As we're approaching Christmas and New Years, I wanted to revisit my primary tips for eating healthier, painlessly through the holidays.
1. Breathe—remember your body needs a full breath. That means that you breathe clear into your belly. When you breathe shallow, your body takes it as the first cue that you are under stress and will need to run for your life. This makes your body hold onto calories and crave carbs. Take frequent breathing breaks to avoid throwing your body into a stress reaction; thereby reducing cravings and avoiding a metabolism slow down.
2. Set a food allowance. Commit to eating healthy 70, 80 or 90 percent of the time. During this time focus on eating 50% of your plate in vegetables and the remaining to include grains and a protein source. The remaining 30, 20 or 10 percent of the time you can relax a little. Remember when you let your guard down a bit treat it “like going out for drinks, not going out to get drunk.” You can have a serving of dessert, you don't need to have all the desserts, have a glass of wine, not a bottle of wine, etc.
3. Chew; then chew some more. Chewing is the most important part of digestion. Not only does it make the food small enough we can swallow it but it also breaks the cells open that hold the nutrition. If we don't break open the cells we don't get the nutrition and our bodies will continue to crave food. This also allows our body to start dispersing the enzymes necessary to process the food. The mouth is the only place the body releases salivary amylase which is the enzyme that allows the body to process carbohydrates.
4. Review the table before you eat. Take the time to look over the food being served. Eat foods that are minimally processed first. Look for foods made by friends and family members. Avoid the foods made in stores and factories. Look for the foods that have Vitamin L(Love) and avoid foods made by machines and/or in a tense production environment. Remember the old adage “You are what you eat” is true. Your food goes into your mouth, your body assimilates and absorbs the food; then uses it to make new cells and fuel your body. 5. Fill up on primary food first. The holidays are about family and relationships. Enjoy the company and the connections. People who have a strong community supporting them live longer, happier lives. So take a bite, chew, talk, laugh, love. Savor the food and the company.
Also, take small portions. Give yourself permission to go back for seconds or thirds but make a rule that you have to wait 5 minutes before going back for another portion. This will give time for you to enjoy the holidays, the food and allow your body to get the leptin, the hormone that tells your body it is full.
I hope you all have happy, fun and fulfilling holidays. Keep your focus on what matters most-love!
That's right it's the holiday time of year, but it's also the cold and flu time of year. This time of year it is imperative to support your immune system by getting proper nutrition and extra sleep. It becomes easy to keep making exceptions to the food allowance, to have fewer vegetables and more comfort foods. People tell you not to worry about what you eat, they justify overindulgence and sugar overload and it can become very tempting to throw caution to the wind, but if we do that we compromise our immune systems. We need to be cognizant of the importance of continuing to make our main focus eating seasonal, local vegetables and properly prepared grains; the other items become less tempting. Nature provides the foods we need at just the right time. Focus on local winter squashes, leeks, root and cruciferous vegetables. These provide the natural vitamins and minerals necessary to boost our immune system. Remember the more healthfully we eat the better armed our body is to fight off infections, colds, flu and other bugs that seem to run rampant at this time of year. Another important element to boosting the immune system is getting enough sleep. As humans we have been told we don't hibernate. While that is true in the sense that we don't sleep for months at a time, the truth of the matter is that humans require more sleep during the winter. In the time before we had all the artificial lighting when the sun went down people went to bed. Also, they got up with the sun, they didn't have alarm clocks, nature was their alarm clock. This becomes important at this time of year because your body can only heal and repair itself while you sleep. That's why we sleep so much when we get sick. However, if we acknowledge the need for more sleep and give ourselves the extra sleep needed, we become healthier and our immune system is supported and we have fewer illnesses. Unfortunately this natural immune system support is usually missed or more likely dismissed as nonsense. Another good reason to get more sleep is the additional stress we take on during this time of year. We're trying to do so much in so little time--work, year end, quarter end, shopping, decorating, budgeting, Christmas, New Year's Eve, family, friends, festivities, kids, kid's concerts and plays, etc. A very wise doctor of mine once told me our bodies actually process stress between the 5th and 6th hours of sleep. I've never forgotten that. He told me that because I was having a hard time processing stress. I was taking care of a baby and going to college and taking care of 2 other children and a house and a husband. I was just never able to feel like I was able to handle it all. When the wise doctor started talking to me he quickly realized I never got more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. Because of this I wasn't able to process stress, this affected everything in my body and, yes, my immune system. Once my ex-husband stepped up to help me out and I could get hours of sleep at a time I improved almost immediately. I stopped getting sick and I was able to handle my stress better. Taking time to recognize what your body needs is one of the best ways to care for your body. If you would like to hear more and have support and instruction to help you with this, please sign up for a free health consultation. I would love to help you get back in touch with your body's needs.