Holiday HANGER (and how we cope with it)

 If only every holiday spread looked this good...

If only every holiday spread looked this good...

Given our line of work, it’s not surprising how often the three of us get some form of the following text:

“I’m going to a wedding/party/restaurant - how do I stick to only eating the foods that work for me, without being totally rude?”

Conundrum of the century, people.

Social events, more often than not, mean food. And especially for the plant based eater, or someone who is working through an elimination diet, or is paleo, or whatever the case may be, these big social events can be STRESSFUL.

We get it. We don’t want to seem rude either, and anyone who follows anything but the Standard American Diet knows that lots of questions arise when you deviate from the food norm. And while most of the time easy fixes can be made (and we most often advise calling the restaurant/party site directly - they will accommodate you!) the holidays, filled with family and tradition, can make this problem even tougher and more emotional.

SO - how do we handle the holidays without feeling like shit?

1. Don’t Apologize. You have every right to eat whatever the hell you want. Own it, GF. And when people ask why you don’t want turkey? Go into the night with an answer prepared, whether it’s something witty or snappy, a full blown explanation, or a simple “not in the mood tonight!” - if you know what to say in advance, the questions won’t bother you so much.

2. Stash Snacks. There’s absolutely nothing worse than being HANGRY - so if we have a bag on us, there’s bound to be a snack or two in there just in case. This is especially smart during holiday season. Maybe you show up to Thanksgiving and dinner is delayed by a few hours cause the damn turkey won’t cook. Maybe the office Christmas party consists solely of drinks and cocktail wieners. Whatever it is, the more prepared you are, the more time you buy yourself till hangry hits. So - what’s in our bag?

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  • Jess is a huge trail mix girl - raw almonds, dark chocolate, Made in Nature Super Berries Blend, thrown into a bag and mixed around. Perfection.

  • Kate keeps it simple - dried fruit, like these dried apple rings, are where its at.

  • Jen’s go to is figgy pops (especiallyyy the Peanut Butter & Jelly Filled Figgy’s) - you get a mix of carbs, protein, and fat, all perfectly portioned into bite size snacks.


3. Come prepared. For home parties or events, the host or hostess is more than likely to be extremely appreciative for any contribution you want to make. Contact your host in advance to mention that you’d love to bring a dish, and then bring something you are SUPER excited to eat. We love to keep this simple. Bring a salad that you can fill your plate with and others can enjoy on the side. OR bring an incredible, healthy version of a holiday favorite that will become a staple in your family tradition!

Looking for inspo? Try one of our holiday party favs:


Fig & Olive Tapenade


1 cup chopped dried figs (we love THESE mission figs from MIN)

½ cup water

⅔ cup chopped kalmata olives

1 tablespoon capers

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

½ tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper, to taste


GF crackers or Crostini, for serving

Optional Goat or Nut Cheese, for spreading



Combine figs and water in a small sauce pan, heating on medium and stirring occasionally until liquid reduces into a thick syrup.

Combine olives, capers, garlic, herbs, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Stir in figs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow flavors to combine.

Serve with crackers or crostini - serve alone or with goat/nut cheese for an extra layer of flavor!


Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Salad w. Golden Berries and Raisins

Serves 4


1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ red onion, sliced

2 tablespoons harissa

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ bunch parsley, chopped

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

¼ cup goldenberries

¼ cup raisins

Lemon Tahini Dressing

2 tablespoons tahini (we love THIS one from soom)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste

Water to thin to desired consistency



Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix harissa, maple syrup and grapeseed oil together.

Arrange cauliflower, chickpeas, and on baking sheet and pour harissa mixture over top. Toss with your hands to coat cauliflower and chickpeas with harissa mixture. Place in oven and roast for about 35 minutes, or until tips of cauliflower start to brown.

While roasting, prepare dressing. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and combine until smooth. Add water as needed to blend.

Let cauliflower and chickpeas cool slightly, and then add to large bowl, tossed with parsley, cilantro, golden berries, and raisins.

Drizzle with dressing and serve!