Month: November 2020
So, you overdid it…or just ate something that doesn’t work with your body. Maybe you didn’t binge per se but you abandoned the original plan and now you’re feeling the pain. You ate, maybe more than you intended, maybe differently than you intended.
Non-Primal foods were consumed – perhaps many of them or just a few in larger than planned quantities. Non-Primal and sub-Primal drinks were imbibed beyond the point of intention. And now the consequences are playing out. You’re stuck in a bloated, sloth-like, catatonic state. You’re nursing a major headache with every shade shut and the covers over your head wishing in a rather non-seasonal mindset that your children would take the noise to some distant corner of the neighborhood. Maybe you’ve taken up residence in the bathroom.
In a less dramatic scenario, perhaps you’re just pushing yourself through the day because you notice your energy is off, your digestion not up to full speed, your mood not quite as equanimous as usual. Whether you feel it was worth it or not, who wouldn’t want to reverse the course of misery itself after the fact?
Think of it this way: with health comes sensitivity to what’s unhealthy.
I think everyone can agree that things look a lot different this year. We’re planning smaller holiday gatherings with just our immediate families. There are restrictions at stores and restaurants. And, in some places, limited supplies of groceries and household items. One thing that looks the same (at least with my health coaching clients) is the internal dilemma of whether or not they’re going to stick with their healthy eating habits or say “Screw it!” and dive into a plate of real bread stuffing, cornstarch-thickened gravy, and multiple slices of pecan pie. On one hand, there’s the philosophy that holidays are a special occasion and should be treated as such. And that includes all the traditional carb-laden goodies. On the other hand, there are people who are 100 percent committed to their Primal lifestyle and prepare their holiday feast accordingly. Let me emphatically state that there’s no right or wrong answer here. Just Don’t Call it a ‘Bad Food Day’ Honestly, I don’t care if you indulge in several servings of green bean casserole or marshmallow-crusted sweet potatoes. What I do care about is the level of guilt you carry around with you after doing so. What does guilt have to do with food? Guilt is the feeling that you’ve done something wrong. At a young age, most of us are taught the difference between right and wrong. So, in a general sense, you might feel guilty if you stole something, hurt someone, or got caught up in a lie. On the other hand, you might have been rewarded or praised for doing something right (i.e. getting good grades, helping a neighbor, doing chores without being asked). Examples of Food Guilt: I shouldn’t have another piece Dessert/bread/wine is unhealthy Once I start, I can’t stop I’ve totally blown it I don’t want to see the scale tomorrow Diet culture tells us to feel bad if we overeat or indulge in *forbidden* foods. It says that a higher number on the scale is equal to lower self-worth. Don’t get me wrong, certain foods come with consequences. Depending on your bio-individuality, foods with higher amounts of sugar, industrialized oils, and artificial ingredients might leave you feeling foggy, fatigued, bloated and on the fast-track to chronic disease. But moralizing foods for their good vs bad qualities always backfires. Metabolism is Influenced by State of Mind In addition to the heavy emotional baggage you have to carry, deeming certain foods as negative actually discourages metabolic activity. It all starts in your hypothalamus, which processes senses, emotions, and biological functions like hunger. When you feel guilty about what you’re eating, the hypothalamus transmits signals that slow your digestion and cause your body to store more calories as fat versus burning them for energy. In theory, saying to yourself “this will make me fat” becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the flip side, when you enjoy food as you’re eating it, the hypothalamus releases pleasure signals that stimulate digestion so that you thoroughly break down … Continue reading “How to Enjoy Your Holiday Feast, Guilt-Free”
People rag on the holiday season for being too commercial. You can certainly go too far in that direction, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving meaningful gifts to people you care about. In fact, that’s one of the kindest acts a person can do. Today’s Primal gift guide does not consist of pointless consumerist pap that your giftees will enjoy for a day or two until the newness wears off and they move on to the next thing to spend their money on. These are useful gifts. Gifts that enhance life, that further our relationships, that expand our culinary horizons, that compel us to go out and experience the world. There’s no shame in celebrating the holidays in this manner, because these are good gifts given out of love, fellowship, and friendship—all of which embody the true meaning of the season.
