As you prepare for the holidays and the parties, snacks, and drinks that are synonymous with this time of year, I’d like to provide you with a few simple strategies to help you stay on track with your health goals.
In the past, a common diet mindset was to deny and deprive ourselves of our favourite treats. We used to spend time counting calories …and restricting them. We played games with ourselves like “I’m going to workout extra hard tomorrow or starve myself so that I can indulge tonight.”
What if we could change all of that? What if we savoured every single bite, lingered over the flavours and thoroughly enjoyed the delights of the season? Can we do that and not carry any guilt about it?
With moderation, mindfulness and a few simple strategies, it is possible to stay healthy and
happy this holiday season.
1. Drink Water
It is recommended to drink 2L of purified water every day. If you actually consume this much water there isn’t a whole lot of room for more fluids. The benefits of adequate hydration go beyond frequent elimination. Hydration helps detoxify your body, it boosts metabolism, and it facilitates all of the biochemical reactions required for bodily maintenance and function.
Suggestion: Drink water before you go out, in between each festive spirit and again before you go to sleep. Many of the symptoms of a hangover can be attributed to dehydration.
2. Prepare yourself
Before you go out enjoy a green smoothie and some apple cider vinegar. Dark leafy green vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols. This Green Smoothie will help reduce cravings and control blood sugar. Consuming 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve insulin function and lower blood sugar after a meal. The damaging effects of high blood sugar are not only a precursor to Type II Diabetes, but high blood sugar also negatively impacts energy, hormone and mood balance as well.
3. Mix it up
Offset some of the indulgences by eating veggies too, and if you notice your taste buds are stuck on a certain delectable treat, give them something different. Your taste buds can be trained and distracting them with a different flavour can be an effective strategy to stop overeating. Alternating raw vegetable sticks between treats will provide more fibre to help you feel full faster. Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew each mouthful until it is liquid, not only does this aid your digestive process but the mental engagement helps you to feel more satiated. It is rewarding to fulfill each tastebud with a complex flavour profile. We often satisfy the sweet and salty flavours, but let’s not forget about bitter (olives), sour (citrus) and umami (brie cheese) flavours as well.
4. Focus on the positives
I live with the 80/20 rule. If you make good, healthy choices 80% of the time, then enjoying the odd indulgence occasionally doesn’t need to provoke guilt or shame. Rather than the punishing diet mentality, why not opt for an extended walk the day after your party with the mere intent to take in some fresh air, feel sunshine on your face and delight your senses with the diverse beauty of nature? A yoga class or sauna that combines gentle twists with a cleansing sweat, followed immediately with a shower, will encourage natural detoxification. Add some cruciferous vegetables to your meals like kale, broccoli, cauliflower or brussels sprouts to support liver health and promote bile flow to further enhance detox efforts.
Let’s not beat ourselves down, but rather pick ourselves up with nourishing foods and nurturing behaviours. Laugh more, smile often, sleep enough and prioritize sharing time with family, friends, pets and nature.
Give yourself the gift of Gut Health
Along your digestive tract is an ecosystem that can be highly beneficial to your overall health. It is known as your gut microbiome and it is the key to health, longevity and happiness. For example, the caloric value of food is determined by your microbiome (not the package label). So let’s stop counting calories and start shifting your microbiome to a healthier state. If you want to learn more about gut health and how to optimize yours, then call me for a free 15min introduction to learn more about how your gut health can benefit you.