Visiting Friends and Family Who Aren’t Plant Based At Christmas

Visiting Friends and Family Who Aren’t Plant Based At Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and if like me, you’re going to be spending time with people who are not plant based, this blog is for you!

The Christmas period is often a long one. In the build up to the big day, it usually involves work do’s, social functions, bring a plate get together’s and the countless morning/afternoon tea shouts at work. Christmas is traditionally seen as the time where it’s acceptable to over indulge in rich foods, over eat and drink alcohol at breakfast!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas even though I’m still not used to it being hot here in New Zealand. I love seeing relatives we’ve been meaning to catch up with all year and the spirit of kindness embodied by everyone.

The thing I’ve struggled with is visiting and eating with people who aren’t plant based. Now that I’ve done a plant based Christmas twice; I’m sharing the tips I’ve learnt along the way. Hopefully they will save you from learning the hard way; offending anyone or being offended.

  1. Always offer to bring a dish or two to share

Call the host ahead of time and explain the situation. Say that you’ve been plant based for xxxxx amount of time and you’d like to make it easy for them by bringing a couple of dishes to share. This will take the pressure off the host trying to figure out what to make for you!

2. Dinner parties where everyone is eating standard food is not the best time to launch into all of your knowledge and education about nutrition

If you’re like me, you were so excited to tell anyone who would listen (or not) about all the new things you’ve learnt about the plant based diet and nutrition. But believe me when I say that Uncle Bill doesn’t want to hear about how the glazed ham he won at the raffle is clogging his arteries; especially after Aunt Sally spent 4 hours cooking it. If anyone asks you about the plant based diet at the table; say that you’d love to tell them all about it and suggest that you talk about it another time. Maybe offer to send them some information via email or suggest you go out to lunch to talk more about it.

3. Use Dr. Doug Lisle’s “seem strategy.”

If there are people who are insistent in asking about what you are eating, there is a simple answer that helps to diffuse the most persistent people. If someone starts questioning you about your diet simply respond, “It seems to be working for me.”

     4. Compliment the host

Even if you can’t eat the food served, be sure to compliment the host on how nice everything looks. Also, be sure to thank them for inviting you. This may feel strange, but in my experience it will quell the need for anyone to comment further about what you can/can’t eat. It will also show that you’re not judging them.

5. Eat before you go as an insurance policy

When you have no idea what food will be offered, it’s a good idea to fill your belly with a healthy plant-strong snack or meal beforehand. This will keep you satisfied and prevent you from diving into the contraband! A hungry tummy makes mental midgets out of all of us. For some snack ideas, check out my Get Set For Summer – Meal Plan & Cook Book

6. Bring dessert! 

Everyone loves dessert! I love bringing some of my favorites; Raw Strawberry Cheesecake, Date & Almond Cookies, or Christmas Chocolate Slab. Everyone loves all of these and they are super easy to make!

    7. The host may offer to make a dish that you can eat

Give some suggestions that are easy to make with ingredients that are familiar and tell them what plant based means. Again, be sure that you thank the host for their time and for being so considerate of the way you eat.

    8. Drink water and go easy on the booze

Naughty food and a tipsy head make for a bad combination! This is especially true if alcohol triggers you to eat junk food. When you’re intoxicated, it can be more difficult to keep your resolve and succumb to pressure or temptation. I’m not saying don’t drink any alcohol; only you know what work’s for you, but be sure to keep yourself hydrated with water during parties.

    9. Remember that it’s not all about food! 

I love hanging out with my family and friends. Sometimes we make social engagements all about food, when they should be about the people who are there! One of the wonderful things I have discovered is that the longer you stay on the plant based path, the more friends you find in your life who are also plant based.

When you find yourself visiting friends and family who do not follow the plant based lifestyle, remember that you are the only one responsible for your health and nobody cares about your health and well being as much as you! Stay plant-strong!

10. Remember that tomorrow is another day

Whatever stage of the journey you’re on, be kind to yourself. Christmas can be a stressful time and the last thing you need is to be berating yourself for falling off the wagon.

Remember:

⭐The only person judging you is you
 Tomorrow is another chance to start over
 Love yourself and the skin you’re in
 Strive for progress, not perfection

For more tips take a look at my eBook; You Are What You Eat – A Guide to Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet.

Merry Christmas!

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Easy tray pancakes

Easy tray pancakes

Weekends are for pancakes!

