3 Ways To Make The Holidays Healthier
Most of us embrace the holiday season wholeheartedly, after all it’s that time of year when our hearts are open, our living spaces glowing, and our bellies in need for some extra lovin’. And by extra lovin’ I mean all that yummy decadent foods that go hand in hand with this cold yet cozy season that may (or may not) invoke a bit of guilt somewhere within us. But instead of feeling guilty or forcing yourself to go on a major detox in the middle of winter when our bodies need the most rest (yes that includes the dreaded New Year resolution and the failed attempt that always follow), why not adopt a few simple and healthy habits to incorporate into your daily routine? No deprivation, no major changes at once, and most importantly no need to feel guilty for enjoying foods you love. Leave that New Year resolution, instead decide to have more fun and excitement in your life in 2016, not deprivation and unsustainable life changes. First think about adding, not taking away.
As I’m going through my own health journey, my Naturopath keeps reminding me that the turtle always wins the race, and you know what, he is right! So let’s be the turtle and win some races together dam it! Remember, the key is to empower yourself by learning more and taking some simple steps toward your health.
So how do I start? Okay, some simple things to first get familiar with: Get to know how your body responds to different foods and take note, no I mean literally, write all of it down, your body’s response, emotional responses, all of it (I promise this will help); get to know what is in your food, read the ingredient list instead of the calories (the ingredient list is much more important), and ask yourself is this processed? Keep track of how much processed food you are eating but it’s important to remember the point is not to highlight all the bad stuff in your diet, it’s about empowering yourself to know what you are eating so you can have control of what goes into your body.
So let’s get started, here are 3 simple ways to invite health into our lives this Holiday season:
Purified or filtered water is the most important thing you can consume for your health. Why? Let’s take a look... The body gets rid of waste and toxins through the lymphatic, immune, and digestive system, as well as the kidneys and our relentless hero organ, the liver. All these systems work together to get rid of accumulated toxins and waste. The most effective way to help our body eliminate toxins is by drinking water! We are living in a time where we are constantly surrounded by toxins, both in our food and environment so it’s very important to help in the elimination process. One way to even further this process is by adding half the juice of lemon into a large glass of water and drinking it first thing in the morning. The sour flavour jumpstarts our system and stimulates our liver to flush. There are plenty of other reasons to drink adequate water: it increases energy levels, alleviates headaches, hydrates, promotes healthy bowel movements, and so much more. To determine your daily water intake, consider your lifestyle, diet, and overall body, first. Generally however adequate water intake should equal your weight in kilograms, so for example, if you weigh 150lbs that equals to 68kg, so 68 ounces (2L) of water per day including foods and drinks (except coffee, tea, and sodas). This season try adding organic citrus zest, or a few crushed cranberries, play around a little and add your favorite herbs like mint, sage or rosemary into your water for flavour and extra nutrients! Every little bit counts.
There are times when sweet serves us, for example unrefined carbohydrates can activate insulin production and pancreatic enzymes, it fuels our muscles, our nerves and our brain. It is also a source of energy for all our bodily functions. So then when does sugar become so bad? Refined or concentrated carbohydrates and sugars are easily the worst ingredient you can consume in your diet. Here’s the thing, when sugar is stripped of all of its fibres, minerals, and vitamins, the natural compounds that work synergistically are broken down, the life force is gone and the natural balance lost. When we consume refined sugar or adulterated sugars it shocks our body, it no longer helps us, instead it works against us, it starts acting like poison. Refined sugar in excess causes acidity in our body, destroys important vitamins like vitamin B, depletes our body of minerals, can slow down calcium metabolism, weakens our digestive system, feeds infection, promotes bone loss and arthritis, and so on. Remember, it’s not about depriving yourself of the sweet things in life, it’s about finding the right sweet for you. So this holiday season, use UNrefined sugars like maple syrup, molasses, raw honey, dates, raw cane sugar, or coconut sugar in your cooking. Swap out the white stuff with any of these and instead of feeling guilty, be proud of yourself for making even the smallest changes. Enjoy each bite. And don’t forget, you’re the turtle! One step at a time, eventually you will get ahead.
3. Bone Broth
Did you know when the Turtle won the race he was found with a bottle of bone broth in-hand? Okay, so I made that up but this stuff is so powerful and amazing, I seriously believe it can even make snails win races! Here’s a Pop quiz: How do you add vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats to your body at once without any pills? Answer: Bone broth! What is the best food for healing or recovering after illness or surgery? Bone Broth! Should I keep going? Okay one more, what is the best way to stay hydrated while providing nutrients to your daily routine? Bone broth! I could go on but for your sake I won’t. I will say this though, in my experience bone broth is the absolute magic ingredient, the yummiest superfood, and ultimate healing and recovery food that exists. Not only that, but somehow it also magically elevates our emotional states. You’ve got to try this, it is a super easy way to increase nutrient intake, promote healing in your body, and help with achieving optimum health. Bone broth can be added to anything: sauces, gravy, mash potatoes, rice, risotto, stews, soups, etc... get creative! To add even more nutrients, when boiling your bones in water
(with the holy trinity of soup: carrots, onions, and celery) add two table spoons of raw apple cider vinegar and a strip of Kombu seaweed if available (don’t worry this does NOT taste anything like seaweed), and let it simmer for up to 24 hours; this will draw out all the nutrients especially in the bones and it becomes a medicinal food that will truly help you heal. When making turkey (or ham) this season, add a couple cups of bone broth to the gravy and mash potatoes, or have a cup of broth first thing in the morning. This winter, it’s all about feeling good and enjoying flavours while being healthy, This, will definitely take you there! Enjoy.