Holiday get-togethers can be dicey, even uncomfortable, for those of us who eat a “weird” diet. Everyone has an opinion or a biting remark. As tempting as might be, you can’t just holler, “I’m not weird, YOU’RE weird. I’M eating a SPECIES-APPROPRIATE DIET!” in Aunt Martha’s face when she tries once again to put a biscuit on your plate. You have to say something though, right? Or do you? When do you have to explain your food choices? I’m tempted to say: Never. End of post. By and large, your diet is nobody else’s business. But communication is vital in relationships, and here’s where it gets tricky. On the one hand, you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and it’s disrespectful on their part if they expect you to justify or defend your choices. Often, though, people are just concerned, confused, or simply curious. You don’t owe these folks an explanation, but in the spirit of open communication, you might choose to offer them one. General tips for keeping the peace: Keep it personal. You won’t get as much pushback if you focus on how your diet makes you feel. Don’t launch into a lecture about phytates or how soda is ruining our country’s health. Nobody’s looking for a lesson on leaky gut and inflammation during dinner. Don’t overexplain yourself or get defensive. Keep it short and sweet, then move on. Don’t try to convert them. If you start to proselytize, you’re doing the same thing to them that they’re doing to you. Your simple explanations will plant the seeds for anyone who’s interested in learning more later. Don’t get sucked into an argument. State firmly that you’d rather not discuss your diet. If the other person continues to challenge you, walk away (or, in 2020, leave the Zoom). Beyond that, the best strategy for dealing with diet queries depends on who’s asking and why: Mild Incomprehension This is the “I don’t get it…” and “Wait, so you’re not going eat stuffing?” crowd. There’s no malice. They just can’t grasp why someone would give up bread and pasta. Strategy: Deflect “Haha, I know, I thought it was crazy when I started, too, but I can’t believe how much better I feel. Plus I get to eat all the turkey. Ooh, will you pass me a leg? Hey, how’s work going?” “No stuffing for me, thanks. I’m trying this experiment for a while longer. Did I see on Facebook that you’re writing a book?” “It’s true, I’m eating Primal/paleo/keto/carnivore now, but you don’t want to hear me ramble on about my diet. Let’s go see if Mom needs help setting the table.” Sincere Curiosity You can tell these folks from their tone of voice. They are genuinely interested in hearing what you’re doing (and maybe even trying it for themselves). Strategy: Lightly educate It’s up to you how deep you want to go here. My advice is to stick to basics and offer to talk more later. Avoid launching into a diatribe … Continue reading “Holiday Meal Script: When and How to Explain Your Food Choices”
I get a fair amount of emails from vegetarian readers asking how to start eating meat again after a period of vegetarianism or veganism. Although they see the health benefits of reclaiming omnivorism, they’re hesitant about the transition itself. As you all know, I have a number of vegetarians in my life, and there are many present and active in our MDA community. I empathize with the thinking that goes into their commitment, but I choose to eat meat and obviously encourage others to do the same for the sake of optimum health.
I’ve found their concerns generally fall into four areas that I’ll label taste, digestion, morality, and psychology. For all the vegetarians out there interested in rejoining the omnivorous side, let me take up your concerns and offer some Primal-minded suggestions.
There’s just something cozy about autumn aromas coming from the oven by day, culminating with steaming plate of home-cooked comfort food. Even if you’re laying low for the holidays this year, you can re-create your favorite family recipes that bring you back home with every bite. No Thanksgiving spread is complete without sweet potatoes or yams, and this Gluten Free Sweet Potato Souffle Recipe delivers the creamy, sweet experience without all of the sugar that traditional recipes call for. This recipe calls for small amounts of coconut sugar and maple syrup so that you get the fall flavors you crave, without the sugar crash later. Here’s how to make it. Gluten-free Sweet Potato Souffle Recipe Serves: 8 Time in the kitchen: 60 minutes, including 35 minutes baking time Ingredients For the souffle 6 medium/large sweet potatoes (mine were 6-8” long) 1 tbsp. avocado oil 1/4 cup almond milk (I used Elmhurst1925 brand) 1 tbsp. maple syrup 1 tbsp. coconut sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 tbsp. coconut flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Brand) 2 tbsp. almond flour 1-2 tsp. cinnamon pinch of salt 3 egg yolks 4 room temperature egg whites For the pecan topping 1.25 cups pecans – some halved, some crumbled 3 tbsp. very soft salted butter or ghee 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. almond flour 1.5 tbsp. coconut sugar Directions Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the sweet potatoes in half and toss them in avocado oil. Place them cut-side down on a baking dish or baking sheet and roast for about 50-60 minutes, or until they are soft. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the pecan topping. Place the pecans in a bowl along with the butter, half of the almond flour and coconut sugar. Mix to combine so the butter coats the pecans and a crumble forms. Gently fold in the remaining almond flour. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool a little, then scoop the insides out into a food processor. Add the almond milk, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract and pulse to combine. Then add the cinnamon, coconut flour, almond flour and salt and blend. Add the egg yolks and blend until smooth. Pour the sweet potato mixture into a large bowl. Whip the room temperature egg whites in a glass or metal bowl using a whisk or stand mixer until they start to get frothy (see the Tips section for tips on whipping your egg whites.) Keep whisking until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites a little at a time into the sweet potato mixture until they are incorporated evenly into the sweet potatoes. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle the pecan mixture all over the top. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the sweet potato feels firm yet springy. Allow the souffle to cool for a few minutes before serving. Tips You can use your favorite milk in lieu … Continue reading “Gluten Free Sweet Potato Souffle Recipe”