My name is Gabriela and I'm a health coach and blogger over at Renaissance Life. After struggling for many years with extreme exhaustion, dizziness, skin problems, and respiratory issues, I experienced complete healing through a change in diet. Because of my own experiences, I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge to encourage others on their own path to health! Thanks Judee, for having me here at Gluten Free A-Z!
Living for Health During the HolidaysOh I love this time of year - smack-dab in the middle of the holidays! The generous, joyous spirit and festive holiday decorations, seeing friends and family - all of it. It's a good time.
But there is one thing that's not so welcome. The generous spirit of the season can also be a little too generous with overeating, sickness, and unwanted weight gain.
It's true, healthfully speaking, we're in the most challenging time of the year. The abundant feasting of Thanksgiving can set a pretty fine stage for back-sliding all the way through to New Year's can't it? Well, that's only if we let it! While appearances seem to be against us, rest assured it is more than possible to maintain, improve, and even come out far ahead on our health goals during the "most wonderful time of the year"!
With Thanksgiving behind us, we've got about a two week window of time before Christmas to give ourselves a health boost before "the next go-round". How about we put some strategies to work for us! I'm ready to set myself up for success leading up to, through, and after the holidays. (Not to mention grabbing a jump start on New Year's resolutions.) Are you with me?
The Big 3I've found that there are three powerful strategies that are invaluable in not only maintaining weight but keeping your overall health this time of year. These work together effectively and build on each other, so if possible give all three of them a go at once. And when you do, lookout! You'll see some very positive changes. And they are...
- Boost Immune System
- Portion Control
DetoxDetoxing... Think of it as a deep clean. We all need one now and again! Some benefits of detoxifying your body are: improved clarity of mind, clearer skin, increase in energy, healthy weight-loss, and getting rid of drainage and congestion. (If you have bad allergies, try detoxing!)
On a personal note, I like to take about week every couple months or so and detox. Some effective ways I detox is by drinking warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice as soon as I rise in the morning, starting my day with a green juice or a smoothie, eating fresh fruits and veggies and staying away from processed foods. When your body is in detox or "super clean" mode, it's vital to make sure you're getting 8 - 10 hours of sleep as it's working hard and needs time to recharge.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes that gently support your body's natural detoxifying process as well as promote weight-loss:
Power Juice, Ultimate Fountain of Youth Smoothie, and in my post, "A Case of the Winter Blues - and how to bust 'em!", you'll find Herb Salad, Insanely Moist Rosemary Chicken, & Coconut Cereal with Pom Jewels. (scroll down on the page to see recipes)
Boost Immune SystemThis one is obvious! Who wants to be coming down with the flu or a cold right now? (Or ever, really.) No one!
Another benefit to detoxing is that it's a huge immune system booster. Green juices and smoothies are immune building as well (see how it all works together?). Leafy greens contain massive amounts of vitamins and minerals and give your body an edge in fending off disease.
For added benefit, start taking a probiotic daily. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support healthy intestines. Healthy digestion is crucial for the proper absorption of nutrients as well as the swift and efficient exiting of toxins from the body. When your body is laboring to process food it can cause partially digested matter to decompose while still in the body.
Without getting too in-depth here, this can cause the lining of the intestine walls to rot. This is Leaky Gut Syndrome - when toxins leak into the blood stream and cause all sorts of problems! (We get bombarded with pathogens from without who wants 'em from within?)
Another effective and simple way to guard against sickness is by drinking herbal teas. Echinacea is a powerful herb that protects the immune system and is available in many different tea brands. Try Celestial Seasonings, Yogi, or Traditional Medicinals. It's always nice to have a warm something to drink when it's cold out. Why not have it be building your health up as you sip?
Portion ControlAh ha. This one can be a little tough at first. We all know this but... we eat too much! Abundant is different than excessive. It is good to enjoy abundance but it is harmful to eat excessively. Extra, unnecessary food (especially if it has little nutritional benefit) just puts a drag on our bodies and strain on the wardrobe! Pesky little calories! So what are some ways to cut back on the portions we take and how much is enough?
A good rule of thumb is eat what can fit in both of your slightly cupped hands. Eyeball it when you serve yourself. If you're at a restaurant feel free to put extra food in a to go box right away so you won't be tempted. Chew food slowly, enjoying the tastes and textures - don't inhale! Give yourself half an hour to enjoy your meal. Remember, don't rush.
Food really is a gift and should be enjoyed. If you're still hungry, sit a few minutes before going for more. Your brain signals when it's full down to the stomach and it's a good idea to give your brain the chance to make the call before you go off and stuff yourself. ;)
The Sugar On TopThe key to all this - the sugar on top - is something we all know but need to be reminded of...
No one can make us do or EAT something that is outside of our health goals. Yes, avoiding unhealthy food takes a little planning and forethought. But it's oh so worth it! Because giving yourself the gift of health is also giving to others.
Let's be empowered this holiday season to take care of ourselves! And when you feel tempted to completely leap off the wagon (so to speak) here's a trick: invoke the power of the "NO". Really. It will work. ;) (For more on navigating holiday parties without completely blowing your health check out this post.)
So gear up to enjoy greater well-being this Christmas and New Year's and be a glowing, healthier you! Because you are worth it!
For other helpful and motivating posts please visit my blog at Renaissance Woman, I'd be happy to have you drop in!
Thanks so much for your informative and inspirational post; I know that I'll be using some of the ideas.
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