The holiday season often paints a picture reminiscent of Hallmark cards or idyllic movie scenes where characters overcome strife to find a happy ending. However, these portrayals can set us up with unrealistic expectations. Reflecting on my childhood Christmases, I recall not specific incidents but an overarching air of stress, a memory vivid enough to linger even now.
‘Tis the season, and not just for joy and festivities. In the northern hemisphere, it’s also a time when colds and sickness are rampant. We navigate complex plans and schedules, trying to create those perfect moments depicted in Hallmark cards, all while our stress hormones are skyrocketing. Despite the inherent joy in gathering with family and friends, let’s face it: this time of year can be fraught with stress, leading to overwhelming feelings and potential burnout as the new year rolls in.
In today’s episode of EAT THIS with Lianne, we’re going to talk about how to survive this season without burning out. I’ll share from my own holiday experiences: the extensive cooking, the abundance of sugary treats, and spending time with people I might not otherwise choose to be around. There’s a charm in reconnecting with distant loved ones, but it’s also essential to acknowledge the potential stressors of the season.
Let’s dive into strategies for managing holiday indulgences. When faced with an array of pastries and sweets, start with the veggies. A raw carrot or a stick of celery can prep your digestive system by slowing down the absorption of refined carbohydrates. Prioritizing protein and fat intake is also crucial. Remember, the order in which you eat can impact your blood sugar levels.
Regarding dairy, it’s worth noting that it can lead to mucus production, which isn’t ideal when everyone is already battling colds. A good alternative is A2 milk products, which are often easier on the digestive system. These include varieties like goat’s and sheep’s cheese. We discussed A2 milk in detail in episode 63.
In our ‘Beat the Bloat’ segment, we’ll tackle the all-too-familiar feeling of overindulgence. Can’t start with veggies? Try a glass of water to mitigate hunger. Opt for gluten-free options and consider bringing your own healthier dishes to gatherings. Digestive enzymes can also be a game-changer in managing discomfort.
Moving on to alcohol: choosing your drinks wisely is key. If you’ve decided to abstain (as discussed in episode 175), there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the festivities. Eat before you drink, limit sugary mixers, and support your liver with the right supplements.
Finally, let’s talk about stress management. Start your day with a large glass of lemon water and a pinch of Celtic sea salt. Practice deep breathing to engage your parasympathetic nervous system. Remember, your vagus nerve, which we discussed in episode 86, plays a crucial role in managing stress.
As we wrap up, I invite you to share your holiday strategies. How do you plan to navigate the stress, parties, and indulgences of the season?
Let’s make this holiday season not just about survival, but about thriving and entering the new year feeling our best.