Sometimes the information that is handed out so freely about nutrition and wellness can be overwhelming, especially when you find contradictory articles that are based more on social and egotistical opinion as opposed to factual evidence. Ever feel like staying healthy in a world full of all different dietary preferences, levels of opinion and knowledge can be tough?
How can it not be? There are specialists on all parts of the spectrum fighting for their beliefs and views – debating things that can’t so easily be debated. We are all so different, we all have very different needs and wants. Saying that a fully raw diet is the ultimate way just doesn’t jive with some people, with their sensitive digestive tracts and their geographical environment. Same goes for those who are flat against eating meat, wheat, or even kale for that matter. Each individual is entitled to their own taste preference, their own texture preference and their own special set of nutritional requirements. Unfortunately sometimes having these preferences can cause a bit of an upset and can shake up the norm when folks just aren’t ready to be shaken.
This time of year can be especially difficult, what with Christmas parties and family gatherings. Even more so if the family and friends surrounding you don’t understand or respect the lifestyle choices you make in regards to the foods you eat + do not eat. It seems that typically the holidays are seen as a time for mega consuming. Feasting. Gorging, even.
Eating healthy despite social pressures can sometimes be a challenge, for sure. I am sure that any celiac, lacto intolerant, vegan, vegetarian or any other more conscientious eater has walked into a restaurant to meet a group of friends and been faced with no choice beyond a garden salad. Am I wrong? I might be going out on a limb here, but I think I am more than likely correct. Maybe you chose the garden salad with balsamic dressing because the house has gluten, or maybe you went with the mac ‘n’ cheese. Perhaps you chose the mac because you had a long day, and you just didn’t feel like listening to that one friend (you know the one) go on about coming to a restaurant to order rabbit food. Or, maybe just maybe, you chose the salad and had a great time.
My point is that we all are fully able to make that choice. That’s the beauty of it, of free will and intelligent minds.
If you chose the mac then I’m here telling you right this moment, there is no need to compromise your choices. I give you permission to absolutely stand your ground and refuse those refined sugar/flour cookies – politely, of course. Permission to smile warmly at the person referring to your meal as rabbit food and possibly even offering them a bite, bunnies are darn cute you know! If you choose to stay away from wheat and gluten based on the research or reading that you have done or better yet because of the signs your body gives you that it doesn’t like it – then stay away from it. If you feel the same about dairy, or you don’t agree with butchering animals and over fishing the oceans – stick to it.
I spent many years being notoriously too nice & polite to hold strong in the power of my choice and say no to things that were offered to me which did not fall into the boundaries I set for my nutrition. Those days are long gone.
Instead of feeling guilty about having to say no to a coworkers home baked Christmas cake, a family members massive turkey dinner, or even just a glass of sugary spiked eggnog – bring something of your own that is an alternative. People learn by doing, experiencing and tasting. Saying no to the turkey on the menu & providing an alternative for anyone who might be willing is far more likely to go over well than just saying no straight up.
My favorite way to stay healthy & rise above social pressures is to lead by example. If there is someone in your life who isn’t sure about the changes your are making, or have made, show them. Don’t tell them, give them the experience the way you enjoy it. For me, something simple bright and full of fresh flavors is the no-brainer way to go.
- Give yourself the permission to say no to foods that are outside of the boundaries you set for your nutrition. If you are willing to make exceptions and compromises – that’s fine, but if it’s something that you aren’t keen on then don’t do it
- You know what, while I’m at it – give yourself permission to say no period. You don’t want to hit the holiday party with your girlfriends? Then don’t. You don’t feel like hosting multiple family dinners? Well then don’t. Claim the holiday time as your own, be selfish & spend it just as you please
- If you know that friends or family are going to be bringing in treats & you don’t want to be the only one not feasting – bring some of your own for everyone to try. Blow people away with these raw coconut hand cones filled with papaya & cucumber, something sweet & rich like Pistachio & Raw Chocolate Peaches, something comforting like Maple, Butternut & Ginger Muffins or something light and savory like Brazil Nut Cheese with Roasted Rosemary Apricots
- Enjoy & Relax. Don’t get worked up about what you will or won’t be able to eat, about the potential razzing or questioning from friends and family. It’s about love, it’s about togetherness – no one holds or attends a gathering without those two things. Remember that!
- 1 Package of Raw Young Coconut Meat (454g or more)
- ½ Cup Water + 2 Tablespoons
- 1 Medium Papaya
- 1 Long English Cucumber
- 1 Bunch of Cilantro
- 2 Limes
- Black Sesame Seeds for Garnish
- Empty the package of coconut meat + water into a high speed blender and blitz until smooth.
- Spread the coconut thinly onto two or three solid non stick dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115 for 6 hours or until dry but still pliable *if you do not have a dehydrator, use your oven at the lowest setting and check it throughout as it may dry faster*.
- Once the sheets are ready remove from the dehydrator and cut into four squares (note, if the coconut wrappers are too dry spritz them with filtered water through a mister bottle).
- Peel & slice the papaya and the cucumber into long thin strips.
- Arrange equal amounts of papaya and cucumber on each of the square coconut wrappers, add a sprig of fresh cilantro & roll into a cone shape.
- Arrange on a serving platter, squeeze ¼ of a lime for each 4 cones on the platter then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Serve with extra lime quarters.