I wrote this blog post last year, but I think it applies to all gatherings not just Christmas.
Christmas is just around the corner and if like me, you’re going to be spending time with people who are not plant based, this blog is for you!
The Christmas period is often a long one. In the build up to the big day, it usually involves work do’s, social functions, bring a plate get together’s and the countless morning/afternoon tea shouts at work. Christmas is traditionally seen as the time where it’s acceptable to over indulge in rich foods, over eat and drink alcohol at breakfast!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas even though I’m still not used to it being hot here in New Zealand. I love seeing relatives we’ve been meaning to catch up with all year and the spirit of kindness embodied by everyone.
The thing I’ve struggled with is visiting and eating with people who aren’t plant based. Now that I’ve done a plant based Christmas twice; I’m sharing the tips I’ve learnt along the way. Hopefully they will save you from learning the hard way; offending anyone or being offended.
1. Always offer to bring a dish or two to share
Call the host ahead of time and explain the situation. Say that you’ve been plant based for xxxxx amount of time and you’d like to make it easy for them by bringing a couple of dishes to share. This will take the pressure off the host trying to figure out what to make for you!
2. Dinner parties where everyone is eating standard food is not the best time to launch into all of your knowledge and education about nutrition
If you’re like me, you were so excited to tell anyone who would listen (or not) about all the new things you’ve learnt about the plant based diet and nutrition. But believe me when I say that Uncle Bill doesn’t want to hear about how the glazed ham he won at the raffle is clogging his arteries; especially after Aunt Sally spent 4 hours cooking it. If anyone asks you about the plant based diet at the table; say that you’d love to tell them all about it and suggest that you talk about it another time. Maybe offer to send them some information via email or suggest you go out to lunch to talk more about it.
3. Use Dr. Doug Lisle’s “seem strategy.”
If there are people who are insistent in asking about what you are eating, there is a simple answer that helps to diffuse the most persistent people. If someone starts questioning you about your diet simply respond, “It seems to be working for me.”
4. Compliment the host
Even if you can’t eat the food served, be sure to compliment the host on how nice everything looks. Also, be sure to thank them for inviting you. This may feel strange, but in my experience it will quell the need for anyone to comment further about what you can/can’t eat. It will also show that you’re not judging them.
5. Eat before you go as an insurance policy
When you have no idea what food will be offered, it’s a good idea to fill your belly with a healthy plant-strong snack or meal beforehand. This will keep you satisfied and prevent you from diving into the contraband! A hungry tummy makes mental midgets out of all of us. For some snack ideas, check out my Get Set For Summer – Meal Plan & Cook Book
6. Bring dessert!
Everyone loves dessert! I love bringing some of my favorites; Raw Strawberry Cheesecake, Date & Almond Cookies, or Christmas Chocolate Slab. Everyone loves all of these and they are super easy to make!
7. The host may offer to make a dish that you can eat
Give some suggestions that are easy to make with ingredients that are familiar and tell them what plant based means. Again, be sure that you thank the host for their time and for being so considerate of the way you eat.
8. Drink water and go easy on the booze
Naughty food and a tipsy head make for a bad combination! This is especially true if alcohol triggers you to eat junk food. When you’re intoxicated, it can be more difficult to keep your resolve and succumb to pressure or temptation. I’m not saying don’t drink any alcohol; only you know what work’s for you, but be sure to keep yourself hydrated with water during parties.
9. Remember that it’s not all about food!
I love hanging out with my family and friends. Sometimes we make social engagements all about food, when they should be about the people who are there! One of the wonderful things I have discovered is that the longer you stay on the plant based path, the more friends you find in your life who are also plant based.
When you find yourself visiting friends and family who do not follow the plant based lifestyle, remember that you are the only one responsible for your health and nobody cares about your health and well being as much as you! Stay plant-strong!
10. Remember that tomorrow is another day
Whatever stage of the journey you’re on, be kind to yourself. Christmas can be a stressful time and the last thing you need is to be berating yourself for falling off the wagon.
⭐The only person judging you is you ⭐ Tomorrow is another chance to start over ⭐ Love yourself and the skin you’re in ⭐ Strive for progress, not perfection
For more tips take a look at my eBook; You Are What You Eat – A Guide to Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet.