How To Enjoy The Holiday’s Without Sabotaging Your Health
I love this time of year! Filled with traditions, seasonal foods, and a reason to celebrate getting through another year, but it can be so hard to navigate through the holidays constantly testing your willpower when you’re on your wellness journey. Even though 2020 is different, it’s still baking season, neighbors are still swapping Christmas cookies, and we’re having *virtual* happy hours with friends.
But after a long holiday season of indulgence your body is often left really inflamed. Feeling more bloated, your stomach is aching, skin is breaking out, and a few extra pounds to boot. Just feel kinda dull and “yucky”. Right?
So January comes around, you feel crappy and tell yourself you have to cleanse or detox from all of your indulgences that have built up over the last few months. But waiting for that cleanse in the new year can be so hard because we’ve wired ourselves on sugar for so long that it’s hard to break the cycle.
Rather than depriving yourself of all the seasonal treats (which we know is unrealistic) or binging on inflammatory foods all December and promising to cleanse it all away after the holidays (which is also tricky), I find it helpful to keep these tips in mind to help make conscious choices around these treats. This helps reinforce the fact those treats are a choice instead leaving you feeling deprived or failed after ‘cheating’ on your diet.
Start The Day with a Balanced Breakfast
A balanced breakfast, balances your blood sugar, which naturally curbs cravings so you don’t feel controlled by Christmas cookies all day.
Include protein, healthy fat, and vegetables on your plate. This combination will help you start the day with balanced blood sugar, stabilizing your hormones, stabilizing energy and mood especially during any holiday stress. If you need some inspiration, download my free Balanced Breakfast ebook here!
Be Aware of Hidden Sugars
A peppermint mocha from Starbucks has 42 grams of sugar, in a small. That’s almost 1/4 cup of sugar in your coffee. A month filled with extra sweet coffee drinks, cookies and wine is a lot of sugar for your body to process. No wonder it’s so easy to feel bloated and icky but New Years.
To enjoy the special treats that come during this time of year, be aware of the extra sugars that are in your regular food.
Especially look out for added sugars in things like yogurt, granola, bread, nut butters, condiments like ketchup and salad dressing, and other drinks like iced tea, soda and fruit juice.
So instead of a daily peppermint mocha, try some mint or chia tea for the seasonal flavors. Or if you want coffee, add a splash of an unsweetened dairy-free creamer like Nutpods or Calafia to your black coffee.
Instead of avoiding it all together, find a better alternative and enjoy the real thing every once in a while. That way when you choose to have that pie, cookie or eggnog, you’re savoring that treat rather than compounding it with the hidden sugars found in everything else.
An abundance of sugar adds stress on the body promoting inflammation, imbalanced blood sugar, weight gain, poor sleep and fluctuating energy.
Switch Out The Inflammatory Ingredients
The holidays mean holiday baking in my house! I have spent days (yes, multiple) in the kitchen making countless cookies, bars, candy, pies, and my tradition family recipe for zucchini bread.
But when I started my healing journey to overcome SIBO and other digestive issues that meant making some changes to the traditional recipes.
To avoid a season of bloating I switched the all purpose flour for grain free, canola oil for butter or coconut oil, and white sugar for unrefined sugars like coconut sugar, maple syrup or fruit.
By making these swaps, you decrease the amount of inflammatory ingredients which means a smoother holiday season with less bloat and gas!
Need some ideas and recipes? Download my free Sweet Treats eCookbook here!
Get my free Sweet Treats eCookbook for 7 lightly sweetened desserts to satisfy cravings while reducing inflammation.
Brown Butter Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Black Forest Parfait
Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding & More
All recipes are gluten, dairy, grain and refined sugar free!
Especially if you’re drinking alcohol, make sure you’re consuming at least half your body weight in oz of filtered water (150 lbs = 75oz of water) daily.
This will set you up for success making sure your body can process and detox the extra toxins that you may be indulging in this time of year. Try to stick to filtered water, avoiding tap water as it can have chlorine, fluoride and chemicals in it which just make for another thing for our bodies to filter.
And if you are indulging in alcohol, try to avoid the mixers like juice, tonic and soda, which have a lot of added sugar. Organic dry wines and pure spirits like vodka, gin, tequila, and whisky have low residual sugars and therefore will have a lesser effect on your blood sugar. Mix with soda water and citrus for a more festive drink.
Above All, Be Honest & Gentle With Yourself.
It’s been a long year. Don’t let one ‘slip up’ change the course of your day or week. Having a piece of pie is not the end of the world. Our bodies are built to tolerate a lot, but that doesn’t mean we have to make it suffer with bloat and heartburn all month.
Make conscious choices of when you want to treat yourself, rather than mindlessly eating what’s in front of you. Ask yourself, “Do I really want this pie? How is this going to make me feel? Is it worth it?” If you choose to have that piece of pie, enjoy it! Savor it.
Know that you’re day hasn’t become “undone” by that one choice. Your next meal is a chance to nourish your body and treat it well so that one piece of pie isn’t a make or break situation.
As much as you can, enjoy good food with the people you love, however that may look.
Nutrition is beyond what is on your plate. Let your stress melt away and enjoy the things that matter with the company of loved ones around the table. Lowering stress will actually improve your digestion and nutrient absorption.