Updated: Apr 5
By Dr. Marika Berni, ND
The next few weeks will bring time with family and friends, tempting dishes, scrumptious treats, and way too much alcohol! This can definitely be a divergence from our healthy routines and possibly resulting in some unwanted pounds and added stress. Here are some tips on how to get through the holidays without too many negative consequences!
Start your Day with Protein
Start your day making a protein shake with a scoop of protein powder (aim for at least 20 grams), unsweetened almond milk, fresh greens, frozen berries, some flax seed powder and almond butter. Having the right amount of protein first thing will help to keep your insulin balanced throughout the day and decrease your cravings for those tempting treats. Whey isolate has been shown to increase fat loss and maintain lean muscle mass. Having a protein shake for breakfast or even as a meal replacement at lunch during the holidays is a great way to curb your appetite and avoid the expansion of your waistline.
Anticipate and Identify Potential Stress Triggers
I remember one of my patients once telling me that the holidays were not as bad as she had anticipated. Just like many of us, being in close quarters for extended periods of time with family was stressful for her. What she did to get through the holiday was brilliant. She has gone through the holiday by playing a game with her husband. She called it “Family Bingo”. Before the event she identified all of things that she thought her family would say or do what would trigger her. She wrote them out on a sheet. Every time one of these things happened, instead of getting angry and upset, she winked at her husband and checked it off her list. Once she had checked off a line she was entitled to a prize – she chose a spa day once she returned home! By identifying her triggers and transforming them into a game she was able to not get upset and enjoy the holidays – and a spa day to top it off!
Support your Liver
The holidays bring many temptations. Rich meals, high fat, sugary treats and an abundance of alcohol can be an added stressor to the liver. Your liver plays a vital role in detoxifying your blood, and breaking down toxins to rid them from your system. You can support liver function so that it can process your holiday indulgences by starting your day with a glass of water with half a lemon squeezed in it. Lemon juice reduces inflammation and oxidation in the liver. It also gives you a shot of Vitamin C, which adds to the antioxidant properties of the lemon water. Increase beets, broccoli, and leafy greens and drink plenty of green and dandelion teas to support your liver’s function. You can also consider a good liver support supplement, which combines nutrients and botanicals known to support liver function. See your naturopathic doctor to see which one would be best for you.
Pick your Pleasure
While it would be difficult to say no to your Aunt Mabels’s once a year famous carrot cake, you can say no to some of the plethora of delectable treats which are presented to you at the office, family events and gatherings with friends. Before the holidays, decide what you really cannot live without. List your favourite holiday treats. Anything that is not on that list gets a “thank you but no thank you”. By doing this you will avoid mindless, endless eating and really enjoy the treats that you have been anticipating and looking forward to and avoid the extra, unwanted calories.
Keep your Immune System on High Alert.
A few days into 2018, I was hit with the stomach flu; the likes of which I have not seen in sometime. After running into some friends from a New Year’s Eve party we attended, I discovered that at least 5 of us had been hit with the virus at the exact same time. It was not the best way to start the New Year! Boost your immune system over the holidays – increase Vitamin C and Zinc -rich foods or consider supplementing. Ensure you are taking your Vitamin D3 consistently throughout the holidays. Consider investing in a good Echinacea supplement, which can help to ward off illness. Research shows it increases the number of white blood cells,which fight infections and can prevent colds and flus. Take if for 7 days or so through the busiest part of the holidays. And don’t forget the simple things like frequent hand washing and ensuring adequate sleep! By taking some simple measures your can ensure you get through the holidays without illness.
The holidays are filled with love and special time spent with family and friends. Enjoy the break, get outside, exercise, eat some good food, sleep as much as you as can and don’t forget to take the time to relax.
Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday and Healthy 2019!
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