HELP FOR HEALTHIER HOLIDAYS
It’s Holiday time again. A time for twinkling lights, family gatherings, delicious food; singing joyful songs, exchanging gifts, delicious food; being cozy by a fire, playing in the snow, more delicious food; and then, likely, a New Year’s Resolution to shed the effects of all that indulgence in delicious foods!
It doesn’t have to end there. Or start there. Really. With some simple advanced planning you can avoid the inevitable, mushrooming muffin-top and extra notches in your belts. Here are some strategic suggestions that will allow you to enjoy the festivities and still have your healthiest Holidays yet:
- Stick to your sleep schedule as many nights as possible. Get to bed before midnight & be up before 9. Getting enough sleep will increase your ability to cope & keep your sense of humor. We now know that lack of sleep can raise your blood sugar and pack on the pounds.
- Stick to your exercise routine; better yet, step it up. If you’re traveling, you may not be able to get to the gym. But you can always walk (even in airports while you’re waiting for your flight). If weather permits, snowshoe or ski, especially cross-country: really burns up calories. If weather is nasty, do jumping jacks, hula hoop, yoga - anything to move your body around. Your digestion, elimination & waistband will thank you.
- Eat meals at regular intervals. Don’t skip breakfast thinking you’ll save a few calories. Make sure at least breakfast & lunch include protein (Greek yogurt, eggs, fish, skinless poultry, lean meat, nut butter, tofu or other members of the bean or legume families, cheese...). You’ll be less hungry that way.
- A good Breakfast might be sautéed veggies & eggs or plain Greek yogurt with fruit chunks, a few crumbled nuts or a little granola. Lunch might be a bowl of Curried Butternut Squash with Red Lentils* (recipe below) or leftover salmon or chicken on a bed of spinach with pomegranate arils, orange slices, walnuts, red onion (looks beautiful & is very tasty). Dinner might be Spaghetti squash with pesto & cherry tomatoes cut in half and a green salad. Easy. Filling, but light.
- Get-together strategies or “How to Survive the Feasts” -- NEVER go to a Gathering hungry. Eat an apple & a little nut butter before you go. Or a cup of soup. Or a chicken breast.
- Take an offering to the event that is a healthier option than you think you might encounter. Make sure it is something that you enjoy! Think raw veggies & a light dip (such as the Tofu Dip* below).
- Look over your appetizer options & consciously choose the ones you really like & that are special to the occasion (skip the crackers & cheese, the nuts, the M&Ms ). Put 1 or 2 of your choices on a small plate or napkin & move to a different part of the room. Forget seconds. There’s likely to still be a meal to come.
- Make sure you take your digestive enzymes or Bean-o. And Magnesium citrate (150-300 mgs) if you think you might get constipated.
- Drink plenty of water. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks/gathering and 0-1 drinks/night when you’re at home.
- Use the same conscious choice method you applied to Appetizers, to the Sweets on offer. Pick the one or ones that are your favorites or special to the occasion. Skip the mounds of packaged cookies. Eat your choices slowly & really enjoy them, so you’ll be less tempted to go back for more. Make Apple Crisp to have at home instead of Chocolate Cream Pie.
- Lower your expectations. Perhaps it isn’t necessary to attend every event or to make 6 different kinds of homemade cookies. Maybe 3 or 4 kinds would be okay this year.
A little more advice: Don’t expect perfection of this different approach to socializing. That’ll just add another level of Stress! Just be conscientious and do your best. :-) Have fun. Relax. Laugh.
2015 HEALTHY LIFESTYLE KICKOFF
Just in case you need that extra boost to start the New Year off right and return to fighting weight, I’m offering my popular ‘The Naturopathic Herbal Cleanse’, It starts on
Wednesday, January 15th, 2015
We can undo any damage done & launch your Lifestyle Awareness Quest for 2015, Learn how to embark on a healthy, new Life plan to improve your Health Outlook and change your Wellness prospects forever. Not a grueling soup-to-nuts overhaul. Just some simple fine tuning that anyone can easily achieve.
So Stay tuned and mark the date on your calendars. Details to follow in the next few weeks. Friends & family are welcome to participate.
Let me know how many will be joining you.
Recipes -- My Holiday Gift to You
CURRIED SQUASH RED LENTIL SOUP
Martha Stewart Living, October 2001, Serves 6 to 8
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 recipe Curry Powder (=2Tbsp) I used Pensey’s Sweet Curry Powder
12 ounces red lentils (I used 1 1/2 cups - don’t have dry measure scale)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (I probably used more like 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp)
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch pieces (I probably used more like 2 1/2 - 3 lbs)
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium canned, or homemade, chicken stock, skimmed of fat (I used Emeril’s Vegetable Broth)
2 cups water
Combine salt and curry powder; set aside. Rinse lentils; set aside. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add curry mixture; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add squash; cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add stock and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lentils; cook until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Grind spices together with mortar & pestle or Vitamix.
Add to ground spices in blender or Vitamix.
Add to above in blender or Vitamix & whirr til smooth.
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp each Tamari & Lemon juice
1# silken tofu