Chances are the thought has crossed your mind: “How am I going to maintain/sustain the success I have had now that the Holidays are upon us?” Avoiding your favorite holiday dishes might feel like the hardest test of self-control and endurance known to man. Studies show this is the time when most people gain the majority of the weight they want to lose each year. Accept that the holiday season presents an abundance of unhealthy foods, stressful situations, and other obstacles that can derail even the health-minded person.
You’re human — it’s ok to want a second slice! Be patient, yet firm with yourself. Allow yourself that occasional mindful indulgence, but don’t allow that to become a license to over-treat or sabotage your success to date. Remember: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are just three 24-hour days within the next seven weeks. That gives you 18 full days to reboot. Plus, use the tips listed below and you won’t need to do anything drastic to get back on the journey towards self-healing
PS: Check your email. We are sending each of you my AskDrErnst Thanksgiving Recipe eBook which is filled with traditional savories with a cellar healing diet twist. Your family and guests will second guess that what they’re enjoying is really grainless, dairy-free and sugar-free!
Practice A Mindset of Gratitude
The holidays can come with a lot of stress – family expectations, in-law drama, demands from schedules, holiday parties, shopping crowds, etc. Remember: what you focus on persists. When you focus instead of all that is wrong or off in your life research shows your blood pressure elevates, your heart rate increases, and neurotransmitters shift from joy/elation to frustration/worry.
Consider a gratitude journal – writing down each day (at the beginning or the end) something you are grateful for from that day’s activities. (Most people do this just once, on Thanksgiving Day, but it should and can be done daily for maximum effect). Eventually, you will see that even in the craziest of days gratitude helps put things into perspective.
Watch the Alcohol
Americans witness nearly a 100% increase in their drinking habits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That second spiked eggnog or holiday-themed drink can be a hidden source of added carbs. If you are going to have a drink, might I suggest you stick with Dry Farm Wines (www.DryFarmWines.com/AskDrErnst) an excellent source for both red and white wines that are low in alcohol (less than 12%), extremely low in sugar (less than 1g/L), and free of mold, yeast, and herbicide/pesticide toxins. If you are one to have a cocktail – consider grainless sources of your favorite liquor – as they are less inflammatory (i.e. grape and cactus-based vs rice/corn/wheat-based). Remember: there is nothing wrong with a “dry-holiday” – perhaps indulging instead in a glass of sparkling kombucha or simply sparkling water with a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon/lime juice (you can even put it into a fancy cocktail glass and no one will know the difference 🙂 )
Bring Your Own Food
Attending a holiday dinner party? If you are concerned there won’t be anything you can eat, why not simply bring your own veggie tray, healthy snack or sugar/free dessert or entree? Chances are the host will appreciate the offer and this will ensure you can at least eat what you brought. Better yet, you can always host your own event – you would be amazed at the reaction your guests have when they see the effort you have put into serving traditional favorites with a healthy twist.
Eat Before You Go
Showing up hungry for an office holiday party fans the desire to open up your plate to anything and everything available. Eating before you go not only curbs your appetite but helps you to say “no thank you” to whatever is placed before you. You can instead focus on the true meaning of the social gathering – THE PEOPLE – and not the food. (Isn’t it a shame that most get-togethers have become more about the food available than the people present?) Need some ideas for quick on the go items: a protein smoothie, mixed nut/seed snacks, beef jerky, or a protein bar can easily be kept ready at your office for that surprise party no one knew was happening.
Swap Your Favorites for An Alternative
Bacon-Wrapped Turkey becomes Turkey Bacon Wrapped Turkey. Mashed Potatoes turns into Mashed Cauliflower “No-Tatoes.” Breaded stuffing becomes a Grainless-Vegetable Nut Stuffing. With thousands of recipes online, you would be amazed at how many alternatives there are for common holiday foods. In addition to www.AskDrErnst.com consider the following sites for healthy holiday alternatives:
– Ruled.Me (A Ketogenic Friendly Database of Recipes)
– wellnessmama.com/category/recipes (A mom blogger with grainless dairy-free “kid approved” recipes – www.paleoleap.com (a database of some of the best grainless, low sugar paleo recipes)
This way, you can have all the traditional dishes you want (yes, even pumpkin pie) but with a healthy twist!
Load Up on Healthy First, Then Indulge
It’s no secret that fats fill you up. But the same is also true about nutrient-dense, fiber-loaded plant foods. When filling a plate, keep the majority of your first helping to the plant family and ultimately your stomach will thank you later. Several studies show that when you eat a salad first, it can help you eat less later on within the same meal.
An Extra Helping of Spinal Health
The holidays have been listed as the most stressful time of year – now is not the time to miss your chiropractic adjustments because of the holiday rigmarole. This is the time my family and I INCREASE the number of times per week I get adjusted and I suggest you do the same, especially if you have missed a visit (or two) in the last few weeks.
Please don’t “put them at the end” because – is there really an end to you having your health? Missed visit? Double up, your body will thank you this holiday with peace, ease, grace, and flow.