Holiday Eating Strategy


It is a little dark, but this was the first home of CrossFit West Santa Cruz on Swift St. nearly 4 years ago. We lasted one month before getting kicked out due to noise.

Ah yes, my favorite holiday is here once again.  I just love Thanksgiving (pie!). CF West Santa Cruz is pretty devout when it comes to the Paleolithic diet.  We may tweak it here and there, dairy for those who are trying to pack on a little muscle for example, but we certainly live by it.  We also live in the real world, however.  And the real world means that we all need to be realistic about our diet and nutrition.  The holidays are one of those times, maybe the biggest time.  Let’s face it, it is hard to adhere to just about any diet over the holiday season.  And the holiday season (pie!) is certainly upon us.

Being a CrossFitter eating Paleo is different from being a monk.  It is ok to cheat now and again, especially in times of joy and family–just like the holiday season.  However, you want to be smart about your cheating.  Here is what I do:  I allot myself a certain amount of cheating (pie!) during the holidays.  I know that I enjoy eating big for a few meals more than snacking on the barrage of sweets that constantly float around during the holidays.  At those meals, I know what I like the most and I sacrifice something else so I can really tuck into my favorites (pie!).

Thanksgiving is a good example.  Rolls, bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie and other desserts, gravy (there is usually flour in gravy), casseroles, lots of starchy appetizers, beer and wine–the sugar, gluten, and starch filled list is endless.  OK, what are the heavyweights on that list?  Probably the gluten and sugar filled stuff.  So right off I made a decision to stay away from the stuffing, bread and rolls, the casseroles, the really gnarly desserts, and the appetizers.  I decided that my cheating was going to be some wine, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie (pie!).  Thus, I was able to tuck into a couple of servings of each without the carb and gluten hangover that would have come the next day.

How about leftovers?  One of the great joys of an event like Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  Again, be smart.  Remember, there will be a lot of opportunities to cheat over the next month or so.  Pick your battles and you can enjoy the holidays without remorse.

Here are some tips and ideas from CrossFit West Santa Cruz badass and nutrition whiz Leah Lutz:

-I can’t eat any gluten at all (allergy) so I will make gluten-free gravy, but it is thickened with non-wheat starch. I’ll make breadless Stuffing with cauliflower, mushrooms and hazelnuts, and pie with nut crust, or crust made from almond meal and ginger, and filling from pumpkin, coconut milk and eggs. An arugula, persimmon, pomegranate, and toasted pumpkin seed salad, and a dish of roasted brussel sprouts with grapes.

-I make sure there are appetizer options that I want to eat, but I cheat a bit and have a little bit of dairy. This year I’m making bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, bacon wrapped scallops, and there will be plenty of vegetables and fruit. I’ll pass on the chips, crackers, and bread stuff.

-It is important for me to be ready to get right back to paleo after the holiday so part of my holiday cooking includes cooking up some paleo food to eat on Friday. If I am prepared, I can avoid the slippery slope of eating junk food for the days following the holiday.

Click here for one of Leah’s favorite holiday recipes, Paleo Pumpkin Pie Squares.

Please post your holiday eating strategies to Comments.

A reminder that there are classes at 9 and 10am only on Thursday; 9, 10am, and noon on Friday.  Saturday’s classes are as usual, as is Open Gym on Sunday.


Thanksgiving Surprise!