1. Use Quality Ingredients
Keep the family recipes but focus on ingredient quality. For example, buy organic vegetables instead of conventional and opt for free-range and pastured meat & dairy in place of factory farmed. This simple step will improve your health by increasing the nutritional density of your food and decreasing the amount of toxicity in your food. That's a win-win in my book. Extra bonus, more nutrient dense food tastes better!
2. Try Sugar Substitutes
Refined sugar is an anti-nutrient. This means that, in addition to being devoid of nutrients itself, it actually robs our body of it's own nutrients. That's not a good situation for our health. Refined sugar also suppresses our immune system which means we are more susceptible to "catching" the flu. So, instead of refined sugar, use substitutes like coconut sugar (great for baking), honey, and maple syrup.
3. Incorporate Healthy Fats
We often avoid saturated fats because we think they are bad for us. Unfortunately, the idea that saturated fat is bad for our health has been proven false time and time again. Functional medicine doctors, like Dr. Mark Hyman, are speaking up for healthy saturated fat consumption. Healthy fats, like coconut oil, pastured lard, and grass-fed butter provide critical fat-soluble vitamins and numerous minerals. They are also the best fats to use when cooking & baking because they are heat stable.
4. Smart Supplements
The reality is, most of us are deficient in several critical vitamins and minerals. The most important thing you can do to correct this imbalance is to buy the nutrient dense food (organic, grass-fed, pastured, and local whenever possible). However, many of us still benefit from a few specific supplements, especially when we know we'll be eating a few more treats or enjoying a few more drinks than usual (check out my suggestions below).
A few simple changes to our holiday routine can go a long way it keeping us healthy this holiday season. And, if the holidays are a stressful time of year for you, remember to prioritize a little self care. Restorative yoga, epsom salt bath, or a walk in the woods can do wonders to lessen our stress load. And lastly, if you'd like to play with some paleo versions of your favorite holiday dishes, check on the Paleo Holidays board I've created on Pinterest.