How to Feel Virtuous Over the Holidays

No matter what you tell yourself ... you're probably going to eat and drink and be merry a little too much. You may even feel guilty about it. I know I always do. ( and I was going to list what I feel guilty about - but what if you haven't thought of that yet? And I remind you, and make you feel guilty? Best to leave my own guilts unspoken ... or at least wait till I can offer guilt-offsets, as below ... )

Seriously, people. We're too hard on ourselves! It's. the. holiday. season. That's what it's about - indulging.  Hopefully you'll be hanging out with your favourite people, enjoying some special food and (oh, yes) presents. That's what I plan to do. (Before flying 14 hours to the US with my 3 year old ... but let's leave that for the moment). 

So let's accept the guilt as inevitable ... we are humans, after all. Why don't we offset it? Here's what I'll be doing to make myself feel virtuous.

How to Feel Virtuous Over the Holidays

1. Use cloth napkins
This is really simple! It's hard not to use (and throw away) heaps of paper around the holidays ... so I've already converted our household to a paper-napkin-free zone. I love using thick, soft cloth on my mouth rather than scratchy paper. And I collect my napkins at thrift stores for sometimes $0.10 each. Plus, they'll look a little special for the holidays ...

2. Add fruit to alcohol
I have my lovely friend Angie to thank for this idea! Hibiscus flowers in champagne ... a great way to add vitamin C (and a touch of class ... ). But you could mix champagne with any number of juices to give it some nutritional value ... or make sangria with wine and fruit ...

3. Bake with alternative flours
Why limit ourselves to plain white flour? In using a variety of flours, you can increase the different types and quantities of nutrients that you give your body. And if you've never experimented with a non-wheat flour - then why not use the 'search' tool on right side of my home page to give you some ideas! It'll help you find recipes on my site, as well as all the sites I love. You might also like Kim Boyce's book Good to the Grain - which I haven't seen yet myself, but which everyone seems to be raving about!

Flours to look for? Kamut, spelt, besan, millet, buckwheat, maize, quinoa, amaranth, or brown rice ... or even nut meals, like ground almonds (am I forgetting any? Tell me if I am!)

You'll probably end up mixing these alternative flours in with the old standard wheat ... because there is a reason why we use so much wheat. But give them a go!

(these, by the way, are buckwheat and almond cookies ... recipe coming soon!)

4. Sneak veggies into desserts
Um, pumpkin pie? Need I say more? 

Ok ... well, I've used Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious to give me lots of ideas for including veggies in my desserts. It actually ends up being pretty yummy! Take these brownies (pictured) for example ... would you ever know they had amaranth and chard and carrot in them? Ha!

Other great veggies for sweet stuff? Beetroot. Carrot or zucchini. Sweet potato. Pumpkin. 

Be adventurous!

and this recipe is coming soon too ... Promise.

5. Make a loan on Kiva
Kiva is an organisation that facilitates micro-loans (small amounts of money) to people in developing areas. This is that little bit of money that people need to get their business started, or get it back on its feet. Most loans are repaid! So you can keep redonating the same money again and again and again ... 

6. Give presents you've thrifted or made or grown
Remember when you were a kid, and gave your parents a painting for Christmas? (bet they still have it ... ) We seem to grow out of that - the giving of homemade gifts ... but they're some of my favourites! Tins of cookies, bags of roasted nuts, jams or marmalades, jars of toasted muesli, a bottle of vanilla, books picked up from the secondhand bookstore, chili plants or aloe plants or a basket of homegrown herbs ... wouldn't these be lovely gifts to receive? (they're some of my favourites to give!)

Think outside the box-store.

7. Choose homemade over store-bought
I almost always make this choice, when it's available to me. And I (strongly) encourage Nelle to make it, too. When something's been homemade, it's less likely to have strange or unpronounceable ingredients in it (because who has guar gum in their pantry?). It's less likely to have preservatives, and it may even have less sugar. Plus, someone's gone to the effort to make something - which is lovely!

Whatever you do, have a lovely and happy holiday season! Try not to be too hard on yourself ... and have a great time!

Amanda xx


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  2. Amanda!
    I soooo loved it!
    Today I am leaving work a little bit early than usual to start preparing our Xmas dinner.
    I had such great ideas reading your blog! Including had the guts to create my own blog hehhehe I will start writing in english as well as portuguese, so my friends overseas will be able to read it too.
    Have a lovely Christmas!
    Lots of kisses!

  3. Great ideas! I also try to do lots of these things around the holidays - from homemade or secondhand gifts to "healthy" desserts made by hand. Thanks for sharing these wonderful ways to staying healthy and socially conscious during this most busy and indulgent time of year. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  4. @Verde Pistachio

    Feliz natal, Cacau! Hope your Christmas dinner is lovely!! (bet you party late on Christmas in Brazil!)

  5. @Laura Keller Yum - want to bring by some 'healthy' desserts for me? I've been testing my guilt-less-ness via very buttery shortbreads ... homemade of course! Merry Christmas!


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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx