The holidays are never easy, but for someone Paleo (especially if it is your first Paleo holiday season) there can be a lot of pressure at social gatherings. It can be overwhelming and difficult to explain why you're eating differently, to try to stay away from all the delicious but unhealthy food you used to eat, and to introduce new foods to family and friends. Preparing ahead for group situations where you may want to crack is crucial, and here are a few hacks that can help make the holidays enjoyable and Paleo-approved:
1. BYOPS -
Bring Your Own Paleo Snacks. If you're feeling particularly nostalgic for your aunt's turkey stuffing, give her a run for her money with your Paleo twist on an old favorite. The holidays are a chance to share these substitutions that have made the transition to Paleo a whole lot easier for you, with the people you love. Besides, how can they really judge you with that delicious coconut-flour version of a classic in their mouth?
2. The Buddy System
There's power in numbers, right? It's a lot easier to stick to your guns if you have someone on your team. Make a deal with a family member or friend beforehand, and strategize ways you can combat the inevitable "FOMO" (a.k.a. Fear Of Missing Out) when it strikes at an event. Even if they are unfamiliar with the Paleo lifestyle, recruiting someone who supports and cares about you to try it out for a few hours won't be as hard as you may think -- especially when they hear about all the mouth-watering options you are planning to bring!
3. Give Yourself Credit
Be patient with yourself. If you do end up eating that little sugar cookie that has been calling your name all night -- don't beat yourself up. Don't feel discouraged and eat the whole tray, either. You may run into more than a few challenges over the holidays, and it is important to remember all of the positive changes you have made with this lifestyle -- and a few grams of grains or dairy won't change that.
AND NOW FOR THE RECIPE!
CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PIE MAKES 1 PIE • COOK TIME 1 HOUR 40 MINUTES
1 POUND PUMPKIN (SEE NOTE)
1⁄4 RAW CACAO POWDER
1⁄2 CUP COCONUT FLOUR
1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
1 TEASPOON SALT
1⁄4 CUP MELTED COCONUT OIL
1⁄2 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
1⁄2 CUP RAW HONEY
6 EGGS FOR THE FROSTING
2 CUPS HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM
1 TEASPOON CINNAMON
2 TABLESPOONS HONEY
Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Split the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place each half in a baking pan, fill each pumpkin half halfway with water, cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes and then pour out the water. Then, using a dish towel to hold the pumpkin, scoop out the flesh and let it come to room temperature.
Place the pumpkin flesh in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low for a few minutes. Add the cacao powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt while the mixer is on. Pause and add the coconut oil, vanilla, and honey. Return the mixer to low and add one egg at a time.
Continue mixing on low till it’s emulsified, about 1 minute. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spoon, then mix for 10 more seconds. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil and pour in the mixture.
Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Run a butter knife along the inside of the pan to release it and allow to cool for 1 hour.
While the cake cools, make the frosting: Place the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on high till you have soft peaks. Add the cinnamon and slowly drizzle in the room- temperature honey while whipping. Don’t overbeat: look for the peaks and then stop.
Frost the cake with the whipped cream mixture or serve a dollop on the side.
* Note: Okay, yes, you can use canned pumpkin here, but there are a couple things you should know: First, it’s not really pumpkin. Most canned pumpkin is really squash. Second, it’s not that hard to do yourself. Give it a shot.
For more recipes like this, please check out our cookbook, Paleo By Season here.