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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Breakfast with the opposition

Breakfast with the opposition

I was honored to provide the catering for Paula Bennett’s visit to Inglewood yesterday. If you don’t know who she is, she’s the deputy leader of the NZ National Party. They’re currently the opposition to our Labour/coalition government.

It was a wonderful experience, not least because the event was hosted in a shop/event venue called Farmsource. As you can imagine it’s a place where farmers come to buy stock, conduct training and do business. All types of farmers, but the majority are dairy and dry stock farmers. The irony was not lost on me!

There were some looks of anxiety on their faces when they saw there was no meat or dairy for their breakfast, but after the initial shock they tried the food and really enjoyed it.

The breakfast consisted of:

* Chia pots with blueberries and granola. This was made with soy milk rather than coconut milk and sweetened with rice syrup.

* Breakfast burritos with avocado, black beans, green capsicum, tomato, cajun spices and sunflower mayo

* Seedy rye Sourdough bread with apple & onion chutney and blueberry & chia seed jam

I answered lots of questions about the ingredients and the merits of a plant based diet. They were especially interested in why we use minimal oil and reduced sugar. I really enjoyed educating the group and they enjoyed listening. While I got lots of compliments and the sound of ‘mmm’s’ was echoed through the building while they were eating, I know these farmers will not choose a plant based diet. The point is that they tried something new and were surprised that they enjoyed it.

That is all I ask for.

I’m so proud to be the local plant based caterer and voice of change here in Taranaki. I know that many people have tried my food with apprehension and become lovers of plant based foods because of me and for that I am humbled and proud.

If you’d like to order catering or book me to speak at your next event, contact me for a quote. I’d love to help you.

Transitioning workshop

Transitioning workshop

Simone’s Plant Based Cooking Classes are your gateway to creating and eating vibrant, mostly organic and healthy vegan food.

I believe that food should serve your body and mind well. The plant based lifestyle is a way of fueling yourself that is enjoyable, simple and sustainable.

This 3 hour transition class will give you the information, tools, motivation and recipes to start your own journey into discovering plant based foods.

The topics we’ll cover are:

* The science

* What is a plant based diet?

* Discover your why & motivations

* What to eat?

* How to start

* How to include your family

* Recipes

* Shopping lists

* Goal setting & planning
The cost of the workshop is $100 per person and includes:

* A work book with all the information you need, including motivational tips, resources and useful websites.

* My ebook of family friendly recipes (worth $25)

* Nibbles & light dinner
Numbers are limited to 10, so book early as places will fill up fast. Come alone or bring a friend, but you’ll leave with a new community of friendship and support.

It will be held at @the open space in New Plymouth 3pm – 6pm.

Email or call me to book your space.

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