Holiday Training Tips: The Food Edition

by Steph Creaturo


A few years ago, I did a massive “food reboot” due to health reasons.  Absolutely no gluten/wheat, dairy, coffee, and these days, meat only once a week and no alcohol. While initially mind-spinningly hard – and mind you, I did not cook at the time – it is now an intuitive, wonderful, and easeful way to eat and be nourished. And I’ve become a hell of a good vegan, gluten free cook, I must say.

This is my third holiday season post-food reboot. I must say, the holidays last year were just fine. Part of this is because I approached my food reboot like I did a training plan when I’m training for a race: with absolute commitment, focus, and knowing that the alternatives are harmful to me.  The same way I build mileage so I don’t get hurt, I stay committed to the way I eat during the holidays. Last year, I stayed healthy, rested, and integrated with body, mind, and spirit (even while traveling and dealing with wackadoodle family members) and it felt really nice. Plus, the discipline and commitment from both yoga and running keeps me in the kitchen, cutting veggies and planning meals, even on my laziest days.

As the holidays roll around again, I’m returning to the three basic cornerstones of my food reboot:

Be alkaline. One of the best tips I picked up early on during food reboot: steer my palate in a more alkaline direction. Making this shift helped thwart cravings for more acid/sugary foods, like coffee and bread. Every morning, I start the day with lemon in massive mug of hot water OR a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in room-temperature water. Even though those cravings are long gone, these two drinks continue set the tone for my daily palate, so to speak.

My secret weapon to combat skipping this during the daily morning scrum: prep the night before. The lemon gets sliced and put the fridge, the ACV is mixed in a jar and I stick a top on it. All of this can be done while swishing my teeth with mouthwash (sorry, TMI? Trying to illustrate how little time it takes!) or during a commercial break during your fave show.

My cupboard is my friend. My food reboot taught me that the quick trip to the corner bodega is a thing of the past.  Instead, I have a weekly date with my kitchen, when I scan my cupboards and fridge to see what’s available. I then cook with what I have and only buy what’s necessary.  Food planning is a godsend: it keeps our food choices on track, in addition to our budget, and keeps me out of a food rut. (Guilty as charged: Total love affair with the one-pot meal.)  I write down recipes and shopping lists in a little notebook, then shop for what we need.  Once a month, we restock the essentials (lentils, olive oil, etc.) and that’s that.

Hi, I’m Steph and I suffer from the hangries. I always have a snack for me and my kid. I am totally guilty of the hangries and eating a Gu as a random snack is a really bad idea.

Steph's Snacks

Snacks and small meals on the go are a huge component of my life – since I work an untraditional schedule and am running around, some days I eat several small meals wherever I can sit for a few moments.

What keeps me sustained while on the go is, once again, planning.  Earth shattering info? No. Do I have to stick to it? Yes. Do I get lazy/don’t want to do it? Yes. Do I miss feeling horrible after eating? No. Remembering that combats the lazies pretty quick.

Twice a week, I cut up fruits and veggies and put them in small containers for easy grab and go. (Beck, my four year old, sometimes helps me and we make it a counting game.) Other small container faves include chia seeds on peanut butter and leftovers (basically, everything.) I have three or four energy bars in my bag instead of one. I make batches of smoothies and overnight oats at once. On the days that I do a long run, I eat lots of dried fruit. Yesterday, my tote was filled with cut up celery, apples, peanut butter, a green smoothie, a banana, and water with chia seeds. Annoying to carry? Yes. Was I less annoying to the world because I was eating? Yes.

Now I want to hear your tips! How do you stay consistent with your food goals and feeling healthy and fueled during this hectic time?


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2 Responses to Holiday Training Tips: The Food Edition

  1. Mike C says:

    Check out “Paleo Cookies” by John Chatham for some great snack ideas. I’ve found that fats have the biggest impact on cravings in a non-grain world. I start my day with 1.5 tbs of butter & 1.5 tbs of MCT oil frothed up in my coffee (sounds disgusting, but don’t knock it til you try it). This easily takes me to lunchtime or beyond with no highs or lows. Also works (I think) with a strong tea like matcha so you can stay off the coffee, but opinions on this vary wildly. You can also do some fun stuff simply with coconut oil mixed with hemp/chia/whatever and stuck in the freezer (warning, doesn’t travel well).

  2. Steph says:

    Mike, that book sounds awesome! I do love Paleo recipe sites for baking ideas, since I do like to bake but not in a fussy way, which is kinda antithetical being GF. And thanks for the other ideas!

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