The holiday season is upon us, and no matter where you are in the world, what you celebrate, this time of year comes with mixed emotions of excitement, and even dread, but overall more stress than other months in the year. The gatherings bring more boozy drinks, foods that may not be the healthiest options and rushing around with the time crunch to get all the gifts, and get all the stuff done on time. The pressure, whether self-inflicted or from outside sources can make for a pretty stressful time, and if you’ve been with me for most of this year, I’ve talked about the negative effects that stress has on your health and just how far it permeates our cells and can basically mess up more than you know. The holiday seasons festivities can lead to weight gain and push you right out of your regular routine, that means that come January, you’re making all those resolutions to undo what you could avoid right here and now, so that you sail into the new year feeling like you’re a winner, and not beat yourself up through the beginning of March. Recognizing that it’s an intense time of year, and going easy on yourself, letting things go if you can’t get to them all, quietening down that perfection angel or devil that sits on your shoulder saying that what you are doing is enough, can go a long way to actually enjoying the holiday season, with some magical self-compassion. With that in mind, I have seven top tips to keep you on track, areas to be mindful of as you go throughout your day and this holiday season – or any season to be honest. So today on EAT THIS with Lianne, 7 ways to make it through the holiday season and not end up in a heap by January 1st.
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There are habits that we all have in our day to day that can go by the wayside as we get busy, flustered and stressed. It’s not easy to keep all the plates spinning or balls in the air, despite our best super human efforts. I’m one to talk as in the past, I’ve tried to get all the baking, cooking, decorating and presents sorted all on my own, only to find that the time spent with my kids, sitting on the couch in our PJs with Lexi our dog, is the best gift for all of us. Alright, let’s dig into what could be your saving grace this season. I have seven top tips, and of course the why’s of them but focus on what resonates the most – the area that has dropped off and could have the most impact to you over the next few days. Then move onto another focus. You don’t have to do all that I talk about, so let’s keep it real and do what you can.
I can almost guarantee that you’re not drinking enough water. Unless you’re super disciplined and like me, take your water bottle EVERYWHERE you go, hydrating with water is a massive challenge. Whether it’s at work, you’re walking through the mall or heading to be with family or friends, having water with you is the only way that you’re going to get it into you. If you’ve hit an energy plateau or are feeling drained, you need water. If you have a headache, or the start to one, you can head it off with a massive glass of water. If your digestive system is playing up because of the holiday foods, the extra drinks at gatherings and events, and of course the stress, you need more water. Our bodies use and lose water all day long. Digestion, converting your last meal into energy, detoxification, and waste elimination via sweat, urine, and stool all use up water. Then there’s drinking juice, pop, caffeinated drinks like fancy coffee with way too much sugar, eating refined sugars, sweating, stress, and simply just breathing deplete us of water. Can you believe that just 1-2% dehydration can significantly impact our cognitive function, making it harder to focus, concentrate, make decisions, or even connect with others.
When we aren’t getting enough water, or the correct type of water, we starve every cell in our bodies and prevent them from working optimally. How do you know you need more water? By the time you’re thirsty, you’re dehydrated. Fatigue, dry lips, dry mouth, and feeling lightheaded, and not feeling focused as in brain function is another major indicator of dehydration. The quality of your water also plays a factor here. If you don’t filter your water, your body becomes the filter taking out contaminants, medicines that aren’t on your prescription and even chemicals to clean the water. Head back to episode 61 where we talked to Berkey Filter expert Scott Miller and Dr B about the best types of water filters to use for you and your family.
Start your day with at least 500mL of water, preferably with the juice of half a fresh lemon and a pinch of himalayan salt. Keep that going throughout the day and consume at least 2L of water, coconut water, dilute juice (like ¼ juice to water), black or herb teas and black coffee. Do that for the next week and see how you feel.
