Attitudes, Tradition and Nutrition.

Vis-à-vis with Victoria

The types of food we eat, how we eat it, and even our beliefs about food commonly root from our upbringing and family traditions. So what happens when someone, maybe you, decides to change their diet in response to something like a food allergy, better nutrition, new morals, or weight loss?  If our food habits are a product of our family and tradition, does that mean a change in food habits means everyone in the family must make change? In most cases, yes; but this change may not be as drastic or as challenging as it may seem. During this Holiday season I encourage all of you who have taken on some new dietary habits to approach your family with these 5 tips in mind:


Make it known.

Don’t wait until you arrive to your next family gathering to tell everyone about your dietary change. “Surprise! I can’t eat any of this” just isn’t very polite. Call your family up and politely, but clearly warn them that your habits have changed and open up a dialogue for what this will mean for your next dinner together. New diets require planning ahead for everyone.


Share your reasons.

A food allergy intolerance is something you can’t control, and so your family may be more receptive and sympathetic if you have medical rationale. On the other hand, they may be less understanding about your weight loss goals, or your beliefs about vegetarianism. This is when it may be wise for a heart-to-heart about why these changes are important to you. They are your family – if something is important to you, they will understand. Hey, you may even inspire them to make healthy changes too!


Stand your ground.

If your dietary change is a choice (unlike a food allergy), you may feel pressured by friends and family to revert back to old ways, and partake in “just a bite.” If just a bite is OK with you, have at it – but only under your terms. If you’ve expressed that sticking to your new habits is important to you, give it time, they will understand eventually (see tip #2).

Don’t push.

Remember that this is your decision, not anyone else’s. Educating others is great! Telling them that they are doing something wrong by not doing the same is not. If you want your family to follow in your healthy footsteps, a good practice is to lead by example – show (not tell) them how much your dietary changes have changed you for the better.

Be patient.

Okay, so Grandma forgot you’re gluten-free and added croutons to your salad, and dad handed you a piece of steak even though you make it clear you stopped eating red meat. Don’t fret, don’t fight, just forgive, and be patient. Challenging food traditions is probably not easy for your family, so go easy on them.


Peppermint Smoothie

Even though it’s chilly out, this festive smoothie is a top-8 friendly, packed with healthy fats and antioxidants, and is a great healthy way to satisfy that craving for peppermint bark or chocolate-peppermint candy. Enjoy!


1/2 avocado

1 banana (preferably frozen)

1/2 cup coconut milk (may substitute milk of choice, but coconut milk creates creamy texture)

1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons cacao powder (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil 

2 tbsp chia seeds (soak in 4 tbsp water for ~10 min prior to adding to smoothie)

1/2 cup ice

Optional: add one scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder for a protein boost!

Peppermint candy stick or peppermint leaf to garnish