Let’s face it! Although the holidays are a time to connect with those we love, it’s also a time that tends to center around food. Food is everywhere! You can enjoy the holidays without feeling heavy, bloated, stressed and exhausted. Here’s how:
Don’t Run Out on Empty
We’ve all done it! You arrive at the buffet or pot-luck famished and load up mindlessly on a wide array of dishes and desserts leaving you feeling like you are in a coma afterward! A little planning goes a long way. Consider fueling your body with a healthy smoothie, a trail mix or a hearty salad before going to the event to avoid the hunger pangs and impulse eating. Be sure to include a good fat and protein.
Keep it Healthy Most of the Time
Strive to make healthy choices as much as you can. If you’re at a potluck, choose a small plate and load it first with vegetables. High in fiber, nutrients and low in calories, veggies will satisfy your hunger and regulate your appetite. Next choose protein and good fat. Follow the 70:30 rule when filling your plate. 70% veggies, 30% other.
Contribute a Healthy Dish or Two
Consider contributing a healthy dish or two if you are attending or hosting a pot-luck. This will ensure you have some good choices available. There are handfuls of wonderful, tasty and healthy recipes online!
Filter the Menu in Advance
Going to a venue for a holiday event? Check out the menu online in advance and determine what some healthier options are. Most restaurants are accommodating so don’t hesitate to make special requests such as more veggies in lieu of starch or extra protein on your salad.
A Mindful Balancing Act
Many people live by the motto “all in moderation”. The problem with this is that “moderation” can look very different from one person to another. I prefer to talk about “balance”. Maintaining balance requires making mindful choices. With a little planning and decision making, there’s no need to feel deprived nor out of control. Take a look at the upcoming week. If you have more than one social gathering, perhaps choose one where you will enjoy an indulgence, and be sure to indulge in something you absolutely love! You don’t need to have high calorie holiday drinks or dessert at every event in order to enjoy yourself or the company of those you surround yourself with. As an alternative, sip on a holiday tea (keep a few tea bags on hand), soda water or a natural spritzer. You will be grateful afterward.
Digestion is a very complex process that requires a lot of energy. When we eat foods that are heavy, processed or intolerant to, our digestive system becomes overwhelmed. Keeping a bottle of full-spectrum digestive enzymes on hand for when you choose to eat foods that are a little more complex can have huge positive effects. Digestive enzymes are a safely and effectively help us break down our food.. Enzymes can be taken before, during or after a meal to help prevent fullness, bloating, gas and indigestion. Adding a couple tablespoons of a fermented food containing naturally occurring probiotics such as organic sauerkraut or kimchi to your meal is another great way to improve digestion. Consider bringing some along for everyone to taste!
Fresh squeezed lemon in water or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before meals are helpful for promoting digestion and regulating appetite. Herbal teas such as fennel, peppermint and ginger after a meal are wonderfully soothing to the digestive system. There are many herbal tea formulations to support digestion as well. Experiment with a variety of teas to see which ones work best for you!
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
It’s a busy time of year and easy to slip out of routines. More people get sick over the holidays than at any other time of year! It’s important not to forget the basics: sleep, rest, exercise and hydration. If you are not waking feeling energized, chances are you are not getting enough rest. Many health practitioners including naturopaths will “prescribe” sleep before anything else. Sleep is essential for allowing our bodies to heal, regenerate and recharge. Too busy to maintain your exercise regime? Consider a brisk walk or hike, a winter activity like skiing or skating or even just having fun in the snow with family. Any form of movement oxygenates the body, improves circulation, activates digestion and floods the body with happy endorphins! And of course don’t forget water. Continue to aim for about 2 liters a day to help support every bodily process, increase satiety & flush toxins out of the body!
Last but not least, remember to be gentle on yourself. We all tend to make choices from time to time that do not produce the results we desire. When this happens, it’s best to use the opportunity as a learning experience and choose differently the next day. Every single moment provides an opportunity to make a different choice and to move toward your goals.