2. Support your immune system
This could be its own episode, but your top hits for supporting your immunity is to watch what you eat when it comes to sugar, refined foods, that processed goodness that comes in a bag, box or has a barcode. Then there’s all that christmas baking that happens at this time of year, and is hard to walk by. Supporting immunity has a lot to do with your gut and microbiome – those trillions of beneficial bacteria that need things like fibre, prebiotic foods like Now, prebiotics are a form of soluble fiber that helps feed the good bugs in your gut. Healthy gut bacteria can improve glycemic or blood sugar control. I went into depth about this and the benefits to your health in episode 143. Prebiotics include foods include onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, dandelion greens, jicama and resistant starch. Resistant starch happens when you cook starch foods like potato and rice, cool it and then eat it either cold or reheated. Immunity is linked to everything, not only your first line of defence for that virus that knocked me right out, and I’m still recovering from. Eating more colourful fruits and veggies that you want to, every day. Giving attention to getting something on the go that isn’t a muffin, bagel, or something else that is white truly impacts your immunity. There’s two ways of coming at it – don’t shut down your immune army with that fast food, white refined options, do what you can to manage your stress levels and watch the sugar intake. Then there’s feeding, supporting your immunity with vitamins A, C, E and Zinc, you can do that with my Take This by Lianne Alka C, top up with superfoods like in my Kid or Skin Boost, up your vitamin D intake with Sunshine D3+K2 and add Bio Boost probiotic to your protocol. I’ve taken the guesswork out of what you need over on sproutright.com in the immune boosting package, and even if you aren’t able to support immunity through food, know that meditating, taking even three deep and mindful breaths help. If you can get yourself in front of your red light, I’ve made the most of my OrionRLT.ca red light – like twice a day on my face for my sinuses that haven’t cleared, and my chest to nail the small cough that I have left, feels so incredibly soothing. I do feel better. Remember to use promo code EATTHIS for 10% off any purchase that you make and if there is a sale on, you can layer on that 10% off. I continue to be amazed at how helpful it is.
Whether it’s a brisk walk through the mall between shops, parking further away from the door or entrance to the store that you’re about to hit, purposeful movement throughout the day helps move your lymph throughout your body. If you can get on that yoga mat with a quick Yoga with Adriene, or some pilates, a HIIT something for even 10 minutes, the stress busting effects from movement is key, and another one along with hydration that can go out the window when you’re so busy. Commit to it. Put out your clothes the night before, roll out the yoga mat wherever works for you. There are two spots in my condo that I exercise. In the living room which means I have to move the ottoman out of the way and set up my laptop, even queue up the yoga class that I’m going to do – take all the possible barriers out before bed. I suck at exercising at any time other than in the morning. Even my best intentions to do evening yoga don’t happen. I’ve already committed to Yoga with Adreiene’s 30 day CENTER themed January yoga journey. I have followed her 30 day journeys for the past three years, and it is worth every second of getting yourself on the mat. It is amazing how much yoga can hurt in the moment – those stretches to body parts that don’t ever get attention, and then how good you feel after. Wanna join me on this, for accountability? Let me know that you’re going to join too! We can keep each other going on those days when you don’t think you’ll make it to the mat.
4. Love your liver
Whether it’s more booze, or the damn sugary cookies that you can’t bypass, or grandma’s meatballs that you don’t usually eat, all that goes into your mouth ends up heading to the liver, meaning that it seriously needs some love. The lemon water in the morning helps both your kidneys and your liver, hydration is key, especially if you’ve had a few more drinks than usual on a night or you’re drinking daily. Head back to episode 30 to hear Dr Brockenshire share What Booze does to your body, so you understand and know how to support it. Look, it’s going to happen and if you’re like me, the next morning you think WHY did I do that, have that last drink as you feel awful for most of the next day, know that the detoxification that your liver does every day, with or without drinks or food, is a chore. Eating all the wilted greens that you can, with eggs that are amazing to support detoxification, adding onions and garlic to everything helps in so many ways. My latest favourite is black garlic – OMG it’s so delicious. No cooking required as it is already dehydrated or goes through a process that I haven’t tried myself yet, so can’t speak to it. Cruciferous vegetable family of cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, arugula, radishes, wasabi, watercress, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnips all help if you can get at least one to two cups of any of them, cooked, daily. Detoxifying and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, like turmeric, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, onion powder, cinnamon, coriander, cilantro, paprika, and parsley are worth adding to those sulfur containing eggs that I mentioned. One to two cups of green tea a day boosts liver detoxification as it increases GST or glutathione enzymes. Speaking of glutathione, there are a few ways to help that masterful detoxifier, it’s the main detoxifier in the body, is an antioxidant and immune booster. Our body needs to regenerate it all the time, so it needs the building block NAC or n-acetyl-cysteine. It’s the precursor to Glutathione so at least 500mg twice a day is essential. You can take glutathione itself in a liposome liquid which is a most powerful way to help that liver out. It can be a game changer for many.
