The holiday season is upon us, and it is a time of friends and family, and FOOD. Lots and lots of food. Between office holiday parties, gatherings with friends, or a trip back to the family, huge amounts of food and drink will be consumed. This is wonderful as people gather and enjoy the bounty with their loved ones. There is also another side to this time of year. Often the food being consumed is full of sugar and processed ingredients, and there is generally too much of it. Also, many people become stressed from the pressure of running around to buy the perfect gifts to the tension families sometimes have. The good news is that it is possible to go through this time of year keeping stress to a minimum while enjoying delicious, nourishing food and drink. How can I stay healthy and happy throughout the holiday season?
If you are hosting a holiday gathering, you can choose healthy alternatives to holiday classics. When you bake a plethora of delicious treats use organic unprocessed sugar. Also cut back on the sugar called for in the recipe. I have been experimenting with low-sugar baking and have realized that most recipes simply contain too much sugar. An overdose of sugar at the holidays can increase stress and anxiety, and cause overeating. When we eat sugar, our body releases insulin to lower the blood sugar. When this happens we become hungry, and a vicious spiral of over-consumption is triggered. It is also cold and flu season, and sugar lowers immunity, which is one more reason to cut back. You can also replace white flour with healthier options such as brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat, and quinoa. Adding flax meal or hemp seeds to baked goods also increases the protein, causing a less rapid rise in blood sugar. Since large amounts of butter are used, switching to an organic hormone-free butter is suggested. Basically, increasing the quality of all your raw ingredients will increase the nourishment of your holiday foods.
When going to a gathering other than your own, you can contribute a dish or two that are healthy and tasty. Most hosts are happy to receive the extra dishes. Pacing yourself is another good idea. Many people believe that they get drowsy and feel almost drugged after a holiday meal because of the tryptophan in the turkey. You would have to eat a whole turkey to receive enough tryptophan to induce that level of drowsiness. All meat contains tryptophan and turkey does not have excess. So what is the real reason for the groggy nap inducing effect of the holiday meal? Over-eating and drinking! All those carbohydrates from the bread, potatoes, chips, wine, beer, and desserts are the real culprits. Consuming these foods increases serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter. Even though serotonin is manufactured from tryptophan it needs carbohydrates to cross the blood brain barrier. The poor turkeys have been getting a bad rap all this time!
Managing your stress at the holidays can allow you to have a much more enjoyable time. Try to take some time out each day for yourself for relaxation. Even just a few minutes each day can make a big difference. Try meditating, stretching, deep breathing, writing in a journal, reading, or anything else that brings you peace. If you have a little more time take a hot bath in Epsom salts with a few drops of lavender oil. The Epsom contains magnesium which will soothe tired muscles and lavender oil is calming. Yoga, tai chi, xi gong, or even going for a walk can all increase your sense of peacefulness.
sho’s autumn root veggie puree
1 huge red beet
1 sweet Potato
4-5 small purple potatoes
2-3 small Parsnips
1 large onion
1 tbsp ghee—to cook the onions
1 can organic coconut milk
3 cloves Garlic
1 or more tbsp curry powder
optional: top with yogurt
directions: Steam the root veggies until soft. Next melt ghee in a pan and then add garlic and curry spice, heat for about a minute. This infuses the ghee with the spices. Add onions and saute until soft. Put all the ingredients in the food processor until you have a mush. Serve over quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice or stuffing. YUMMM!!!
Come and try this recipe and other holiday fare at the holiday healing open house. There will be complimentary mini-facials, acupuncture, energy work, and of course food! I will be offering some special holiday deals on consultations. So, stop by and ask me how to keep stress-free this holiday season and into the new year.