5 holiday tips to keep spirits bright and healthy!

In the festive season it’s far too easy to let health take a back seat! I think last year was the first year I did not gain 5-10 pounds from festive gorging! It felt so amazing to hit the new year feeling light, active, and energetic instead of the usual brain fog and heaviness that accompanies a long period of unhealthy eating and inactivity.

So here  are 5 easy and quick things you can do each day between Christmas and New Years to “keep spirits bright” this holiday season:

  1. Water: Drink an extra 3 glasses of water a day. Oooh did I just hear your brain skip on to the next point without registering this often suggested fact? Rewind! Don’t just read this. ACTION: Fill a pitcher of water or a bottle and keep in in your fridge and make sure you drink it down to empty each day – stat!
  2. Raw foods full of nutrients: Have at least one raw food during or before each meal. Many foods are most nutritious when raw – particularly foods that contain beta-carotene. Heat can destroy many nutrients including some water-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats, including omega-3s. (Tomatoes and other lycopene containing vegetables and fruits are an exception – these are best cooked). Also raw foods provide  beneficial dietary fibre, both insoluble and soluble which can at times be reduced by cooking.  ACTION: Cut up some raw vegetables that you like  and keep them at the ready, so you can have a raw snack on demand.  Before your breakfast, you can eat a green smoothie, or simply a few celery or carrot sticks. For lunch and dinner, a lovely green salad is a great way to kickoff each sit-down. Purchase several bags of salad greens so you have enough to eat a few handfuls each day prior to meals!
  3. Red wine over other alcohol: Say no to super sugary mixed alcoholic beverages, liqueurs, or high-carb beer and choose heart-healthy red wine instead. ACTION: Practice saying no politely: “Oh, I’m not able to digest that kind of drink very well, but I would love a red wine if you have it!”
  4. Extra daily green smoothie: If you are partly full from nutrition-packed foods like brightly coloured vegetables, this gives your body the nutrition it needs to stop your “grazing gene” from kicking in. Studies show that when you eat nutrition-dense foods you completely change your perception of hunger and this will help you avoid overeating.  ACTION: I have one morning and one evening green smoothie over the holidays. I just make a double batch in the AM and store it in a jar to grab and drink about 5PM for a burst of energy. If you are going out, just bring along some smoothie in a water bottle to go.
  5. Walk: Small walks will kick up your metabolism, your mood and your digestion. A post-meal walk helps clear food from your stomach more quickly as well as reduces the blood sugar spike that normally follows a heavy meal. This in turn reduces disease risk and fat storage. ACTION: Take a 15 minute post-meal walk after lunch or dinner today. Rinse and repeat daily.

These are 5 things from me to you that I hope will make you feel happy and healthy this holiday season. They amp up your radiance, and allow you to put your best foot forward for a vibrant start to 2014!