My name’s Mariana Sala, a busy mum of 2, owner of Quantum Vis cafe & creator of Miss Keto meals. This is my little corner where I’d like to share what works for me on a clean keto life, recipes, wellness, nutrition & stress-management.

Let’s be straight honest…who doesn’t feel extremely challenged to stay healthy during December? The endless gatherings and social events plus constant food offerings loaded with carbs and sugar make the “silly season” an excruciating time of the year for many.

I used to dread December thinking all my sustained efforts to keep my body healthy and in ketosis would be sabotaged after just a couple of weeks of indulging in sugary treats, alcohol and carb-loaded snacky foods. After years of going through this painful experience I learnt that nothing is actually as bad as it looks, as long as you find balance.  

Below you will find 5 of my most helpful tips that will help you enjoy this holiday season a bit more.

That feeling you get when Christmas season is fast approaching

1) Know your body is extremely smart and protective

Your body -or hardware as some people like to call it- is extremely smart. If you choose healthy and nutritious food most of the time during the year, your body will remember that. If you have a break and decide to let go of your keto diet for a bit, your body will of course get out of ketosis but will come back to it quickly too. 

If you eat or drink something and then you have tummy pains, headaches or feel unwell, that’s your body protecting you. Listening to your body and the messages it sends you every day is fundamental to connect with it and stay tuned. 

What I am trying to say here is that we don’t need to obsess over net carbs, macros, grams, kilos, numbers in general. You and your body are in control of your own nutrition and if you want to enjoy a couple of festive meals with friends and family, these won’t affect your general health and well-being. Enjoy them and then the next day or meal come back to your regular food choices.

2) Understand prep is essential

For me, one of the most helpful tricks I use when it comes to socialising is to plan ahead, in particular when I’m invited to shared dinners and events. There’s plenty of delicious keto foods and drinks that are as enjoyable as any other foods. For example, I love my broccoli and bacon salad accompanied by a good steak. How about a kale, spinach and rocket salad with your barbecued chicken? When it comes to drinks, I stick to bubbles and dry wine. Desserts are a bit more complicated for me but there’s a lot of keto-friendly ice-cream and chocolate options in the supermarkets now which make our lives a bit easier.  

3) Mix it up

If you are taking a more relaxed approach this 2022 year end, great news! You can always mix it up. And what I mean is you don’t have to let go of all your healthy choices. You can, for example, have a healthy keto breakfast and lunch and enjoy a non-keto dinner with your work colleagues. You can go out for an indulging brunch with the girls and then come home, hydrate and eat a light keto dinner. You can also have a glass of wine followed by a glass of water. For me, it’s all about balance, particularly around summer times.

The worst decision I’ve made in the past is to let go and completely surrender to unhealthy food choices hoping I would get “back on track” after the holidays. So yup…mixing it up and making sure I do enjoy the breaks has changed my whole Christmas break picture. Now I don’t have to prepare myself physically and psychologically for a big detox cleanse once the holidays are over. Again, balance is the key word here. 

Festive times call for endless shared dinners and celebrations

4) Don’t be so hard on yourself

Guilt and shame are the worst feelings I have experienced in my life. I used to be stuck in a loop I couldn’t get myself out of. It started with my strict obsession with a clean keto life during autumn and winter, followed by indulging in foods loaded with sugar and carbs during the hotter, more sociable months. This imbalance would then create a massive feeling of guilt, shame and failure. So I would start a very strict detox for weeks as a sort of punishment for having fallen “off the wagon”. This unhealthy loop would repeat itself for years.

It took a lot of inner self-work and learning to realise this behaviour was not just unhealthy but extremely irrational. Living a life in black and white, right or wrong is not realistic. Understanding balance as the base to a happy healthy life, regardless of what diet your body feels best on, is a simple though fundamental principle. I slowly replaced the harsh words I was telling myself by kinder ones. I stopped being so hard on myself and I’m now a more adaptable and happier woman. 

Balance is key

5) Replace as much as you can…

Replacing foods and drinks is a very common practice in the keto community. It does work for me during festive times because it gives me the opportunity to join parties and social events without feeling “the odd one out”. Three good examples are:

  • If I don’t feel like drinking alcohol, I replace a glass of wine or bubbles with a glass of kombucha -it works wonders! 
  • I love konjac! Konjac is a keto-friendly vegetable and even though nutritionally speaking it’s an empty food, it comes in different forms: rice, noodles, spaghetti, etc, perfect replacement for a curry or pasta dinner! They are also ready in seconds!
  • When it comes to sweets, I try to find a good option for me to replace that piece of cake or bowl of ice-cream. There’s lots of options out there at the moment. Here at Miss Keto we have created a “sweet treat box” which consists of 5 delicious slices, all different flavours! My friends and family absolutely love them and they know I would always bring a pack with me to share with them after a meal! Check it out on our website. It’s also a great gift for Christmas!

I hope this blog has helped you. I’m still a long way from completely letting go of my bad past habits, particularly when it comes to weight gain and negative self body talk. However I know that I have to start somewhere and awareness is definitely the first step.