Holiday Eating Strategy 1: Eat More Fat

How about some rich coconut cream in your coffee with a dash of nutmeg?  Takes away the need for sweet!

With the holidays now in full swing, you’re probably finding yourself in a conundrum. Stick to your ‘diet’ and place yourself in solitary food confinement or throw it all out the window in order to not miss out on all the holiday fun, right?

Not so fast.

It really doesn’t have to be one or the other and no, I’m not going to suggest ‘everything in moderation.

We all know that if the ‘everything’ includes items with sugar, all too often, it doesn’t end at just one cookie or a single candy cane.

White sugar is an addictive substance[1], so let’s just call a spade a spade and agree that it’s got to go right off the bat.

Rip off the sugar Band-Aid cold turkey and you’ll achieve step one. It’ll hurt for a short period of time, but it’ll be a short-lived suffer-fest and one that is well worth it in the long run.

But wait a sec… how can we enjoy the holidays without sugar? Isn’t it in nearly everything?

Actually, it is…nearly in everything processed, that is.

Today added sugar is everywhere, used in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods purchased in the United States. The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day[2].

One pound of sugar equals 2 ¼ cups[3], so that means the average American is eating at least ½ cup of sugar each and every day.

How repulsive is that?

What are we doing?

Granted, a large part of the onus mall fall upon the food manufacturers, but we’ve also got to take some responsibility and make ourselves aware of what we’re eating.

So circling back to how to enjoy holiday fare without white sugar and not depriving ourselves then, how to proceed?

That’s easy.

Go with fat!

How do some freshly toasted, spiced pecans sound, to offer guests upon arrival at your home for an early Christmas get together? Avocado wrapped in smoked salmon canapés as passed hors d’ouevres? Uncured, pasture-raised bacon and diced shallots pan seared with Brussels sprouts as a side dish along with crisp, roast duck (yes, skin included) as the main course? And a frothy, coconut-cream coffee with nutmeg and a dash of vanilla to cap off the evening?  

Doesn’t sound like any ‘diet’ plan I’ve heard of.

With the exception of original iterations of low carb approaches like Atkins[4] and over a century before that, Banting’s Letter on Corpulence[5], nearly all the modern day approaches to weight loss focus on low calorie, low fat and for lack of a better phrase, a boring, restrictive approach that not many can sustain for a long period of time.

By following this methodology over the, we’ve seen tremendous increases in obesity and diabetes (rates have doubled in the past twenty years[6]) and long, dirty laundry list of related health problems.

We’re getting fatter and sicker as a nation, yet we continue to follow the same bad advice.

Keeping all of that in mind, let’s reposition how we approach the holiday season.

Cut the sugar as in: cut the sweets, not go for the artificially sweetened stuff, which doesn’t do us any favors either.

We’ve all heard that before. And it’s hard, right?

Not if it’s done at the same time as significantly upping the fat.

More olive oil, more avocado, more coconut oil, some more raw, sprouts walnuts (as long as you’re not dealing with an autoimmune condition), more wild oily fish like salmon, more grass fed beef. For those who eat dairy, nix the skim milk and go for full fat heavy cream, making sure it’s from a grass fed cow.

It’s not adding huge amounts of calories of fat to what you’re already eating. It’s more fat but far less sugar.

And it’s not because you can ‘eat unlimited fat’.

Rather, it’s because you’ll be more satiated, your blood sugar will stabilize and when you’re hungry for your next meal, you’ll make better choices because it’s a gentle hunger that gives you a tap on the shoulder reminding you it’s time for some sautéed kale in garlic with a grilled rib eye and avocado, several hours after you ate your last meal.

It’s not that horrible, sharp sugar crash hunger that makes you feel you’ve got to eat anything immediately or end up sleeping on the floor.

This isn’t anecdotal.

There’s research behind it and the theme of my blog for the rest of the week will tune in to more of this, with an emphasis on how we can craft our own higher fat eating plan now, at the start of the holidays rather than putting off losing those pounds for yet another New Year.

So grab your cup of coffee or tea, whip in some coconut butter and join in each morning for some holiday specific strategies.

How nice to be able to enjoy the season once and for all without feeling you’re missing out and land on January 1st leaner, lighter and more focused!


[1] Avena, Nicole M., Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel. “Evidence for Sugar Addiction: Behavioral and Neurochemical Effects of Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake.” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015

[2] Dinicolantonio, James J., and Sean C. Lucan. “Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2015

[3] Measurement and Conversion Charts | Domino Sugar.” Measurement and Conversion Charts | Domino Sugar. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.


[4] Atkins, Robert C., Fran Gare. Mandell, and Helen Monica. Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution: The High Calorie Way to Stay Thin Forever. Toronto: London, 1973. Print

[5] Banting, William. Letter on Corpulence: Addressed to the Public. London: Harrison, 1864. Print

[6] Pre-diabetes and Diabetes Nearly Double Over the Past Two Decades.” John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. John Hopkins, 15 Apr. 2014. Web.