Many of us look forward to this time of year as the season where one can let a little loose, enjoy some holiday treats (even a raw foodist like myself included!) and the company of our fellow family members and friends.
But a few holiday parties into December, most of us start to wonder how we can make it through without losing complete control.
This week, I’ll focus on some key tips to get you through the holiday season without complete deprivation, plus some amazing recipes to keep your enthusiasm up.
1. It is okay to “spoil your dinner.” Try enjoying a small green or nut-milk smoothie, some fruit or crudités with a raw dip before leaving to go to your dinner or party – anything that is not calorie-dense is key.
This way you can stand back and pick the dishes you want to try and leave those you do not (instead of engulfing the whole table).
2. Mix calorie-dense foods like crackers, pastries, and dips with foods that are less calorie-dense, like vegetables, fruits and water-based soups. Foods that are less calorie-dense contain more water and far fewer calories, so pairing them with denser foods makes it much easier on your system.
3. Bring a healthy dish or dessert to parties and dinners (this works really well for family dinners, too, where they’ll worry about what to feed you – and they will!). There are so many absolutely, delicious raw desserts that your friends and family will not even know it is raw.
Try bringing a raw apple crisp as a dessert (recipe below) or Apple Ginger Cookies (below), or if you want to bring a main dish, try some Rosemary Holiday Loaf (recipe below) with Cranberry Sauce (recipe below) and your own Not-Egg Nog (see below). For something cooked vegan, try a quinoa dish with roasted butternut squash, cranberries and warm spices that will tingle everyone’s taste buds.
4. Try to space out alcoholic or sugary drinks with soda water (rule of thumb: one alcoholic beverage to 3 water or soda water) and limit the amount of sugar-laden food on your plate to a small taste.
By enjoying smaller bites of rich foods, we can make it into a zen experiment to eat more mindfully and taste every morsel we can (we usually eat less this way too since we more quickly realize how full we already are).
5. Parties and dinners aside, forget the oops moments; focus instead on maintaining your good habits like juicing, green smoothies and salads. It matters more to keep the healthy habits, instead of letting the holiday treats bring you down. This way, the holiday snacking (and the holidays) will pass but you’ll still have your healthy habits in tact.
What are your holiday survival tips? Jump in on the discussion below.
Festive Raw Holiday Recipes
Creamy Not-Egg Nog
For those of you who miss eggnog, this recipe definitely hits the spot! You may use any type of nut milk, however almond is my favourite for this recipe.
2 cups almond milk
½ cup raw macadamia nuts
½ cup soaked dates
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. cardamom powder
¼ ginger powder
2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
pinch sea salt
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and blend until nuts are fully incorporated. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg if desired.
Orange Cranberry Relish
You can get creative with this relish – try adding pomegranates, kiwis or other Christmas time dried fruits.
2 cups cranberries
3 clementines, peeled with pith removed
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp shallot, finely diced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp pysllium powder
Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until incorporated. Let sit for about 20-30 minutes to thicken, then serve.
Festive Rosemary Not-Meatloaf
This meatloaf has a tender texture with all the right seasonings. You may use it as a pate (before dehydrating) or shape as a loaf and dehydrate for a “meatloaf” experience.
1 cup walnuts, soaked
1 cup pecans, soaked
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup zucchini, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper
½ cup tomato, seeded and chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
2 shallots, chopped
½ cup shitake mushrooms, marinated 15-20 minutes in 1 Tbsp tamari sauce
3 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1 Tbsp fresh sage
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cloves garlic, microplaned
¾ Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. ginger, grated
¾ tsp dried mixed herbs
½ tsp. five spice
½ tsp dried tarragon
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cumin powder
Place the walnuts and pecans in a food processor and process into a course grind. Add the spices, seasonings, lemon juice and oil and pulse again, being careful not to over process pecans. Add the celery, zucchini, bell pepper, shallots, mushrooms and parsley and process until incorporated, making sure to leave the vegetables a bit chunky. Form into a loaf shape, about 1.5 -2 inches high, on a dehydrator tray lined with a teflex sheet. Dehydrate overnight, about 8-10 hours, than flip and dehydrate another 4-6 hours. Just be careful to not let it get too crispy, you want a tender, soft centre.
Raw Apple Crisp to Wow Anyone
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup cashews
1 cup oat flour*
½ cup cup dates (Medjool are my favourite)
½ cup raisins
2 Tbsp coconut sugar (optional – can replace with same measurement of raisins if want to keep raw)
¼ tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp maple syrup (or agave)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
5-6 large apples apples sliced thinly
Whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and gently toss with apples. Use immediately or let sit for a couple of hours in the fridge. Place pecans, cashews and oat flour in a food processor and quickly grind to a rough meal. Evenly distribute the dates, coconut sugar and sea salt around the food processor and process again, making sure not to over-process the pecans. At the last minute, gently pour in the water, a Tbsp at a time, to make it slightly stick together (it should resemble a crumble, not a denser crust). Spread half the mixture on the bottom of a pan. Arrange the apples overtop, then sprinkle the rest of the crust over the top. You may warm this in an oven set to the very lowest temperature for 10-15 mins or preferably in a dehydrator at 135° for an hour.
*You can make oat flour by grinding whole oat groats. You can also use rolled oats, although they are not raw.
*A healthier alternative to sugar, it raises blood sugar less and has a low GI, contains natural vitamins and minerals, although is not technically raw.
Ginger Apple Cookies
1 cup almonds, soaked
¾ cup dates soaked (keep the soak water)
½ cup apples, chopped
2 Tbsp ginger shredded
2 tsp pumpin pie spice
pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp black strap molasses (optional as not raw)
Process all the ingredients together in a food processor. Then transfer to a dehydrator tray with a teflex sheet and form into little cookies. Dehydrate on one side for 8-10 hours, than flip over and dehydrate another 4-6 hours or more, depending on how crispy you like your cookies.
Above all, enjoy and have an amazing holiday experience!
As well – tell me – what are your holiday survival tips? Please share with your friends on Facebook too. Join in the discussion below!
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