Sugar. It's everywhere. No matter how healthy or unhealthy you are, this time of year breeds an influx of food consumption, especially the sweets. Here are some tips on how I participate in the holidays while being aware of what I'm putting in my body. 1) Don't be afraid to say 'no'. Sometimes this is difficult, especially because misery loves company. If people see you trying to avoid treats or declining an alcoholic beverage, they will often times have something critical to say. It may come in the form of a 'joke' or sarcasm, but understanding why this can be threatening to people is the key. Be proud of your self-control and know they're probably feeling guilty for their own indulgences.
2) Find a new healthy recipe and plan ahead. I usually will do this with desserts since I'm gluten free. It helps me stay away from the temptation of a wheat-based item and I can then have a sweet like everyone else (without the added sugar and refined carbs). Check out the paleo sugar cookie recipe! Whether it's dessert or a side, not only will you give yourself healthy options but you may influence the health of others while peaking their interest. 3) Do your own thing. My boyfriend and I decided it was best to have Thanksgiving just the two of us this year with having plans to travel a lot around Christmas. As guilty as this can feel since family is a huge part of the holidays, it gave us an opportunity to experiment with our dinner. We had an almost paleo Thanksgiving! Featured here is a cranberry balsamic chicken, quinoa stuffing, sweet potatoes and honey, a colorful salad and a pumpkin pie.
4) Keep moving. Along with all the filling foods and sugar induced comas comes sedentary habits. When you aren't eating well and your insulin levels are so quickly fluctuating, you're likely to sleep more and move less. Keep this in mind and even if it's simply going for a walk with the family, the fresh air, sunshine and blood pumping through your body will help boost your mood and flush out the toxins. There's lots of great body weight exercises online that are conducive to travel and even something like stretching when you wake up will burn calories, keeping you healthy.
5) Balance. Lately I feel I use this word a lot. It really comes with everything you do. Too much of many things can be bad and so can too little. Having healthy options at the table is great but it's okay to enjoy yourself, too! If you have some pie or the marshmallow covered sweet potatoes, have a small portion and chew it slowly. This allows you to really enjoy it without overdoing it. You'll be able to better gauge how full you are since it takes your body 20 minutes to feel the food, and chewing aids in digestion by activating more enzymes to break it down.
As difficult as health can be these days, we're only given one life. Let's make the most of it, especially in times like the holidays which produce memories for years to come. Eat healthy, be happy, love family and move your body!