While you may feel powerless at the work parties, family gatherings and even your local coffee spot this time of year let me assure you that you are indeed full of power! Just because sugar is everywhere in all of its many forms (think dairy and flour as sources of sugar, not just classic “sugar” cookies type of sugar) doesn’t mean you have to be part of a culture of eaters that normalize indulging in copious amounts of sugar and rich food this time of year.
After all, the holidays are a time to feel grateful, positive and fulfilled. It’s perfectly normal to spend time with people who make you feel happy, but yet so many of us get tripped up mistaking happiness derived from food true joy. These are two very different things. Countless people, women especially, feel burdened by their cravings during the holidays.
For some, this time of year that’s supposed to be so joyous is actually feared. And to make it worse, it’s not enough to feel stressed about knowing the cravings are inevitably coming this time of year, but to then experience the debilitating aftermath of emotions and the psychological state of succumbing to the cravings either by overindulging or for some, binging. This isn’t what the holidays are about!
Trust me, I have a sweet tooth and have my own history with sugar, so I totally get that it’s much easier said than done to put up boundaries around holiday treats and all the decadent food. Over the years I have played around with different tools to help me enjoy this time of year and focus on what really matters. The holidays can be a source of fulfillment and pride – they shouldn’t be a time of dietary dread or a dip in your sense of self-worth and power.
This season try a couple of these out for yourself and see which best suits your personality (and needs) in the moment. Today I want to invite you to lay a strong foundation for a healthy holiday by considering these two. And next week, we’ll add in a few more tools you can use as well, so you are fully equipped.
The Issue: Stress is a major downer for proper nutrient status. During the holidays we may trigger too many stressors on the system (poor sleep, too much or not enough exercise, too much sugar, booze and caffeine and not enough plant foods and healthy fats, etc.). Under stress, the body uses up nutrients faster and is more vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies. Studies show that people undergoing a stressful time in life excrete more vitamins and minerals in their urine than those who report normal stress levels.
Instead of pumping yourself up or bringing yourself down with artificial stimulants and depressants that have noticeable side effects (hello, hangover!), opt for supplemental nutrients and herbs that research shows are effective and safe.
Essential Fatty Acids: Try eating at least 2 servings of Wild Alaskan salmon or cod per week to optimize your omega 3 fatty acid intake. Since we can’t always control our meals during the holidays, try adding a high-quality supplement. Omega-3 essential fatty acids promote healthy levels of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) that is released after we eat and controls our appetite.