by Tracey Reed, C.H.N.C. (www.traceyreed.ca)
Wondering how to prepare for a traditional Christmas dinner while still supporting your gut? Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the idea of a Paleo Christmas?
Don’t worry. It’s much easier than you think. Here are a few simple ideas to ensure you have a delicious, traditional meal that no one will even know is Paleo and gut-healthy.
Keep the Turkey and Ham
You won’t need to change anything here. Whether your traditional meal involves turkey or ham, you can keep it. Look for pasture raised animals, and if you plan on ham, then make sure it is traditionally cured and doesn’t contain nitrates.
Add a Vegetable Gravy
Yum! If you have never tried this, it’s worth it. Just puree chicken stock with well cooked vegetables. Easy, delicious, and a super way to add vegetables to Christmas Dinner. My favourite is a Cauliflower Gravy by The Paleo Mom.
Replace Mashed Potatoes
There are a few different things that work well to replace mashed potatoes. Mashed cauliflower is a classic Paleo replacement, but if you are already using the Cauliflower Gravy, then you’ll likely want to try something else. Mashed butternut squash or mashed kohlrabi are two of my favourites. Cut these into cubes and steam them, or whole squash can be roasted instead. Once cooked, add a full-fat canned coconut milk, or a nut milk and butter/ghee and mash or puree until you reach the desired consistency. Season with a bit of Himalayan or sea salt.
Stuffing looks a bit different when it’s gut-healthy, but that doesn’t mean flavour gets compromised. There are so many different recipes out there, that I can’t even choose one to recommend. Do a search for paleo stuffing recipes to find one you like. To make it gut-healthy replace sweet potato with squash, and if there is maple syrup, then use honey instead. My mouth is watering just thinking about stuffing. I’ve eaten stuffing on it’s own as a meal, so go ahead and make extra.
Traditional Baking Reworked
I grew up with a German mom, and Christmas in our household revolved around traditional German baking. Breakfast on Christmas day included stollen, which is a loaf that is full of nuts, dried fruit and candied citrus peel. After Christmas dinner, a variety of 13 different kinds of cookies and 3 kinds of fruit bread were laid out. While I have never been able to match the quantity of baking my mom accomplished (I have no idea how she did it), I have been able to convert my favourites into gut-healthy versions. My stollen and fruit bread is made with almond flour, and I use date sugar or date paste instead of sugar, since honey burns easily and these two items take a long time to bake. My favourite cookies have also been converted.
What is your favourite traditional dessert? Do an online search by typing the name of your recipe and adding Paleo to your search title. Chances are good you’ll find something. If not, you can experiment on your own. That’s what I did – I can’t guarantee your success, but it has worked very well for me, and I get to have the flavours I associate with the holidays in a way that supports my gut-health.
Do you have a gut-healthy holiday favourite?
Which of these simple tips will you try this holiday season?
Happy, Healthy Holiday Eating!