pick and choose at other meal times, perhaps take some of my preferred snacks/travelling food, or even go to the store and buy something to cook for myself. But then, I could fast for several days. Seems to miss the point of the holiday to me though.
Focus on the dead critter that is the main course, and any veggies that aren't covered nasty sauces. If you can bring a dish then make something paleo. Those who don't know paleo will be none the wiser.
A couple of things you could do:
-Offer to bring a dish or an appetizer to the main holiday dinner. You could do something like a shrimp tray or a big mixed salad bowl... lots of good paleo options that others would probably eat as well.
-Eat your other meals at decent restaurants. Most decent places will have some paleo friendly choices. If you are worried about being able to find good place, you could do some research online before you go. Order two meals when you are there and ask to have one them boxed up, you can eat this meal the next day if you are staying with someone over night.
-Pack a little bit of non-perishable food like jerky/pemmican/canned fish.
-Make the best choices possible. A couple meals of crappy food likely won't kill you. Just be reasonable with your portions and such, don't binge on junk like sugar cookies and cheesecake. You are only looking at a few days out of the year, don't let food make you holidays miserable.
I get anxious just thinking about your problem. Like you , I unfortunately have no tolerance for SAD /NADS. none! I don't vomit, but I will get depressed/fatigued. Options. Bring your own cooler or two. One for the house, and a secret one for the car! This is real Mission Impossible stuff. I'm sure there will be no room in their Fridge. Just pretend to eat the crap, and sneak off to your coolers. plus Bring food platters of things no on else will eat (offal plate with lots of toothpicks!) all nicely "decorated for xmas". You'll be able to eat the whole thing. Bring your own potatoes and butter. Smile alot. Last resort,show them your abs and tell the assholes to f*ck themsleves , you're not poisoning yourself for their pleasure/comfort. Sorry, back to reality. Just pretend it's Hogans Heroes and pretend your mother in law is Capt. Klink. and .. Next year , just don't go, if it becomes Too much". To sum it up. THE COOLERS ARE THE KEY. Without THEM you are up the proverbial creek.Hogan always had his coolers.
Agreed with the person that said ENJOY CHRISTMAS. You need to relax. My motto is that the stress of not eating Christmas dinner with your family is far more detrimental than some sugar or wheat. If you would like some tips to mitigate the effects here are some:
1) Intermittently fast before events. For example I have a X-mas party today with cake, martinis, and tons of other neo food. I do a 24 hour fast to help with calories, as well as get some benefits of IF.
2) Go for the protein. Most X-mas dinners have a large piece of meat, and a bunch of side dishes. Load up on the protein and veggies and then have a little bit of the sides. Make sure to tell whoever made whatever side how good it is and that they see you eat it.
3) Do a weight lifting session before (or if you're in a rush, some box jumps and body weight exercises- push ups etc). The glycogen (carbs) will then go to your muscles instead of your gut.
4) Skip most desserts. You can just feign being too full or that you'll have some later. Also skip all non alcoholic liquid calories.
5) Create a calorie/neo buffer the day before and after. Eat super clean and low cal. Maybe even just eat meat and eggs the day after to help with any bloating/water retention.
6) RELAX! Seriously. I can't imagine you there with a long face X-mas dinner. If Paleo is going to gain widespread acceptance we have to be a little less rigid. Now your family thinks Paleo = spoils Thanksgiving and that is not true at all!
Here is a great link for the holidays. Cheating done right!
I had my first Paleo Thanksgiving last month. The way I handled it worked for me. I hope it might work for others. I didn't tell anyone about my diet. When the food was put on the table, I just ate what was paleo -- the turkey, the veggies, and some sweet potatoes -- and just let the other dishes pass. No one said anything or even noticed because they were all so focused on their own plates of food and on the socializing. I'd even made a pumpkin pie for the occasion and when it was served, just said "no thanks" and no one cared.
There's a natural tendency to "not rock the boat" when you visit in-laws, but it's more healthy to realize these folks are now family. If you went to your mom's you wouldn't hesitate to say "wheat makes me sick so I have to skip that." You wouldn't hesitate to take some fruit and shrimp to "add to the feast."
So treat your new family the same way you'd treat the old--take care of yourself and have a good time.