Christmas Paleo eats

In Perú the biggest celebration of the year is Christmas eve. That’s when most families get together for a big feast, presents, hugs, kisses, and fireworks. We (my sisters, parents, niece, aunties and uncle) used to spend Christmas eve in my parents’ house eating roast turkey, “Russian” salad (beetroot, potato, peas, carrots, corn, apple, avocado and mayo), applesauce and rice (sometimes white, sometimes with olives and raisins, sometimes Middle Eastern-style). After dinner we waited until midnight, when we made a toast with cider and hugged each other. Next came the gift exchange, followed by more (!) food: panettone and hot chocolate (yes, hot, in the middle of summer).

Christmas lunch was at my uncle and aunties’ house (right next door from my parents’), and it was always takeaway chifa (Peruvian-influenced Cantonese food), which we bought every year from the same restaurant. The massive meal was followed by ice cream for dessert and more panettone and hot choc for afternoon tea.

My family back home is still eating the same meals every year. The expats (my sister Gladys, Alvaro and I) decided from day one to forget about traditions and go with whatever we felt like. This year we decided it was time to roast a turkey again, so we got a small one from Establishment 218. I followed the recipe in this post with a small change: I didn’t have any whisky on hand, so I used Cointreau (which worked out really well with the orange juice), and didn’t add any honey (enough sugar in the booze!). The result was fantastic.

Xmas eve dinner: Turkey

Turkey

Who needs rice when there’s cauliflower? Seriously, people! Cauliflower rice with toasted almonds and raisins (recipe here) was the perfect side for the bird, with its sweet and nutty taste, and its crunchy texture.

Cauliflower rice with raisins and almonds

We also had a simple, yet flavourful mushrooms, palmitos and olives salad. The salty, briny flavours of the palmitos and olives complemented the sweetness in the other components beautifully. Well, that’s what I think :)

Mushrooms, palmitos & olives salad

Mushrooms, palmitos & olives salad

We made a break to open our presents. For dessert there was no panettone and hot chocolate, but instead an almond flour shortbread (recipe here) served with coconut milk and cherries.

Almond shortbread, coconut milk & cherries

On Christmas day we skipped breakfast (dinner was super late and plentiful) and dived straight into lunch: BBQed veggies & seafood. We bought prawns, octopus, calamari and scallops in Faros Bros the day before (big queues!). The veggies were zucchinis, onions and mushrooms.

Grilled veggies & seafood

Grilled veggies & seafood – Yes, that’s a plate for one

Salads, etc.

As sides we had a beetroot & kohlrabi salad, leftover salad, leftover palmitos, an avocado and lemon wedges. And a few glasses of chilled semillon/sauvignon blanc.

Hope everybody had an awesome Christmas filled with love and great food!


5 comments

  1. Hi Gaby,
    YUM! i loved hearing about your traditions back home. I’ve convinced my mum and dad to go paleo(ish:) so on christmas eve we had steak, salmon, grilled veggies and rocket and parmesan salad plus berries and coconut cream for dessert. on christmas day i went to the boy’s families enormous lunch (50 ppl) and had had to close my eyes and not look at all the delicious totally not paleo things on offer. i had seafood and salad and berries and cream again but confess to a few glasses of red.

    quick question, what is your opinion on nuts? a lot of websites etc recommend only macadamias and definitely not cashews but i am really missing almonds and walnuts.. would love your opinion.
    thanks again,
    Chloe xxxx

    • Hi Chloe, great Xmas eve dinner! The good thing with big gatherings is that buffet-style meals allow you to be selective. To be honest I don’t crave non-Paleo food anymore, I think it’s because I don’t like the consequences. I do have alcohol and/or dark chocolate in special occasions, those are my favourite treats.
      Regarding nuts, they have 2 problems: 1) they are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and 2) they have anti-nutrients which can damage the gut and prevent us from absorbing nutrients. Issue #1 is managed by choosing nuts that have a more decent omega-3:omega-6 ratio (walnuts and macadamias). Issue #2 is reduced somewhat by “activating” the nuts, ie soaking them for a few hours and them drying them (either in a dehydrator, in the oven at the lowest temp for many hours or air/sun drying them). As I said, this reduces the anti-nutrients but doesn’t eliminate them. It’s ok to eat nuts once in a while (they’re super tasty, after all), but don’t overdo them. Robb Wolf says that if you’re going to eat nuts, shell them yourself as you eat them, because that slows you down.

      • thanks so much Gaby, that is really helpful. I’m pretty useless at self control when it comes to nuts anyway so i’ll probably just relegate them to the ‘very very occasionally’ basket :)
        xx


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