By Chef Tina Jo Stephens
Friends, the holidays are officially upon us, and I don’t know about you, but this is the always the busiest time of year for me! When I first started eating raw foods nearly 10 years ago, I panicked at the thought of how I would make it through all the holiday food affairs. Parties, snacking, nibbling, cooking, entertaining, food gifts, weight gain worries and my carnivorous family and friends’ appetites sent me into panic mode! Sound familiar?
Well, thankfully, over the years I have learned not to worry so much about staying perfect during the holiday season. Whether you’re new to raw foods or a seasoned expert, this is not the time of year to be fretting about that nibble of stuffing, sweet potatoes or cookie you just ate. A healthy mind begins with a healthy body and a healthy body begins with a healthy mind. The gratitude and intention that you ingest with your food is just as important as the food itself. If you have a little slip up this holiday season, forget about it and move on. Know that you do the best for your body and little mistakes, whether it be a cookie or cooked potatoes, are no big deal. Just eat that cookie with gratitude and love and move on! The guilt you create with bad self-talk is probably a whole lot worse than the darn cookie!
If it makes you feel good, do it. This is no time to worry or criticize yourself; this is the time to begin celebration and giving thanks, for blessings received and given, and to stay true to your compassionate self and your loved ones. As the New Year approaches you have plenty of opportunity to grow stronger in your convictions about your loving path toward optimal health, by way of a raw vegan lifestyle, all year long.
So, here are a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays:
Stop the bad self-talk.
Now is not the time to lecture yourself over any past wrong turns, diet slip-ups or mistakes made this year. Love yourself completely and abundantly. Enjoy food offerings in whatever form they take. You need not indulge, but temptations will be everywhere; moderation is the key. Your cooked food cravings aren’t going away unless you’ve been raw for many years and, even then, it can still be challenging. Staying consistently raw is not easy during this season, especially if you’ve just begun a raw diet – so think about it as making individual healthy decisions, one situation at a time. Don’t sweat it. Tomorrow is another day.
Do this while standing in front of that table full of cooked food. Take a long deep breath, then walk away. Stay calm, while remembering why you went raw in the first place. Reconnect with those reasons while you walk away. Then concentrate on focusing your full attention on talking to someone that is far away from the food. Really being present in your conversations with others helps the voice chattering about food in your head disappear. So engage, listen and enjoy yourself!
Start new raw traditions.
Here’s your chance to show your friends and family that raw food is more than just grazing on a plate of fruit. Bring out those recipes that will leave them breathless and begging for more. Take a beautiful apple pie brandy crumble (or other traditional converted holiday dishes like vegan crab cakes with wasabi mayonnaise) to your relative’s house. Serve up some decadent sweet raw chocolate or peanut butter goji fudge at your party, and let everyone savor its goodness. Make it a point to share your raw food delicacies with your family and friends everywhere you go during the holidays and forever! Maybe your healthy passions will catch on.
Before attending any party, fill up with as much raw goodness as you possibly can. If it’s a work party, bring your own food there, then take a break and eat first, or load up that morning before leaving. Indulge in your all-time favorite, refreshing green smoothie, juice or power snack bar right before you go. Have plenty of fresh cold water on hand at ALL times. Never be without it. Buy yourself the prettiest portable water bottle possible, and wear that bottle like a diamond ring!
Try attending all Raw Potluck Holiday Parties.
I know this is not always practical, but here you will find fellowship with like-minded individuals, who fully support and understand your lifestyle and there are no unwanted food temptations. You’ll meet new friends who will help you stay on track throughout the rest of your raw food journey. You’ll also learn new recipes and that is always fun no matter how long you’ve been raw!
All the best this season. Happy Holidays!
About Chef Tina Jo:
Through her books, DVDs, and programs, Chef Tina Jo is teaching Americans how to make healthy lifestyles DELICIOUS, bringing live whole foods back to the dinner table one dinner plate at a time. Learn more at www.cheftinajo.com.Chef Tina Jo is a highly respected Gourmet Raw Vegan Chef, Author, Speaker and Coach known internationally for her humor and down–to–earth approach to raw veganism. She, along with her TV show Splendor in the Raw, was awarded Top 10 Best Show, Best Chef and Best Website in the Best of Raw 2009 Awards. She has made it her life’s mission to bring super delicious, fresh, simple, fun, affordable raw vegan food to the mainstream.