15 Tips For A Merry Low-Carb Christmas

The festive season is here – and food tends to be at the centre of most Christmas holiday activities. Here are our top tips for keeping you low carb, healthy, happy and on track to reverse type 2 diabetes throughout the holiday season – no matter what flavour you fancy.

There is no need to avoid eating with others, or to pursue a low carb lifestyle in isolation. Step out, be brave, and remember every time you face the world with dedication to being low carb you give the new, healthy, energetic person inside of you another chance to thrive.  

Tip #1: Know your “why” 

Your “why” is the real reason you went low carb to begin with. When questioned by friends or family for refusing certain foods, you can explain your why. Try: “Now that I avoid sugar, I don’t get pain in my joints” or “since eating low carb, I sleep so much better and don’t get as anxious as I used to.” Few people will argue against better quality of life.

Tip #2: Focus on what you will eat, not on what you won’t  

There is no problem with eating traditional foods like roast lamb, barbecued prawns, baked sprouts or carved turkey. However, the sides, toppings, glazes, bread and cakes are more problematic. Fill up with the simplest-looking cuts of meat, cheese, salads, and veggies. There is no need to abstain from these foods. Focus on filling up with foods that do not leave room for high carb extras.

Tip #3: When craving hits, have something bitter

Bitter flavours can alleviate sugar cravings. Try green or dandelion tea, black coffee, green veggies or lemon peel. Alternatively, add some salt under your tongue or sip a spoonful of apple cider vinegar.

Tip #4: Give the gift of low-carb

Show the world what incredible foods you eat by bringing them along as gifts for the host. Make a batch of macadamia butter, scooped into colourful jars, oven-roasted nutty granolas, wholegrain mustard, or seeded crispbreads. Perhaps bring some plants, herbs and spices too. Summer is great for rosemary and lavender bundles, sage, lemon thyme, and peppermint. You can dry spices to make your own dukkah, or order some empty tea bags online and fill them with herbs. Low carb home-made gifts will attract practically everyone’s curiousity and create new conversations about low carb.

Tip #5: Replace the words “can’t eat” with “don’t eat”

Language is very powerful to yourself and others. There’s a big difference between “I can’t eat bread” and “I don’t eat bread”. Since the word “can’t” suggests you are forced people will try to encourage you by saying “Of course you can, live a little”. Saying “don’t” implies you made a voluntary choice and that you are empowered to complete your journey. People will probably admire you by saying they wish they had your “self-discipline”.

Tip #6: Pack your bag with napkins, chilled water, and low-carb rescue snacks

Napkins are great. Bite-sized foods are easily accepted and hidden in pockets without causing a scene. A sip of cold mineral water, bubbly and fresh, can also help overcome cravings. Bring low-carb rescue snacks in your bag like nuts, seeds, or jerky to help put your mind at ease.

Tip #7: Decide before, not during

There is no need to ignore everything that is not low carb. Food also celebrates culture, giving, sharing, family, and joy. Remembering this is helpful during the festive season, especially when it comes to your grandmother’s traditional Christmas pudding and other family recipes cooked with love. The key is to decide what is special enough to try before arriving to avoid feeling overwhelmed by decisions and temptation when dining.

Tip #8: You are not obliged to eat free food

Never eat simply because you feel it is necessary or for free. It may not cost anything financially but eating some foods can cost your health, wellbeing, and life goals in the long run.

Tip #9: Choose alcohol with “less is more” in mind

Low carb alcohol includes spirits plus dry red, white and sparkling wines. Treat yourself to a higher quality alcohol like herb-infused gin served on ice, or a glass of French champagne. Skip the bottomless cocktails that are topped with sugar syrups and cordials. When feeling pressured to drink, ask for a soda water with ice and fresh lime. It looks similar to a mixer drink and can deflect the most persistent offers.

Tip #10: Don’t turn one indulgent meal into an indulgent week … or month

A couple of higher-carb Christmas meals might not make a big difference but it does have an “aftermath” effect. Between events, return to your normal routine. Prioritise intermittent fasting and ignore snack foods. One meal should not define the next months of your life.

Tip #11: Offer to bring a dish along

Bring a hearty meal that will satisfy you, in case there are no low carb options. Try bacon-wrapped mozzarella sticks, almond-meal crusted quiche, lamb kebabs with full-fat yogurt sauce, pâté and olive board, or creamy cauliflower mash. It also creates an opportunity to talk about your creation and the value of low carb eating.

Tip #12: Beware of breaded, dipped, glazed, fried and saucy food

Orange ginger ribs, sweet chilli prawns, honey glazed chicken wings, crispy and sticky soy drumsticks, and double crunch maple pork are actually desserts disguised as main meals. The same goes for most sauces and condiments. Trust your palate and, if it tastes sweet, keep it off your plate.

Tip #13: Offer to be the designated driver

For events filled with trays of party pies and alcohol, staying sober will keep cravings at bay. No one will try to talk you out of being their chauffeur.

Tip #14: Get creative with your Christmas sweet tooth

There are endless low carb and keto desserts options that are fun to try for Christmas. Make a low carb gingerbread house to share at work. Bake the pieces and build them with young relatives on Christmas Eve. Turn your baking adventures into gifts. Prepare your own coconut or almond butter. There are many recipes for low-carb shortbread, pies, and cakes.

Tip #15: Breathe deeply, be kind, and stay mindful

Mindfulness means focusing on what happens inside and around you. When a craving hits, take a few deep breaths, pause and be mindful. Remember that all cravings will pass. The holidays are not a time to be hard on yourself but keep your goals foremost in your mind and share your journey with others. Who knows you might convince someone to go low carb in the New Year.

Have a happy low-carb Christmas!  

For type 2 diabetes support for the Christmas season, Diversa Health is committed all year round to helping members defeat their diabetes with supportive coaching and guidance, so no one has to do it alone.

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Although there is no universally agreed upon definition for the reversal of type 2 diabetes, Diversa uses HbA1c to assist in defining diabetes and pre-diabetes reversal.

Type 2 diabetes reversal is when a patient who previously had an HbA1c in the diabetic range (>6.4%) returning an HbA1c in the non-diabetic range (<6.4%) (along with the absence of medications used to manage diabetes). Pre-diabetes reversal is when a patient who previously had an HbA1c in the pre-diabetic range (5.7-6.4%) returning an HbA1c to the non pre-diabetic range (less than 5.7%).

It is important to recognise that although not everybody may be able to completely reverse type 2 diabetes, partial reversal, the reduction of medication dosages, along with the simultaneous lowering of HbA1c, will unquestionably achieve a better quality of life and improve health outcomes for those living with type 2 diabetes.

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