Call It What You Will

Nutrition. It’s a very touchy subject. It’s one of those topics, like politics or religion, that you try to avoid on holidays. I don’t really love getting into how bad wheat is for you while everyone is huddled around the mountain of Christmas cookies, lovingly baked by some lovely person. I’m just not a fan of those awkward conversations. I try to be as non-judgmental as possible. People are allowed their opinions and I am okay with that. It doesn’t mean I agree, but I don’t lose sleep. People get pretty defensive if you tread on their food choices, especially if it’s not the “best” food choice one could be making. In general, people know what’s “good” for them and what’s “not-so-good” for them. But that’s about where the knowledge ends.

What really irks me is when others pass judgement about they way that I eat, without really knowing how I eat or why I do it. In the past two weeks that have been two examples of this. I don’t want to get into gory details, but the gist went something like this…

One does not need to go to the extreme of a Paleo Diet. I recommend a diet of fruits and vegetables and lean meats, low in processed foods. 

Hmmmm. That sounds an awful lot like the Paleo Diet to me! And by the way, a cardiologist said this. Call it what you will; clean eating, Paleo, Caveman, whatever…for the most part we are all on the same page. The main goal is to not eat the crap with ingredients that you can’t pronounce! Reducing or eliminating processed grains and sugar is important whether you eat Paleo or not. Eat some white rice here and there? Sure. Go out and have some chips and salsa? Go for it. The goal is to make the best choices we can, most of the time. If you’re a grown-ass person, you can choose what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat. But if you completely disregard the importance of nutrition and diet, there will eventually be consequences. You are not a genetic anomaly, it will catch up with you.

As someone who is concerned with what you eat, here are my tips for getting through the holidays:

  • Enjoy yourself. If you know that you will be a complete Grinch unless you get one of your grandmother’s famous cookies, eat one! Conversely, if you know that sugar makes you depressed and gluten makes you achy, avoid them!

  • Beware the slippery slope. If you know that eating cookies will derail you completely and cause you to do more damage than good, it’s probably best to avoid the cookies.

  • Bring something. If you are going to a holiday party or gathering, bring something you know you can eat, guilt-free.

  • Make a plan. Go into events and gatherings with a game plan. Whether it’s a 2-drink limit, or a 3-cookie limit, create boundaries for yourself and stick to them.

  • Water rule. Drink a glass of water or seltzer water between each alcoholic drink. This will keep you hydrated and feeling full.

  • Don’t feel compelled to justify why you eat the way you do. If someone asks you why you aren’t eating something, throw it back to them and ask them why they are eating it.

  • Avoid debating food choices with friends and family. It’s the holidays, let it go. Take comfort and pride in knowing that you are doing the very best you can.

  • Attempt to focus on the experience and not the eating. Although holiday gatherings tend to revolve around food, and food is an important part of tradition, make it a goal to focus on the people there. Make it a point to check in with everyone you’re with; spend more time flapping your lips and less time chewing.
  • Note: There’s lots of debate about what a “clean” diet really is. In my opinion, these debates are a waste of time. Try this: eat filet minion, asparagus, and sweet potato one night. The next night eat a bowl of pasta with alfredo sauce with some breadsticks on the side. Compare how you felt when you woke up in the morning, and how you slept during the night? 

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