Happy Holidays from us at Annex Naturopathic Clinic!
It’s a shared feeling amongst most people that this is a crazy, hectic time of year.
This typically leads to most of us neglecting our good healthy habits and trading it up for stress-coping indulgences from the vast number of treats the holiday season has to offer.
While as naturopathic doctors, we understand and encourage giving in to the season, letting loose and participating in some of these indulgences.
It’s also important to be mindful of HOW MUCH you’re indulging and whether the extent of the indulgences is negatively affecting the both your physical and mental health.
Here are 5 tips that allows you to let loose and indulge, while maintaining healthy weight and stable mental health during this busy time of year.
Not only is keeping hydrated important for maintaining healthy skin during these DRY winter months, it will also keep your stomach full, preventing your from NEEDING those 3-5 extra cookies available in the lunch room, or from getting “too tipsy” and then “too hungover” from the holiday parties.
Staying hydrated doesn’t mean drinking only water – you can keep hydrated by sipping on herbal teas as well, as long as they aren’t caffeinated.
Drink at least 2L (8 cups) of water or tea daily (6 cups of water, 2 cups of tea) to keep yourself hydrated.
You can drink your water warm, squeeze some lemon in to it, or use teas like chamomile, ginger, lemon balm and peppermint to keep yourself warm and strengthen your digestion and help you cope with stress (two things that are typically imbalanced during this time of year).
When attending a holiday lunch or dinner, try sticking to meals that are low in carbohydrates (especially wheat-based carbs) and higher in protein, fats.
Also make sure to get a healthy dose of vegetables (greens in particular) with your meals, despite if the other foods are not as healthy.
The vegetables will ensure you’re getting SOME nutrients with these meals, bind excess fat, and provide fibre.
Avoiding the carbs will make your full quicker which will help keep the weight down, prevent blood sugar spikes and dips, and maintain your energy.
Cutting out the carbs during your meals also gives you some more wiggle room for sugary treats that are offered during this season.
Limit your Sugary Snacks:
It’s not realistic to avoid the vast amount of sugar that is served up this season – especially if you happen to have a sweet tooth.
By reducing your carb intake at your meals, it allows you to have a bit more room in your body for the pretty cookies and chocolate.
But don’t go overboard. Have ONE cookie, ONE piece of chocolate and wait – this allows you to taste the sweet, enjoy, and it won’t send you in to a frenzy of sugar highs and lows.
Blood sugar stabilization is extremely important in maintaining good energy during the day, maintaining weight and coping with the stress around us.
Sudden blood sugar spikes from indulging in too much sugar leads to sudden blood sugar drops, which make us tired, irritable, messes with our hormones that maintain our circadian rhythms, and makes us CRAVE more sugar in the long run!
Stick to low sugar drinks:
Starting off your night with a cold beer, nice glass of wine (or 2) with dinner, or a fancy cocktail its totally fine but if you decide to have a few drinks that night, it’s always wise to switch to drinks with a lower sugar content.
Not only will this prevent a nasty hangover, but it will also keep the waistline from expanding.
Mixing clear alcohols (like vodka, gin, tequila ) with club soda (not tonic!) with some lemon/lime, and ordering it in a “tall glass” with a “single shot” (therefore a higher club soda to alcohol ratio) will help you pace your alcohol so you don’t get too tipsy too quick, and keep you hydrated at the same time.
And most importantly NO POP – it’s not worth it.
Keep your indulgences to happy times, not stressful times:
This is an important aspect of mindful eating – you associate eating and drinking/indulging during times of socialization, relaxation and fun, instead of using sugar and alcohol for times when you’re stressed, need break or bored (eating sugar during in between work, or binging afterwork for no occasion).
This helps you disassociate from using these indulgences as a way to cope with stress and to “relax”, breaking the hard cycle that leads to ill-health in the long run.
Also, when you limit your indulgences to happy times, you’re less-likely to over-indulge, as you’re feeling happy, content and satisfied for many reasons, not just from food and drink.
These tips will allow you to enjoy your holiday indulgences guilt-free and let you start 2018 on a healthy path!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D