How to get back on track with healthy eating.

Happy Sunday.

I hope you all had a delicious Thanksgiving and safe travels. Yesterday I was in my car for 4+ hours driving back to Baltimore. It was quite a drive, but I rewarded myself with a late night trip to Whole Foods and my first ever bottle of Malbec (yum!). 

This Thanksgiving I did a pretty good job following my own tips :

I enjoyed a breakfast "lasagna" that my sister made (recipe is here)...

...tasty dishes I only see a couple of times a year, like my Avo's (grandma's) bacalhau, which is a Portuguese dish of salted cod, onions and potatoes...

Bacalhau leftovers were great over spinach!

...and I brought home a lot of leftovers so I was able to stop eating when I was very full, instead of when I was stuffed.

LEFTOVERS: my dad's ribs (the best), paleo "cornbread" stuffing which I made myself (the bread included), and my aunt's 3 cheese pancetta mashed potatoes (ridiculously good) and homemade cranberry sauce!

If you don't already, follow me on instagram for more pictures of what I ate and, more importantly, what I cooked and baked this past week.

I successfully ate, and ate, and ate. I typically do not consume too many carbohydrates, but I enjoyed several days of a high carbohydrate intake thanks to plenty of desserts and leftovers. Any time I have a big change to my usual diet I am left feeling swollen, uncomfortable, and often craving sugar.

But, now it's Sunday and most of the leftovers have run out. It's time to get back on track.

Here are my three tips...believe it or not, they all involve eating (again)!

Back on Track Tips

1. Eat. 

It is that simple. Avoid the urge to skip meals. If you are feeling less hungry it is perfectly okay to eat less. It is also okay to skip your usual snacks or go longer between meals. However, if you are hungry, you should eat. If you are feeling a little backed up, try a liquid based meal such as soup or a smoothie. I had a smoothie this morning myself!

2. Eat more fat (and less carbs).

Even if you enjoyed all real food dishes this Thanksgiving, I would guess that your carbohydrate intake was higher than usual.

Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn and desserts all have a lot of carbohydrates.

As I discussed in this post, all carbohydrates will eventually break down to sugar in your body. When you combine the extra carbohydrates from an unusually high dessert intake, with time on the couch watching football, with several hours in the car traveling, it is easy to wind up storing most of those extra carbohydrates as fat instead of using them up for fuel.

The best way to get back on track is to add in a hefty portion of healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts) at each meal and dial down the amount of carbohydrates on your plate. No one will argue that a sweet potato is bad for you, but eating giant spoonfuls of sweet potato casserole while lounging around is not going to serve your body well. This week focus on a LCHF (low carb, high fat) approach to meals. Cutting back on carbs will help to banish the sugar cravings and addiction that we easily fall victim to after excessive intake. 

I certainly had my fair share of sugar these last few days.  I wanted my brother and I to have plenty of dessert options to enjoy without feeling left out (we both don't handle gluten well) so I baked a lot...

from left to right: pumpkin spice cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie (crust here), carrot cake cupcakes made into a loaf (from this awesome cookbook)

The only sources of sugar in these treats were honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. But, regardless of the source, having a cookie after every meal is not exactly best practice. So yes, I went a bit overboard, but it was important to me for my brother and I to be able to indulge along with everybody else. My family helped me polish off most of these and I will freeze what's left.

Leftover tip: Freeze any desserts that are still around. Just about all desserts freeze well. Wrap in plastic wrap and put into a big freezer baggie. I like to wrap each piece separate so that I can defrost one at a time, as desired. This keeps treats out of sight and forces you to enjoy them only when you truly want them (because they are no longer on the counter calling your name).

3. Eat real food.

Need I say more


Let me know how you plan to get back on track this week!

Until next time...

(even Trigger knows that cookies are a sometimes food)