Healthy Holiday Tips

I can’t believe it’s already that time of the year again! The endless Holiday get togethers, shopping, and of course, EATING! There can be a lot of stress, a lot of to-do’s, and a lot of opportunities to make poor choices when it comes to your diet and exercise program. I wanted to share a few tips to help get you through the Holidays without gaining weight. That way you can have a New Year’s Resolution that doesn’t involve diets or two-a-days!

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Healthy Holiday Tips

  • Never go to a Holiday Party STARVING! Try eating a healthy snack before to avoid going crazy at the buffet.
  • Make sure you eat healthier, lighter meals for a few days prior to a Holiday get together. That way you won’t feel guilty if you do indulge a bit!
  • Don’t deprive yourself. If you want to have some dessert or a richer dish, allow yourself to have a small taste. Just load up the majority of your plate with fruits, veggies, whole grains & lean proteins.
  • Choose a smaller plate if available.
  • Remember beverages, especially alcoholic &/or sweet ones, can contain a lot of hidden calories. Consume in moderation!
  • Drink plenty of WATER throughout the day. Sometimes when you feel hungry you are actually just dehydrated.
  • Make it a PRIORITY to try to maintain your same exercise and daily routine as best you can.
  • If you are attending a potluck, bring a healthier option that you know you will eat. There are plenty of healthier recipe options out there for popular holiday dishes.
  • Stop eating before you actually feel full. Wait 10-15 minutes and see if you are still hungry.
  • Don’t be afraid to be high maintenance! If you know you can’t control yourself, eat before you go to a party or bring your own dish.
  • Be Mindful & Present when you are eating. Sometimes you are so immersed in talking with someone that you don’t realize you have eaten way more than you had intended to.
  • Chew your food more than you normally do. That not only helps breakdown the food for proper digestion, but you usually eat a lot less.
  • Take a Digestive Enzyme, followed by a daily Probiotic & Magnesium Oxygen for regularity!

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What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling (The art of swishing oil around in your mouth – yes it does sound a little ridiculous) has recently become a trend of sorts, so I thought I would give it a try to see what all of the hype was about. First off, Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique. Ayurveda is one of the most powerful and sophisticated forms of alternative medicine created thousands of years ago by Eastern Indian sages to help people stay vibrant and healthy. As I’m sure you’ve heard on toothpaste commercials, our mouths are home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites and their toxins. (Including Candida and Streptococcus) It’s our Immune System’s responsibility to fight off these foreign invaders, but if it’s compromised, they can very easily move from the mouth to other parts of the body, reeking havoc along the way. With Oil Pulling, the Oil acts like a cleanser, pulling out the unwanted bacteria and debris. Basically, studies have shown it to be a great, natural alternative to mouthwash and then some!

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The technique is said to cure a variety of illnesses and ailments with some of the benefits including:

  • Whiter/Brighter Teeth
  • Eliminates Tooth Decay, Gum Disease, Gingivitis, Bleeding Gums
  • Strengthens Teeth, Gum, and Jaw
  • Prevents Bad Breath (Halitosis)
  • Increased Energy
  • Clearer Mind
  • Decreased Headaches/Migraines
  • Clearer Sinuses/Allergies
  • Better Sleep
  • Clearer Skin
  • Improved Lymphatic System
  • Improved PMS symptoms

Significant results are said to be noticed after about a month, but for me, I found that within the first week, my teeth were whiter and brighter, and my breath felt fresher throughout the day. I have noticed a bit of “phlegm” in the back of my throat, but I read that was just part of the “detox” process and the body is just “clearing out” the toxins. With time, those detox symptoms are said to pass, so I will wait it out! That being said, I recommend you give Oil Pulling a try and see what happens for you, especially if you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above. Check out the steps necessary to start your Oil Pulling routine below:

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1. First off, make sure you conduct your Oil Pulling in the AM before breakfast as it’s best to do it on an empty stomach. Choose a high quality, organic, cold-pressed Oil (Sunflower, Sesame, or Coconut are the suggested ones). I chose Coconut Oil because I had it at my house, I don’t mind the taste, and it contains Lauric Acid which is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.

2. Spoon a Tablespoon into your mouth and swish it around for 5-20 minutes. I suggest you start with a shorter amount of time and work your way up as it’s a little weird at first. (I’m only to the 10 minute mark!) Know that the “swishing” doesn’t have to be done aggressively, just move it around and pull through your teeth every so often. You will also notice that the oil amount will increase in size as you start salivating.

3. Make sure NOT to swallow any of the oil/saliva as it contains all of the bacteria and toxins from your mouth that you are trying to get rid of.

