A Paleo Guest at a Non Paleo Thanksgiving?

Don’t panic.  It can be done. 

Granted, it’s far easier to stay Paleo when you’re the host, but even if you’re going to the most traditional of parties for turkey day, you can still stand your ground with some simple preparation strategies.

  • Call ahead and explain to the host/hostess that you’ve recently learned you have some food allergies and that you’d like to bring a few dishes to share with everyone.  Emphasize that you don’t need anything special prepared for you so it’s clear that you’re not asking the menu to be changed.  The term ‘food allergies’ does a nice job summing it all up, rather than explaining you’re no longer eating grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and salt because you’re Paleo… unless you know the host well and are fairly sure they’d be interested.
  • On the day of the meal, make sure to keep your meals balanced leading up to the main dinner.  The idea of ‘saving calories’ in order to eat large quantities later than day often ends up backfiring via over eating in a big way.
  • Once at the gathering, as always, chat about Paleo when asked, rather than turning the theme into a lecture about the dangers of anti nutrients.  It’s really not the time or place, again, unless someone asks.  Incidentally, don’t be surprised if someone does ask; if you’ve been Paleo for a while now and have cleared up your skin, lost that weight or are exuding energy now more than ever, it’s almost guaranteed others will want to know what your secret is!
  • Focus on the positive.  If you have that overbearing family member or friend who tried to force you to ‘just try it’, politely explain you really cannot, for medical reasons, eat any gluten/dairy etc.  Worse case scenario, you could always use that tactic of too much information in this isolated instance, but save it for that. Someone who is over the top pushy and cannot be stopped just may need to be pulled off to the side to a quiet conversation with just a little bit of  ‘well, you see, if I were to have a bite of that pie, the gluten would make me quite bloated and crampy and might lead either to constipation or diarrhea…”  Again- way too much information, but in an absolute pinch, it could do the trick.

While I’m kidding about that last pointer (kind of), the take away is that even when you’re at the house of the most picky or pushy person, you don’t have to give in and eat non Paleo foods.  Chances are, however, that this situation would not be the norm.  I find that nine times out of ten, the host is more than happy to honor everyone’s eating preferences, especially when you’ve offered to help them with the prep!