When I first switched from eating a Standard American Diet to a healthier lifestyle, and then later transitioning to Paleo, I didn’t look forward to the Holidays. I actually had anxiety thinking about it. What would I eat? Did I have the willpower to not eat the foods I knew would make me feel sick and miserable? Do I have to just sit there and watch everyone else eat all of my favorite foods I used to look so forward to eating for so long? Would I ruin all of my clean eating efforts and hard work in the gym over the holiday season?
Yes, all those thoughts ran through my head, and it’s how I’ve felt for many, many, Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, Birthdays, etc. I’ve had times where I’ve just ate what I wanted – and felt sick and bloated for a solid week. I’ve had a few Holidays where all I ate was turkey and I made myself a sweet potato to eat as my side. Over the years I’ve learned how to make Holidays and family gatherings work for me. I’ve even learned how to make some of my absolute favorite dishes Paleo compliant without sacrificing any of the flavor. I bring foods that I can eat to Holidays and get togethers so I know I will have something. I never mention that its “Paleo” or “Gluten Free” or whatever it is. I’ve only had one time when people noticed (that one time when I convinced my mom to make the Thanksgiving stuffing gluten free, sorry Dad)
I wanted to provide you guys with a few, super easy, Paleo swaps you can incorporate into your Christmas dinner so you don’t have to miss out on your favorite dishes!
Cranberry Sauce: This past Thanksgiving I made a super simple version with only 3 ingredients. Swap out the refined white sugar for maple sugar, or at the very least use raw, organic cane sugar; it’s not as processed and doesn’t go through the bleaching process like white sugar does. It’s also easily available at grocery stores and doesn’t alter the taste.
12 ouces fresh cranberries, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of maple sugar
Combine and bring to a light boil on the stove top, until the berries burst. Let cool and refrigerate. That’s it and its so, so good!
Gravy – instead of using traditional white flour for the rue, use tapioca flour/starch instead! Hot tip: You can actually do this for all of your sauces to make them grain free 🙂
This Sweet Potato Casserole is my absolute favorite dish for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The first few years I was Paleo, I just didn’t eat it. Last year I asked my Mom to try to make it with coconut milk and maple sugar instead of cream and brown sugar because I didn’t think it would make it taste much different. Turns out I was right! The entire pan was ate up and no one even noticed. Just delicious as ever!
6 medium sweet potatoes
1/3 Cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 Cup Kerry Gold Grass-Fed butter or coconut oil, melted and divided – I prefer this recipe with butter, however if you cannot tolerate butter, coconut oil works as well!
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 Cup crushed pecans
2 TBS. Almond Flour
*This recipe can easily be made ahead of time. To do so, keep topping and sweet potato mixture separate, in two containers. Place sweet potato mixture in casserole dish and refrigerate if eating in the next day or two. If you would like to prepare in even further in advance, just freeze the potato mixture in a plastic freezer bag, while the topping can stay in the refrigerator.
Cooking time will vary, so keep an eye on it!
So I have recently felt compelled to share this story with all of the internet…
Okay, Im just going to toot my own horn for a minute (toot toooottt..tooot…