4. When you are ready to spit out the oil/saliva, make sure to do it in the trash can or toilet as the oil can clog your drains.

5. After you’ve spit everything out, swish a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar around in your mouth to get rid of any lingering oil, bacteria, or toxins.

6. Brush and floss your teeth and see how you feel!

The Benefits of B Vitamins

Referred to as the “B Complex,” the eight essential B Vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 – play an important roll in keeping our bodies energized throughout the day. While the B Vitamins often work in tandem, each one has its own specific benefits. It’s important to not become deficient in these important Vitamins, so check out what each of them can do for your body below and how you can incorporate more B Vitamin-rich foods into your daily diet. I also choose to take a B Complex supplement several times a week to keep my body’s supply of this important Vitamin strong. (I take Whole Foods “B Daily Essentials”)

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B1 (Thiamine) Thiamine’s main function is to help metabolize carbohydrates, turning sugars and starches into the energy our bodies need. This vitamin also helps the body create new cells as well as protect the immune system. Good dietary sources include: Legumes (Beans & Lentils), Whole Grain Breads & Cereals, Oatmeal, Rice Bran, Wheat Germ, Nuts, Seeds, Oranges. Thiamine deficiency is common in people who consume a lot of alcohol, coffee, tea, raw seafood, antacids, carbonated beverages, diuretics, tobacco, and barbiturates.

B2 (Riboflavin) Riboflavin is known for supporting the Adrenal System, calming and maintaining a healthy nervous system, as well as aiding in metabolic processes including cell regeneration. Riboflavin also works as an antioxidant, fighting off free radicals to help reduce the signs of aging as well as prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This vitamin is thought to help people suffering from migraines, cataracts, depression, and anemia. Good dietary sources include: Eggs, Enriched fortified Cereals and Grains, Meats, Dark Greens (Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli, Turnip Greens), Fish, Buckwheat, Almonds, Wild Rice, and Brussels Sprouts.

B3 (Niacin) Niacin is essential for the metabolism of Carbohydrates & Fats. It also helps raise HDL cholesterol, which is the “good” cholesterol. The higher the HDL, the lower the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) in the blood, which means a reduced risk of heart disease. Niacin may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Osteoarthritis. Good dietary sources include: Salmon, Tuna, Leafy Vegetables, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Tomatoes, Avocados, Nuts, Whole Grains, Legumes, and Mushrooms.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Small amounts of B5 are found in almost every food group. In addition to breaking down Fats & Carbs for energy, it’s responsible for the production of sex and stress-related hormones. Pantothenic Acid also promotes healthy skin, reducing redness, aging, and skin spots. Good dietary sources include: Avocado, Legumes, Shitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Lentils, and Broccoli.

B6 (Pyridoxine) This vitamin helps with brain health by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that allow brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another. Therefore, B6 helps people with depression, ADHD, and memory loss. Other conditions that can be improved by B6 include Arthritis, PMS, Kidney Stones, Lung Cancer, Acne, and Carpal Tunnel. Good dietary sources include: Bananas, Cereal Grains, Legumes, Carrots, Spinach, Peas, Potatoes, Fish, Sunflower Seeds.

B7 (Biotin) You might have tried Biotin to improve your skin, hair, and nail health. But Biotin also helps keep blood glucose levels in check (which is extremely important for those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes), as well as help with the development of a fetus in the mother’s womb. Good dietary sources include: Cauliflower, Green Peas, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Bananas, Strawberries, Raspberries, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Oats, Brown Rice, Egg Yolks, Meat Livers, and Salmon.

B9 (Folate or Folic Acid) B9 is essential for human growth and development, so it’s important for pregnant women and those thinking about becoming pregnant to have plenty of Folic Acid. Folic Acid may also help in preventing colon, lung, and cervix cancer, memory loss, heart disease, and stroke. Good dietary sources include: Asparagus, Mushrooms, Bananas, Melons, Lemons, Beets, Dark Leafy Greens, and Beans/Legumes.

B12 (Cobalamin) B12 is one of the most talked about B Vitamins, as it’s easy to become deficient if you are a strict Vegetarian or Vegan. Why So? Because it is the only B Vitamin that cannot be produced by either plants or animals, it’s only produced by fungi and bacteria. Animals, unlike plants, are able to store the B12 bacteria in their bodies, which is then transferred to humans who consume the animal meat/products. B12 helps with Neurological function, the building of red blood cells, and DNA synthesis. Good dietary sources include: Salmon, Sardines, Mushrooms, Tuna, Cod, Lamb, Scallops, Beef, and Dairy.

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