Eating + The Holidays 🥂

December is here, the holiday parties are in full swing, food is everywhere, and the drinks are flowing! Staying in control of your food intake is tricky enough on its own, but when people are giving it to you at every turn, not to mention all the deliciousness that hangs out in workplace kitchens, boxes of chocolates and Christmas flavored everything; it all can get quite overwhelming and you can wind up feeling too full, bloated, and uncomfortable. Food and coming together this time of year come hand in hand - here are my tips to keep you glowing and radiant this holiday, so you can enjoy every bit of it!

First things first, don't go to parties ravenous. Going in super hungry is a recipe for overeating and indulging which will most likely leave you feeling uncomfortable for the duration of the party. Try rather to go to a party peckish. Eating things like nuts, fruit, a salad or a healthy protein bar before a function will not only keep you from being hangry (in case the food takes forever to show up) it will allow you to pick and choose what you would like to eat, instead of eating everything because you were starving. Being selective with your food choices allows for control and conscious indulgence. Another reason why this trick is awesome - you already feel good because you got some delicious nourishing foods in beforehand so you can spend more time trying the delicious desserts! You're welcome ;)

If you know you will be eating out several times throughout the month, try and eat home cooked meals the rest of the time. This will allow you to keep some normalcy with your routine, it will keep you healthier and on the right path when it comes to how you feel about this holiday. Home cooked foods have less sugar, salt, trans fat and preservatives than fast/restaurant food. Bulk up on fermented foods to keep your gut happy and healthy, fill up on fiber, load your plate with vegetables, whole grains and nutritious sources of protein.

Try and avoid sugar as much as possible. It is hard and it's completely fine to indulge and enjoy some delicious food. Be conscious of how much you are eating. Not only are sweet treats loaded with sugar but so is most alcohol. Sugar wreaks havoc on our immune system and too much of it can lead you to feeling nauseous and spike your blood sugar, that 3 pm crash is a real thing and not fun. Kombucha is a great alternative to alcohol (or a good base) super trendy and it tastes great. Bringing something to a party? Try making a treat with no processed sugars so everyone can share in a healthy dessert - trust me, it is possible to create deliciousness out of real, raw ingredients! Instead of white processed sugar try sweetening with maple syrup, banana, apple sauce and/or dates. Getting creative and looking for new ways to indulge in your favourite treats will allow you to eat them and feel amazing! You also get to be that "cool health nut" at work - not cool? Okay, maybe that's just me ;)

Staying hydrated is key! Drinking water is important everyday a-l-w-a-y-s, I know I know, you know - but I need to say it! Drink your water. Between drinks, have water, while you drink take sips of water. If you are about to eat, drink 30 minutes before your meal. Staying hydrated won't just keep you feeling fresh and healthy, it will help your body function as it's digesting all the delicious homemade goodies! The best part about being hydrated this time of year, you get to avoid chapped lips, your skin will thank you by staying moisturized and you will feel good overall. Not a water fan? Try adding berries, lemon, lime, or orange to your water to add a natural flavour! Bottoms up!

Keep your movement routine in full swing. We tend to think "Oh, I'll get back to the gym in January" or "I will allow myself to enjoy the holidays and not workout". This mentality leads us to thinking that movement is a chore and something we don't have to do if we want to enjoy our time. Movement is a way to celebrate your body. You do not, and I repeat DO NOT need to "run off calories" or "work out because you feel too full". Food is fuel, it's not something you need to punish yourself for consuming. Keep up your movement routine, in ways that feel best to you; walking, running, yoga, stretching, HIIT, kickboxing - whatever you fancy, keep it up! Your body wants to feel good whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years and I know you will too! :)

Please be kind to your body this holiday and always! You are an amazing human being, much more than your outward appearance, so please, be kind to yourself. You can indulge and enjoy food and not feel guilty. Even if you eat too much chocolate or have an insane amount of cranberry brie cheese with sodium loaded crackers; that is so okay! Your body will get over it, I hope you will too. Enjoy your food mindfully, when you get stressed so does your body and it legitimately interferes with your digestive process which can cause bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, nausea - all the really annoying things. Let's stay in parasympathetic nervous mode where our bodies can relax, rest and digest for maximum absorption and function.

Additional tips, drink peppermint tea to help your digestive system, incorporate apple cider vinegar into your eating regime to increase hydrochloric acid production, load up on prebiotic and probiotic foods, digestive enzymes or foods like pineapple and papaya that are loaded with enzymes and will help your body break down foods and most importantly r-e-l-a-x! Enjoy this time of year and don't focus so much on restriction rather focus on continuing to fuel your body while indulging in delicious *mostly healthy* foods. Mindfulness goes a long way not only in our day to day but also in how we choose to nourish ourselves. ✨ May this season be full of wonderful cheer, love+ joy!

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Emily Manuel, B.A, RHN, CYT

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