5. Stabilize blood sugar levels
A quick reminder about what I went into depth about in episode 143 because blood sugar spikes are going to happen, it’s inevitable with the typical holiday fare. I’ll be making my mum’s Almond Cake that is full of butter, sugar and white flour as well as marzipan that has even more sugar in it. Yes, the nutritionist is human and appreciates the traditions that she started and as she’s not with us anymore, there are a few recipes of hers that we make and that makes her feel close when she’s not. I’m sure you can relate to those foods and recipes that grandma or someone made in the past that you know aren’t the healthiest, but there’s that emotional tie to it that is worthy of making or eating it. When you do indulge, have some kind of protein or fat on the side, try not to dig right into the shortbread and eggnog without something in your stomach first – that something can be a protein or fat, or if you can swing it, a tablespoon of acetic acid or vinegar. Now it’s not likely you’d carry some apple cider vinegar in your hip flask, so if you can, go walk after all that refined goodness, or as soon as you can. That also helps to stabilize your blood sugar spike, bringing down the potential of firing off inflammation and all that it brings. Please head back to episode 143 for all the hacks that I shared there, because if there’s one place to focus on for longevity and long term health, it’s blood sugar stabilization and balance.
Who needs more sleep? My hand is up! How on earth does it become 11 pm so fast when I intend to start my wind down to bed like brushing my teeth, cleansing my skin and setting myself up with my Brain Tap device that we talked about in episode 129 for a bedtime meditation with binaural beats and lights to help get my brain in the sleep zone. I just keep thinking that the one more thing that I must do has to get done tonight, when really it doesn’t, but it kills the potential of a solid 8 hours. Besides food, getting enough sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. Sleep deprivation makes you put on weight, especially in your abdomen – AND can lead to depression, pain, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, even osteoporosis, and a lack of sleep depresses your immunity, and brain function. During sleep, your brain and its lymphatic system, the lymphatic system, is clearing out toxins.
If you’re having trouble sleeping here are a few things you can do that you may have not tried before. Warm up your middle – this raises your core temperature and helps trigger the proper chemistry for sleep. Either your red light – I can attest to this helping, using a hot water bottle, another fave of mine, heating pad, or warm body can do the trick. Magnesium really helps the nervous system, but that one pill that you’re taking isn’t enough. The form makes a difference too. Magnesium Bis-Glycinate that you’ll find on sproutright.com is my go-to and I take between 300 and 500 mg a night. The upper level for a few nights can be a game changer to bust through that waking up throughout the night, for some. Don’t eat within three hours if you can, do some journaling and write your worries down, and make a plan of how you’re going to deal with them so you have a clear mind heading into sleep land. And once or twice a week, take a hot Epsom salt or soda aromatherapy bath. As with the belly warmth, raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep. It can relax your muscles and ease that stress and tension both physically and all that is on your mind. Try one-and-a-half to one cup of Epsom salt and one-and-a-half to one cup of baking soda to your bath, is a double bonus as the magnesium gets absorbed through your skin and the baking soda helps your alkaline balancing that can help with sleep.
7. Have some compassion for your fine self
We have to be realistic with the holiday season and do what you can to set realistic goals, say no more than you want to, and prioritize your time to some things that YOU want to do. That self compassion also means remembering that your food choices don’t equal your value as a person, and if it all doesn’t go to plan, it’s a moment in time, and it will pass soon enough. The holidays are challenging for everyone on the eating front, so don’t beat yourself up, but know that the next opportunity at meal time or the next gathering, you can make a different choice. The next night, getting into bed earlier will help and remembering to down that glass of water first thing will help. If it all doesn’t come together as planned, maybe what is happening is meant to be and will bring something that you didn’t imagine could, so hang tight and ride it out. Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself – the calmer and steadier you are, the better off YOU will be.
Thanks for tuning in, thank you for the feedback from episode 144 when I was sick and vulnerable, I’m glad that what I shared resonated with so many people. That was my goal.
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