In one of our most recent emails, we talked about the Holiday Diet Blues together. How joyous anticipation fills the air as we all stand on the starting line of another holiday season with several weeks of navigating parties, comments from relatives, influences from co-workers, and a constant supply of left-overs! Oh, those left-overs!
Keeping our health front of mind during this time can often feel more burdensome than nurturing, making it reasonable that we'd rather "sit it all down" until January. But what if there is a comfortable way to continue practicing Stewardship of our bodies without it creating internal conflict?
In keeping with our Benedictine CARE spirit to focus on what to add versus restrict, let's talk through a few tips together. These tips all support better blood sugar regulation, digestive health, and immune support.
Focus on what to add this holiday season
- Don’t skip breakfast: Too often we think we can make up for indulgences the night before by skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast sets you up for what is called ‘compensatory eating’. This could contribute to you eating more later in the day and increasing cravings for more sweets and treats by early afternoon.
- Make breakfast really count: During the holidays, there are many times of day when you have less say over what is served, making it harder to find options that include produce. Start your day off with a nutrient-rich breakfast that is fiber-rich, balanced with protein and healthy fats, and lots of produce; get fruits and vegetables in early since you probably won’t get enough later in the day; have a breakfast blend made with kefir or Greek yogurt + flax + frozen berries, peaches, and cherries + fresh baby kale and/or spinach, and mint leaves.
- Breathe and know that you can reset behaviors during the day: If you had cookies with your lunch, gently wait 3-4 hours before eating again to give your digestion time to work; you can save thousands of calories a day by not constantly grazing on dense holiday foods.
- When it's been a few hours and you are excited to eat again - eat this first: 1) one serving of fruit or vegetable, AND 2) one additional fiber source (flax crackers, hummus or other bean dip, etc.) PLUS a glass of water; fiber reduces the rate sugar is absorbed in our bodies – it won’t negate everything, but it will help you feel full faster and give you some strength to decline that third (or fourth) cookie; and by adding just one serving of produce each time you eat – you’ll automatically ensure a minimum of 4 servings; this becomes significant in helping support your immune system while the sugar is trying to suppress it; and I’ll whisper this part – this effort will help keep you regular (you know how important this is and how fast regularity leaves you as you eat more cheese and cookies!)
- Give yourself permission to enjoy your traditional family recipes on the actual day of the holiday: Remember Christmas is only 1 day long not 4; I don’t even talk with clients about balancing traditional favorites; you should eat stuffing the way your grandma made it – just make them with as high of quality ingredients as you can; it’s what and how much we eat the 360 non-holiday days each year that matter way more.
- Get up and MOVE: Just 20 minutes of light activity right after a meal, like walking or making snow angels, helps push blood sugar into working muscles bringing insulin levels down. This is the same insulin that makes you feel so sluggish after a heavy meal (it's not the turkey!); even though moving is the last thing you feel like doing, moving is the best thing you can do to help you feel like doing anything else for the rest of the day like playing games with grandkids, digging through old family pictures, and making new family memories - all of those things that the holidays are really about!
This year, focus on what to do rather than what not to do. Learning just a few key things to help you navigate each challenge will leave you empowered, confident, and energetic during this wonderful time of year. This year you can avoid those pesky Holiday Diet Blues progressing to New Year's Day Holiday Diet Regret!
Learn more about our new Benedictine CARE Wellness Program link: https://www.perfectlyproduce.com/benedictine-care-wellness-program/