Over the years, the term "diet" has earned a less than favorable connotation, especially around the holidays. Ironically, the season is often filled with some of the foods and drinks we love the most, but then we're chided (gasp) for actually indulging—a restrictive mentality, we're pretty opposed to here at Byrdie. After all, 'tis the season to fill our cups (and plates) with happiness and gratitude, not shame, guilt and regret.
And though we don't necessarily recommend drinking your body weight in gingerbread-flavored martinis this month, we do think it's just as healthy, both mentally and physically, to be easy on yourself, enjoy what you love, and to have some trust in what your body is craving.
With that being said, we were curious whether there is even such a thing as a healthy or positive diet trend? And if so, what would an expert who advocates a balanced, non-restrictive approach to eating actually recommend? We conversed with certified health coach and co-founder of Health Coach Institute, Carey Peters, to see which diet trends she thinks are actually worth investing in this season.
Keep reading for five anti-diet wellness trends that will keep you energized, healthy, and restriction-free for the holidays. (Refreshing, right?)
1. Embrace healthy fats
"Let's face it, the age of dieting and fat-free culture is over," says Peters. "2017 may be coming to a close, but instead of looking for a magic pill to make us healthy, 2018 should be the year that we shift our cultural mindset to a healthier lifestyle—a lifestyle that is not only fun and easy, but one that also works for our bodies and the planet." First up, embrace the healthy fats. And though the notion isn't entirely new, (low-fat diets have been under fire for a while now), it's an important one that only seems to be gaining momentum.
As we know, not all fats are created equally, and though it's best to avoid the inflammatory likes of trans fats during the holiday season, non-hydrogenated fare like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and the like can be considered fair game. "I recommend finding out from your host which foods are made with healthy fats like grass-
fed butter or organic whole milk or olive oil and sticking to those. It's also a great idea to prepare a couple of dishes yourself, made with healthy fats, to share at the dinner table," Peters shares.
2. Ditch dieting
Peters brings up an excellent point—diets don’t usually work any time of the year, so why increase our dependency on them during the holiday season?
"If you restrict yourself during the day or days leading up to the holiday feast, then when the time comes to eat, your body will crave more than it needs because it feels deprived," (A push-pull cycle, which is the paramount issue with dieting, in general.)
Peter's solve: Just don't diet. Instead, she advises to go about your day eating as you normally would and then when it comes time to enjoy that holiday meal, first try a small tasting of everything that looks enticing, and be mindful as you eat. Then, choose a few of the dishes you loved the most and help yourself to larger portions.
3. crave the outdoors
Since it's cold in many areas of the country this time of year, Peters explains that it can be natural tendency to eat in an effort to feel warm, cozy, or even just out of boredom. To curb the cravings, (and keep our digestive systems in tip-top shape, she recommends getting outdoors.
"No matter the weather, what aids digestion is movement. This doesn't mean you have to go outside for a run when it's freezing, but even just a 30-minute walk after a large meal can stimulate your digestion. Similarly, spending as much time as you can during the day outside, breathing in fresh air, will keep you alert and feeling alive and prevent that too-full and lethargic post-dinner feeling."
4. Sip Bulletproof Coffee
Not only is a hot cup of coffee warm and comforting once the temperatures start to cool, it can also be a healthy addition to your diet this time of year—especially if you make it bulletproof.
According to Peters, the addition of healthy fats will slow the release of caffeine so that you actually have a steadier stream of energy through the day without the jittery high or the devastating crash. And even if you're not a coffee drinker, you can still reap the benefits: "Simply switch out coffee for a teaspoon of turmeric (a superfood digestive aid that's caffeine-free) and blend with grass-fed butter in hot water or tea," Peters tells us.
5. Mind your protein
"If you’re a meat eater wanting to eat well over the holidays, there’s no need to forgo the turkey that you craved all year long. Take a portion of turkey for your protein (which will help keep you satiated and blood sugars stable), but make sure to save room for other dishes so that your meal will be balanced with protein, veggies, and carbs (if you’re not gluten-free or Paleo)."
If, on the other hand, you're vegan or vegetarian, at the holiday meal try looking for an alternative protein like beans, lentils, or tofu.