Tips for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

By Emily Dickerson, ND

The holidays don’t have to ruin your healthy lifestyle, nor your waistline. Tis the season to maintain your anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle through the holidays. Don’t let this season’s festivities be the cause for “falling off the wagon”. Allow the holidays to fit into your healthy lifestyle with these helpful tips and tricks:

Herbs:

To help you through the stress of the holidays, use adaptogenic herbs daily. Adaptogenic herbs improve our energy and help us to manage stress better. For this time of year, I like the combination of ashwagandha and schizandra, because they are calming rather than stimulating. Not only are their names fun to say, but they also make great stocking stuffers in tincture form!

Yoga:

Tis the season to visit your local yoga studio or hot yoga studio to help you stay in balance. This is a perfect excuse to grab some healthy “me time” in the midst of a busy schedule. I like fitting in a hot yoga class when it is cold outside and before starting a busy day.

Exercise:

Exercise helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which is extremely important with all the eating we do during the holidays. I recommend going for a walk after a big meal to help your blood sugar levels stay healthy. Exercise is also the best stress management tool that we know of, as it is the only thing that can immediately lower elevated cortisol levels.

Sleep:

Our bodies heal while we sleep, so it is very important that we get enough of it. Sufficient sleep also help us think clearly, improves our mood, and also helps us to handle stress better. Shoot for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep, try one of our nutritional or herbal sleep aids to help you through the night.

Diet:

I am a huge advocate for the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. But is it possible to stick to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet while enjoying the nostalgic tastes of the holidays? Absolutely doable. Here are some simple rules to follow to help you succeed.

  • Your plate should be 75% vegetables in bulk. If you are trying to lose weight or just be healthier, this is your biggest helper. Focus on nutrient-dense colorful vegetables and avoid those that are high in starch (aka carbohydrates), such as potatoes and corn. Some of my favorite nutrient-dense vegetables are leafy greens and anything in the brassica family, such as kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Meat should be used as a condiment rather than as the main course, meaning that it is added to the meal, not the focus of it. The human body needs no more than 4 ounces (for a woman) or 6 oz (for a man) of meat in a meal. This is the content that the body can process after a meal. When the body cannot utilize what is taken in, the excess protein from meat is stored as fat.
  • At holiday gathering and pot lucks, load up on vegetable dishes and take smaller portions of calorie dense foods, such as heavy casseroles.
  • Try to continue avoiding food sensitivities. Eating your food sensitivity foods promotes unnecessary inflammation in the body and rarely is it worth feeling badly. Instead, try making classic holiday dishes with non-allergen recipes utilizing the following cookbooks that are allergen free:
    • Whole Life Nutrition by Malterre and Segersten
    • Nourishing Meals by Malterre and Segersten

Most importantly, enjoy your holiday season and relax. Laughter is incredible for your health, so indulge in lots of it. I am looking forward to what the New Year holds and hope to see you in it!

Best,

Dr. Dickerson

Dr. Dickerson is currently seeing patients both in office and via telemedicine. To schedule an appointment, please call Boise Natural Health at (208)338-0405.