A Dash of Health for the Holidays
Now we all know how difficult it can be to keep our health goals during the holiday season. There are so many parties to attend or host, shopping to do, decorations to hang, the list seems endless. For many, the first thing to go is remembering to eat healthy and exercise. So here are a few suggestions to make health more a part of your holiday season.
1. 30 seconds of squats!
- That’s right, just 30 seconds of squats is enough to activate glucose receptors in your quad muscles, which can significantly impact your blood sugar levels in a positive way. Doing this before any meal, can really help improve how your body utilizes glucose.
2. Parking the car further away from the store
- I realize this is nothing new to most people, but if you feel strapped for time and you’re already not keeping with your usual exercise regime (or you have not established one yet) then building in that little extra distance can help keep you active during this busy season without setting aside a designated ½ hour or more on top of your to do list.
3. Making creative healthy treats
- The holidays are filled with all kinds of treats and goodies that are all too tempting to pass on all of them. So why not help yourself and your dinner guests by putting out some healthier options for treats. For example there are lots of great recipes for vegan and raw desserts that often use less sugar or no sugar and taste just as good as the sugar filled original. One of my favourite desserts is Avocado chocolate pudding.
Recipe for Avocado Chocolate Pudding
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey (or any combination thereof)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Feel free to play around with the recipe. For example, if you like a little extra spice then add a small amount of cayenne pepper.
4. Being mindful when eating
- With so many parties and opportunities to eat and overeat during the holiday season it is no wonder most people gain a few extra pounds. Instead of pilling your plate really high and then talking distractedly to your friends and family, try taking a little less food and being a little more present and aware as you eat. This can help reduce mindless consumption of calories, and thus reduce your concern about extra pounds gained in January when you return to the gym.
5. Take a meditation break
- The benefits are so numerous now for reducing stress and research is really showing the power of meditation to do just that. So if stress is threatening to overwhelm you try taking a 5-10 min meditation break, and if even that much time seems too daunting then just take 10 deep breaths. All this will help lower your blood pressure, induce calm, and improve immune function.
Lastly, just have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.
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I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Doula providing care in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. I have a passion for helping people with their health issues and improving the birth experience for Moms, and their babies. I also have a life long love affair with soccer, curling, and the alto saxophone.