It’s the time of the year, and I LOVE it. Colder weather, cozy clothes, fireplace, mulled wine, seasonal foods (and treats!), lots of gatherings with family and friends… time to celebrate, share and enjoy life as part of the community. However, the Holiday Season can be a challenging time for our health: the outside temperature drops, the food we take is not the healthiest, we don’t get as much rest, we stop exercising… so we are at risk for digestion problems, excess weight gain, winter colds and flu. As a Health Coach, when the Holiday Season arrives, I get asked all the time how to stay somewhat healthy.
“Today I am sharing my top 10 tips to protect your health during the Holiday Season and feel your best”
- “Crowd-out”. This is one of my favorite tricks to stay healthy: when I know I will be exposed be tempting foods, I first fill up my stomach with healthy foods… so when dessert time comes, I feel pretty satiated and have no problem limiting my portions.
- Cook at home. I know this is sometimes not realistic, as you have many social gatherings outside, but try to balance it out. When you’re not celebrating, avoid processed foods and take time to cook at home, from scratch.
- Eat local and seasonal. The earth is wise and Nature provides the perfect nutrients we need in every season. Enjoy the fall produce that makes this season so tasty. Pick local, organic, pumpkins, squashes, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, pomegranates, nuts and seeds… and take in their vitamins and minerals. An abundance of tasty fall vegetables makes it easy and yummy to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet.
- Drink warm and hot liquids. As the outside temperature drops, we need stay hydrated and warm up our body with warmer liquids. My current favorite is my own version of “golden milk”: take this easy nut milk recipe and warm it up in the stove. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and a touch of agave. Enjoy!
- Take probiotics and digestive enzymes: boost your immune system with yogurt, kefir, fermented foods and/or probiotic supplements. During a big meal, take digestive enzymes to help you digest.
- Spend time in Nature. The leaves are bright on the trees and the crunchy under your feet is oh-so-awesome! Plus, spending time outdoors increases your vitamin D levels, makes you happier and improves your concentration.
- Practice Mindfulness when you eat. Take small bites and chew well before swallowing, focusing on taste, texture and temperature. Take your time to eat. Stop when you’re satiated. When you eat slowly, you don’t need as much food.
- Slow down and breathe deeply. Take a few minutes to sit in silence and practice some deep, slow breathing. It will re-center you, help with digestion, calm down your nervous system and help you stay present and connected.
- Practice yoga at home. If you experience digestion problems, step on the mat for a gentle yoga practice that will help you soothe the abdominal area. Want inspiration? Read my post Short Yoga Sequence for the Holiday Season.
- Give back: be kind to yourself and others, offer your help when you can, take time to connect with people and, if you can, make a donation to your favorite cause.
Above all, do enjoy the Holiday Season and have fun. Be present, cuddle, smile and laugh. When you can, incorporate these tips into your life… and if not, don’t worry and take it easy. And remember: it’s not an “all or nothing” game: if you overeat, try to eat healthy afterwards and get back on track. Buddha’s full belly represents contentment and plentitude, after all!
Happy Holidays Yogis!