Holiday Tip # 4 : Handling Non Paleo Family Holiday Traditions

Yes, it’s easy to stay Paleo in our own homes, as well as at restaurants, but what if we’re attending an intimate holiday dinner party…and there’s nothing but pasta, bread and cheese?

One reader a few years ago wrote in asking for help with an upcoming situation that she was scared to face:  dealing with her mom’s reaction when she went home and told her she was not going to be able to partake in much of the traditional Italian Christmas dishes she’d be preparing for several days.  Earlier than year, she’d found out he had Celiac disease and had subsequently cut gluten, then went completely Paleo.

During several phone calls, she’d shared with her mom that she’d been feeling much better, in particular much of her GI distress had subsided, but when she mentioned not being able to eat wheat and all its derivative products, including pasta, her mom took personal offense.

The same thing happened a few more times, thus her fear of going home and facing the holidays.

  • If you’re in a similar situation, make a point to discuss well in advance with the host, even if it is your mom, privately, and let them know there is a legitimate reason why you’re not eating these foods. No, it’s not a fad diet, and yes, there are serious health consequences to ingesting them.
  • Share some of your paleo-ized versions of traditional recipes and offer to make them in advance, or perhaps suggest a group effort, or even ask for their input, making them feel special by giving them an opportunity to contribute.
  • Highlight other family holiday traditions, like choosing the tree together, or collecting toys for a local charity and stress the importance of the significance of other parts of the holiday season, rather than just the parts involving food.
  • In situations where the host is simply unwilling to listen, know you’ve done your best to explain yourself and stick to your Paleo guns.  You’re the only one who’s going to feel ill if you opt to eat foods  you don’t even want just to please someone else. In the words of a client, “I am not eating a bagel for anyone, ever again!”