Most kids love pancakes, but if like me you hate standing at the stove for 30 minutes flipping them and listening to the kids screaming ‘are they ready yet?’ This recipe is for you.

It’s so easy, just mix, pour and bake. Everyone gets to eat at the same time and your not standing around for ages….win, win!

I didn’t have any yogurt this morning so we just had ours with rice syrup. You can use whatever fruit you have too. Plus you can change up the flours to any you prefer.

Enjoy 😊

Ingredients:

2 flax eggs (14g ground flax seed and 10g water)

2 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup organic rice syrup (plus extra for serving)

3/4 cup organic buckwheat flour

1 cup organic wholemeal flour

2 1/4 cups soy milk (or any plant milk you like)

1 1/2 cups mixed frozen berries

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Line a square 10 inch pan with baking paper

* In your thermomix or food processor add:

2 flax eggs – mix gently for a few seconds and leave it to thicken for a minute while you get the other ingredients ready

* Add in the bananas, vanilla, cinnamon, rice syrup if using and baking powder. Blend until smooth; around 10 seconds

* Add buckwheat flour, wholemeal flour, soy milk and blend until combined

* Add berries and mix gently, being careful not to break up the berries

* Pour into lined tray and tap it on the bench to ensure the mixture is even

* Bake on the top shelf for 20-25 mins. The top should be nice and brown and the berries gently bursting

* Leave to cool for 5 minutes before slicing

* Serve with fresh fruit, your favourite yogurt and or rice syrup

Father’s Day cookies

Father’s Day cookies

It’s Father’s Day here in NZ. These cookies are a lovely treat for him. You could make them yourself or if your children enjoy baking, get them to make them for their dad.

These cookies use light brown sugar. So they’re not refined sugar free. They’re are however ridiculously addictive fresh out of the oven. You’ve been warned!

Makes 16

1⁄3 c unsweetened applesauce

½ c light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ c nondairy milk

1 c whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp fine salt

1 tbsp cornstarch

few dashes of ground cinnamon

½ c vegan chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 200˚C

Grease baking tray or line with parchment paper

In a large bowl combine applesauce, sugar, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk

In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch, and ground cinnamon together

Transfer the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three batches. Stir until almost combined

Fold in chocolate chips

Drop spoonfuls on baking tray and bake for 7–10 minutes for a soft and light cookie or a few minutes more for a firmer cookie, being careful not to burn.

Variation:

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies: Replace 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa.

Note:

For a firmer cookie, work a fresh banana into the flour (crumble it in until you have clumps). If your banana is ripe, reduce sugar.

Cool on the tray for 5 minutes before tratransferring to a wire rack to cool completly (if they last that long)!

Enjoy 😊

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

These peanut butter, date & oat cookies are so delicious and ‘oat’ so easy to make. We love desserts, but there’s something special about a cookie with only 3 ingredients!

I don’t use any packet mixes for any of my baking; only organic whole food ingredients.

You can whip these up in 20 minutes, including cooking time. I use a thermomix, but if you don’t have one just use a food processor. Use the blade attachment to blend the dates, then change it to the plastic blade attachment to gently mix in the oats. You want the oats to be relatively whole, rather than being all chopped up.

If you don’t have a very powerful food processor, I would recommend you soak the dates for at least 15 minutes in hot water. Once you’ve drained them, save 1/4 cup of the water to smooth out the dates and peanut butter mixture.

If you like a bit more sweetness, add some pure maple syrup or rice syrup. Otherwise the dates give the cookies a nice natural sweetness.

Ingredients:

2 cups organic dates

1/2 cup organic peanut butter (no added salt, sugar or oil)

3 cups organic jumbo oats

1/4 cup water (saved from the dates if you soaked them)

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 190° degrees

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper

Blend the dates, peanut butter & water until fairly smooth. A few small lumps of dates are great for texture

Add the oats and pulse until they’re just mixed with the date mixture. It will be quite sticky.

Using damp hands roll tbsp sizes of the mixture, place onto the tray and press to flatten into a cookie shape. Try to keep them 1cm thick

Continue with the rest of the mixture

Place the trays into the oven; 1 on the top shelf and the other on the middle shelf. Cook for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies on the top tray are brown and slightly crispy at the edges

Remove the top tray and move the middle tray to the top shelf for 5-6 minutes

Cool the cookies on the trays for 5 minutes, before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely

Store the cookies in an airtight container for a week

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