Holiday Eating

Bad Advice from Experts and the Media About Food

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For years, women’s magazines have been giving us ridiculous advice on how to eat over the holidays, such as: Before a party, load up on carrot sticks. When you get there, skip the appetizers, and drink white wine spritzers.

Let’s get real. Few of us overeat appetizers at holiday parties. What we do is over drink, eat carb rich, and sugar laden foods. In the meantime, there are other things going on this time of year that are contributing to our cravings.

It’s bad enough that the days are getting colder and we are spending less time outdoors, but we have the additional burden of daylight savings time, making for shorter days. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like eating cold crudities dipped in yogurt on days like this. Additionally how many of you come home from a long day at work and can’t wait to get into the kitchen to make a gourmet meal. Yeah, me neither.

So there remains the question of what to eat.  It’s easy in summer when you can pop something on the grill and make a salad, but that’s not going to work to satisfy your bodily requirements now. This is why so many of us gain weight during the winter months; we grab the richest ready made foods we can find, which usually consist of flour and bad fats.

For those of us who work in office environments and are who are constantly exposed to sugary treats like commercial candies, donuts, cookies and the like, something more that willpower will be required to overcome temptation.

Healthy  Fats

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Your secret weapon during the cold months of the year is fat. Yes, you heard me right. For years, fat has been demonized in the press and by the medical establishment. This push has been made by lobbyists on behalf of processed food companies. Of course, those companies use bad, cheap fats to create their Frankenfoods.

The fats you should rely on are not only good for your heart, your skin, hair, and overall health, but they are deeply satisfying and will leave you sated for a very long time afterward.

So what kind of fats should you be eating? This is very individual and you will have to either experiment on yourself or get tested for food allergies and sensitivities, but generally grass fed butter, coconut oil, MCT Oil, and olive oil are your best bets. Dairy can cause inflammation, so you will have to experiment with cheeses and not overeat them. Generally speaking, you should be looking for grass fed, hormone free products. Skip milk and cream altogether. Nut butters can also be problematic due to mold overgrowth and for some people who react to histamines, avocado can be a problem as well.

Superfoods

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What other superfoods can we rely on during the winter months? Sardines are a nutritional powerhouse-and all you have to do is open a can. Fatty fish like salmon can be made in minutes –either baked or broiled-with a bit of spice, lemon juice, and butter. Tuna takes a quick sear and a splash of soy sauce -gluten free of course. If you require meat, then the slow cooker can be your best friend.

Have you been avoiding egg yolks in the mistaken belief that they can damage your arteries? Nothing can be further from the truth. Eggs are a perfect food. Just make sure you buy organic and free range to get the most nutrients from them.

In terms of vegetables, look to dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. They take minutes to steam. Add garlic powder, sea salt and olive oil and you’re ready to go. Additionally these nutritional powerhouses have the advantage of being liver friendly. And that’s critical if you are going to be drinking.

Lose Weight by Refrigerating Carbs

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The quickest way to lose weight is to get carbs out of your diet. Add sweet potatoes instead. Forget Granny’s Thanksgiving recipe, which is laden with brown sugar-sweet potatoes are already sweet enough! Baked or steamed with the addition of grass fed butter such as Kerry Gold-and you will be in heaven. Baking, refrigerating for 24 hours, and then reheating potatoes increases their resistant starch content by 280%, according to some studies. You can do the same for beans, pulses, purple potatoes, and rice. But limit your intake to once or twice a week, if you want to lose weight.

After you make dietary changes to include healthy fats and still have sweet cravings, up your red meat intake. If you still crave sweets or need to sweeten coffee and tea, consider Stevia, a South American herb, which comes in a powder form and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has none of the metabolic dangers associated with commercial sugar substitutes. If you must have dessert, purchase organic cocoa powder, and in your mixer combine it with avocado, vanilla, Stevia/or maple syrup, and chocolate almond milk to make a rich and satisfying chocolate mousse which is not only healthy but indistinguishable from the dairy and sugary original.

Holiday Drinking

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And now we come to the one thing that can sabotage our best efforts during the holidays: alcohol. So what should we drink over the holidays? Whiskey, vodka, brandy, gin, tequila, and other pure alcohols have zero carbs. The lowest-carb wine option is a flute of champagne with 1 gram of carbs. Dry white and red wine have around 2 grams per serving. A typical beer has 13 grams.  It’s more than likely that the health benefits of alcohol, particularly wine, have been exaggerated. No alcohol is liver friendly, although fortunately, the liver is a self-regenerating organ. So to help you drink moderately, ask for a chaser. A bubbly mineral water will fill you up, provide much needed hydration, and help you to drink less.

Please click on the photo below to find out what your cravings really mean and which healthy foods you can substitute.