Holiday Dinner Party Survival Tips

November 23rd, 2013

Your situation ... You're a raw foodist. Or a vegetarian or vegan, or you're on a health promoting diet of your own design. And it's the holidays.

No matter where you might be along your nutritional road, you will feel some temptation. Here's a compendium of tips to arm yourself for this holiday season ...

Treat yourself: Plan a few treats for yourself in advance. Psychologically, the holidays are a time we feel we deserve special little things, food included. Give yourself a few treats, but think them through. Today's treat could be as simple as Spirulina and Cashew Live Food Bar, or those really good nuts you rarely go for. Or go for a beauty product you've always wanted. The key: Whatever extras you buy, label them in your mind and in your talk as treats. Then you won't feel deprived and will feel less desire to go for those chocolate Santas.

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Come out of the closet: Many new raw foodists, new vegans, new vegetarians, new "healthy" eaters feel embarrassed - especially at parties. We don't want to get "caught," to have to explain, justify, fend off questions and comments: Hey, Debbie, you LOVE Sandy's potato salad-how come you're not having any? If the occasion's right, head that whole thing off at the pass. Announce yourself: Oh, Sandy! I see you've made that fabulous potato salad. I used to love that before I started on raw foods...The downside: You'll probably start a conversation. Upside: You're starting it on your terms, when and with whom you want, and it'll soon be over.

"Normal" eaters go on diets in January, after they've gone over the million-calorie cliff. Smart eaters recognize the Chanukah / Christmas / New Year's season as a good time to start or re-start a more disciplined eating program. Announcing your intent is a great way to launch it.

Fake it: Alcoholics feel bothered when others don't have drinks in their hands. "Normal" eaters packing it away at a party feel awkward when they see a plate of food conspicuously missing from your hands. So put one there. Go for the broccoli-and-carrot dish, stick a few on a plate. If you don't want to eat any of it, don't. But your being seen with that plate will relieve you of being perceived as anti-social.

Forgive yourself: You did it. Three months raw. And last night, lickety-split, you downed a plate of turkey and dressing, with cranberry sauce. A glass of wine, too. And one of Debbie's homemade chocolates. (Okay, eight.) You may think you've sinned. You haven't-not from this single slip. Nor have you "ruined" your record. The practical negative nutritional effect of your one night of indulgence: nil. It's the second indulgence you can't afford. (Geometry: A point is just a point, and defines nothing. Two points, however, define a line, and this one's a line you don't want to follow.) Just don't put yourself in the same spot again. 

Get your beauty rest: Get there when the party starts. Plan to leave early. You can invent an excuse. (You invented lots when you were eating badly, didn't you!)

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Refresh, re-moisturize in the morning: Go very light on food and give a lot of care to your face. Ice cubes to re-moisturize your eyelids and adjacent areas. A good facial scrub or dry brushing. Good quality cream. These will help you feel revitalized and refreshed after an evening exposed to an overheated room and the particulate matter that comes from tonnages of cooked food, and perhaps cigarette smoke. What's more, these will feel like treats to reward yourself for having kept to your regimen.

The holidays needn't be a white-knuckle ride for anyone-especially those who know they're achieving better health and better looks through the best nutritional program ever.

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