Healthy Holiday Question of the Week: How Do I Keep Healthy While Staying in Someone Else’s Home During the Holidays?

Staying with friend or family during the holidays who are slightly less than understanding about your ‘crazy’ diet which excludes grain, dairy and sugar? It can be tricky, to say the least, to stand your ground when you’re in someone else’s house, especially if that house tends to be stocked with chips, cakes, cookies and candy and all the typical holiday items while being completely void of anything green or fresh. Don’t worry, you’re not destined to doom! Following are a few ideas to help you stick to your authentic, mindful eating approach you’ve worked so hard to develop,  without stepping on toes or risking offending anyone.

  1. Don’t begin your stay by assuming your host is going to want your two cents of how he or she can be healthier simply by beginning with a few simple steps, such as cutting out foods which are often allergenic like peanuts, corn or soy.    I’ve found leading by example and meeting people where they are to be the most effective means of getting the message across.   Look out for your own needs but also, as hard as it may be, let go of your need to try to remove the corn flakes, the non dairy powdered creamer and the diet cookie packages from their pantry.   Let it be and trust that they’ll come around when and if they’re ready!
  2. Offer well in advance to help shop and cook healthy, yet tasty, side dishes so as not to appear as though you’re trying to ‘take over’ the whole meal or be a burden at all in terms of changing what the host is planning on serving for a family dinner.  Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate, hands-on, that it needn’t be a choice between eating food that is good for you and food that tastes good!
  3. Like I’ve found, as stubborn as I was for quite a while, you, too, may find it better to not even mention the word “Paleo”; half the time people don’t even know what it really is and as such, it may be best to skip classifying the way you eat as anything in particular.   After all, in today’s grocery stores where we can now find Paleo brownies, cakes and breads right next to those which are gluten-free and vegan, it’s all too confusing to defer to a label as it often leads to the whole concept of the premise of any given approach to eating in the first place!
  4. Spin any conversation about food positively. Sure, if someone asks why you’re not eating gluten, you can tell them, but it may not be a great idea to tell everyone who’s eating bread that they’re causing inflammation and leaky gut in their bodies as a dinner conversation topic. Rather, when offered a slice of pie, simply decline politely and finish with a comment about how lovely the chardonnay-poached pears taste.
  5. Ultimately, do your own thing, welcome others to join you and don’t feel the need to give unsolicited advice about what everyone else is eating. Don’t be surprised if one or two unexpected people ask about what you’re doing to have lost that weight,  increased your energy level or to have such a gorgeous complexion and then, feel free to tell them all your ‘secrets’ (or not!)