Month: November 2014

Prepping for Christmas

4 weeks less one day till the big day. How will those 4 weeks unfold for you? Throwing up your hands, saying “screw it”, I’ll deal with in January? Or can you take a healthier view and try to offset the damage beforehand?

Time speeds up as we get older and I’m starting to feel really old these days as I swear it was just summer. A summer full of social engagements and alcohol. I never seemed to completely recover before the holiday season looms. With this in mind, the only way we can manage a long term healthy diet and body, is to take it day by day and eat (and drink!) mindfully throughout the year.

There is probably a good 2 weeks left before the social events really start to kick in. It’s a great opportunity to do a simple detox to flush toxic build up that has been lingering. Not only will this refresh your body physically, it will adjust your mindset as you “feel” healthier and less likely to overindulge over the holidays.

Here are a few things you can do in the next couple of weeks:

1. Increase your water intake. Start the day with a glass of water with lemon for a gentle flush.
2. Take a probiotic in the morning.
3. Limit your caffeine intake to 1 caffeinated coffee per day. Replace caffeinated drinks with green tea, even if it caffeinated, it’s way less.
4. Clear your kitchen of chocolate, candy, cookies and cakes. There’s going to be enough temptation without adding to it in your own home.
5. Ensure you get at least 2 servings of fruit a day and 5 servings of vegetables, especially green ones. See yesterday’s post for tips on how to “winterize” your salads.
6. Pack your lunch.
7. Get outside every day, at least 15 minutes and add in an hour long walk a few times. Make it priority and take anybody you need to with you. If you have a regular exercise schedule, include workouts on your calendar so they don’t take a backseat.
8. Limit your alcohol intake. Especially on days when you don’t have anything going on. Your liver will thank you come January.
9. Get enough sleep. Don’t burn yourself before the season has even begun, you won’t enjoy any of it, particularly if you make yourself susceptible to picking up a big. Make sure your to-do list doesn’t get bigger than hours available.
10. Meditate for 10 minutes every day if you are a regular practitioner. If not, check in with yourself a few times a day to focus on what is happening in your mind and your body. It will keep you centred and keep your racing mind (and to-do list) in check.

Using the time now to prep yourself, ensures you really get to enjoy the Holiday Season without hindering your mind or physical health.

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Winterize Your Greens

weather

I think I can safely say that summer is behind us. Fall is almost behind us. It’s time to adjust our diets to cater to the colder months. According to traditional healing systems, such as Chinese and Ayuervedic medicine, our bodies need cooling foods in the hot months and warming foods in the colder months. Realistically, we often eat the same foods year round but when you think of these cooling and warming foods, it makes a lot of sense.

Cooling foods are more of the raw fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits and leafy, crunchy vegetables. Warming foods require more cooking or preservation. Tomato sauces, lentils, winter squash, cabbage and dried fruits are all warming foods. Garlic and Ginger are both warming while curry is cooling. That seems counter-intuitive but if you ever eat a curry in mid-winter and then go outside, you will soon realize that you aren’t as warm as you were before you ate the curry.

Meat, dairy, eggs and heavier foods such as butter, cream, chocolate and whole grains such as barley lend themselves much better to the winter months but vegetables are just as important and shouldn’t be neglected. It’s just a matter of switching. For example, a staple in the summer, salad, can become cooked winter greens so there is no excuse to give-up the greens in the winter months. The nutrients they provide are all the more important to fend of the cold and flu bugs.

Although, lettuce doesn’t lend itself well to being cooked, kale, swiss chard and bok choy does. Very well. Steamed kale with a drizzle of tamari and olive oil is delicious. Sauteed bok choy is super simple and probably easier – and quicker – to put together than a salad in the summer.

bok choy low res

Warmed greens in minutes. Bok choy is sauteed in butter and drizzled with tamari and olive oil.