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Navigating the Holidays: How to maintain your health goals this holiday season

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

Maintaining balance during the holiday season can prove to be a delicate and daunting task, but fear not! I am here with tips and tricks to guide you through the festivities while keeping your health goals intact and not feeling deprived.

Pink background with silver and gold round ornaments, a Christmas gift, and candy canes

Naturopathic tips and tricks to maintaining well-being during Holiday Festivities

Cultivate Mindful Eating Habits: A cornerstone of naturopathic health is mindfulness. We need to remind ourselves and others to pause and savor each moment, especially during the special moments with our family and friends during the holidays.

Being mindful around food will allow you to be more conscious and present about the meals you decide to have. Some tips to guide you:

  • Engage your senses: Before your first bite, take in the aromas, textures, and colors of your food. Allow your body to anticipate the flavors.

  • Practice gratitude: Before diving into your meal, take a short moment to express your gratitude. This quick pause will prime your brain and body to switch into a place of "rest and digest," making it easier to digest your food.

  • Chew slowly and thoroughly: Often, during the fast-paced festivities, it is easy to quickly devour food. Instead, make it a point to bite and slowly chew your food. This allows every taste bud to enjoy the flavors and it aids your stomach to produce necessary gastric acids to properly break down food.

  • Take breaks during your meals: Put down your fork between bites. This simple task allows you to check in with your body's hunger cues, preventing overeating.

  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body's signals: Are you eating out of true hunger or are you responding to emotional triggers? Mindful eating makes your atuned to your body's needs and allows you to respond with kindness and love.

In a world of constant distractions, mindfulness is a powerful practice that puts you in the "here and now." Moderation is the key to enjoying the delights of the holidays without compromising your health goals. Let the experience be about quality, not quantity. Embrace a more mindful journey to navigate this holiday season with grace and love.

Create Nutrient-Rich Menus: As a naturopathic doctor, I advocate for creating menus that are centered on great tasting food and health and well-being. Imagine your plate as a canvas to be filled with a beautiful palette of nutrient-dense foods.

  • Protein: Include a generous serving of protein-rich foods, like lean meats and legumes. Protein is not just a nutrient for muscle-building. It also plays a crucial role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. This is particularly important during the holidays when sugary treats are always within arms length. A balanced intake of protein will stabilize blood sugar, promoting sustained energy and a happy mood (goodbye, hangriness!).

  • Fiber: Fiber is needed to feeling satiated and supporting digestive health. Load up on colorful vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. The soluble fiber in these foods helps stabilize blood sugar levels and will give you a lasting sense of fullness, reducing the temptation to overindulge in many sugary, less-than-nutritious treats.

  • Healthy Fats: Let's not forget the healthy fats: avocado, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil, grass-fed beef. Including these foods in your holiday menu is not only enhancing the nutrient profile, but also enhancing the flavors of the evening. Healthy fats are known to play a vital role in blood sugar balance, mood, satiety, and cognitive function.

Embrace Active Celebrations: Movement is medicine! Try to incorporate movement and your exercise routine into your holiday festivities. This can look like family hikes, dancing around the kitchen, or a friendly game of family football in the backyard.

  • Walking after meals has significant effects on health. Here's why you should consider a post-meal stroll:

    • Blood sugar regulation: After eating, blood sugar levels rise. Walking helps your muscles use that sugar more effectively, assisting in regulating blood sugar levels. This is especially beneficial in the face of indulgent holiday meals, helping to prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar.

    • Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Regular physical activity, even in the form of a gentle walk, improves insulin sensitivity. This means your body becomes more efficient at using insulin to lower blood sugar levels. By incorporating post-meal walks, you're supporting your body's natural insulin response.

    • Digestive Aid: Walking helps with digestion by stimulating the movement of food through your digestive tract, reducing feelings of bloating and discomfort after a large meal. This gentle activity supports your body in efficiently processing the festive feast.

Remember, it doesn't have to be an intense workout— a 10 to 15-minute stroll is enough to reap the benefits. As we celebrate, let's embrace the joy of movement and recognize its role in maintaining not only physical but also metabolic health.

The Power of Hydration: Do not forget to stay hydrated. Water, minerals, and electrolytes help support proper hydration. Adequate hydration supports digestion and appetite control; it also helps prevent those pesky holiday hangovers.

Prioritize Your Well-being: In the midst of celebrations, let's not neglect the importance of our overall well-being. Stress, both physical and emotional, can negatively impact your health. Incorporate practices like deep breathing, meditation, or a soothing bath to manage stress levels. Remember, a balanced mind nurtures a balanced body.

Let's work together!

If you’d like to work with me, call Olympus Movement Performance at 760.216.6047 in Vista, CA, or The Adapt Lab clinic at 858.209.2400 in Solana Beach, CA to make an appointment. I look forward to helping you get your health back on track!

*Disclaimer: Although I am a doctor, I may not be your doctor. The information contained within the pages of this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat conditions. Please consult with your doctor before implementing any of the treatments, diets, supplements, etc. mentioned in this blog.*

*Dr. Francesca is an affiliate for Amazon, Nutrafol, and other companies. Some links contained within the blog posts may be affiliate links from which she receives a small commission to help support her practice at no extra cost to the customer.*

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