New Years is usually the time we make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and get healthier, especially after the “hot carb-on-carb” action that is our traditional holiday smörgåsbord. No end of sugary, fatty, oowie-gooie treats and tasty treats. To even get to New Years we must run the candy cane and Cool Whip slathered gauntlet that can lead us down the path to decadence (and weight gain!)
Here are some naturopathic suggestions that will make for a healthier holiday season:
- Keep your Determinants of Health up. This means to stay properly hydrated, eat plenty of plant based foods, get adequate sleep, take some exercise, manage your stress and have some social and spiritual time. Don’t forget to laugh and be grateful.
- Keeping your determinants up will ensure your immune system working effectively. Boosting the immunological function with a few supplements is safe and effective.
- Vitamins C, D, E, and A and minerals like zinc all are necessary for the immune system to function properly.
- A good mushroom blend containing immune boosting and adaptagenic species that boost your host defense system.
- Many herbs are useful. Garlic and Rosemary can be used daily, Echinacea when you need it.
- Elderberry syrup/extract is effective in preventing the flu virus proliferation. Elderberry is safe for use daily.
- Keep your digestion working well with three easy steps:
- Taking a digestive enzyme with rich foods will soften the effects of the foods, especially if you are sensitive to them. There are enzymes that specifically help digest dairy or wheat that can allow some to tolerate an occasional indulgence.
- Maintain your microbiome. Take a good probiotic and eat a variety of fermented foods.
- Take a bit of extra fiber, ground flax, hemp, chia, psyllium, pectin and inulin can all be added to a recipe or just in a smoothie (pumpkin spice with real pumpkin). There is even a type of fiber called PGX that will absorb sugar in the gut.
- Exercise and be active. In addition to a good combination of aerobic, strength and flexibility routine (try for 2 ½ hours a week), just don’t be sedentary. Don’t plant yourself on the couch and watch a lot of TV. Keep moving, keep busy, perform a hobby of get in to the kitchen and make some healthy cuisine.
- Follow common precautions to prevent the spread of cold and flu.
- Use the healing power of water. There are many ways to use water, from bathing regularly and performing nasal lavage, to saunas, steam inhalations and constitutional hydrotherapy.
- Eat smart. Be aware of your nutritional needs and limitations. Assume that any packaged store bought treats (or foods) are probably loaded with sugar, made with wheat, corn, often high in sodium and additives and should be avoided. Save your treats for foods that are well made with good ingredients. And then eat one and enjoy it.
- Change your feasting menu with healthier versions of holiday favorites:
- Get a good quality turkey and use the whole bird. Don’t forget to make bone broth!
- Make stuffing from quality bread, fresh vegetables olive oil and chicken broth.
- Use the whole (organic) potato, use good butter and yogurt to make it creamy. Bake whole yams or sweet potatoes. Add a little butter, grated nutmeg and cinnamon and not a cup of brown sugar or marshmallows.
- Include a green vegetable. Seared kale almondine or a green bean casserole for real.
- Be creative with all of your side dishes.
- Make a simple GF/DF pumpkin pie.
- Make Soup and use it for weeks!
Moderate alcohol and sugar intake. Enjoy!