Three Tips to Survive the Holidays

By Jen Morganti, ND, NEEDS Education Director

The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends and create lovely memories, but do you ever feel like it’s all too much? Sometimes an excessively packed schedule and juggling family events can just cause too much stress! Then there are the challenges of resisting abundant unhealthy food choices, lacking time to exercise, and maybe not getting enough sleep. All these factors pile up and can throw off your mood, energy, and weight. There are a few simple tips you can try to minimize the unwanted side effects of the holiday season to help make it the fun and enjoyable season that it was meant to be.

TIP 1 Maintain your Outstanding Self-Discipline

Let’s face it, even the most disciplined person will feel challenged by the delicious treats that are kindly left on every table you pass during the holidays. Beautifully decorated holiday cookies, sweet and creamy eggnog, or rich and cheesy dips with crisp crackers tempt us as we go through the day. There’s a good trick to help dampen these temptations: if you don’t let yourself get hungry, you are less likely to indulge. So keep a stash of fresh veggies on hand and use them to prevent hunger. Filling up with low-calorie, high- fiber, healthy snacks will at least cut back the amount of treats you want to reach for. If you’re going to a holiday party, you can also take a natural appetite suppressant such as Hoodia to prevent overindulging.

Also, make sure you keep enzymes on hand wherever you go, to help deal with digesting large quantities of foods or foods you might be sensitive to.  Use a high-quality general enzyme formula, and  if you have a sensitivity to gluten, you might benefit from an enzyme formula that contains the Glutalytic enzyme to help break it down more effectively.

TIP 2 Maximize your Opportunities for Rest

Staying out too late, drinking too much alcohol and caffeine, or staying up wrapping gifts all night can interrupt your much needed sleep, leaving you groggy, fatigued, and possibly grouchy. Do your best to get eight hours every night, and if not, at least try to squeeze in a quick cat nap—they really do help! But if you have trouble sleeping and find yourself tossing and turning all night, herbs like valerian or hops will provide a relaxing sedative effect. If anxiety and excessive thoughts keep you awake, try anxiolytic herbs and nutrients such as holy basil, kava, GABA, and               L-theanine to calm your mind and prepare for rest. These are also great for daytime use because they do not have sedative properties.

TIP 3 Take Time for YOU 

If you find that you have too many social activities planned to the point of exhaustion, be sure to balance it with a little alone time too. Go for a walk, or sit and meditate to rebalance, or just take some time to appreciate all the blessings in your life. After all, isn’t that what the season is really all about?   

Rejuvenation Through Juicing

By Lilia Mykytyn134253142

Spring is the season of rejuvenation and renewal where we peel off the extra layers of clothing worn all winter long—especially this winter with the many polar vortexes we have lived through! We do the same with food, peeling away the heartiness of our winter comfort food to something lighter and fresher like fruits and vegetables. Most of us try to incorporate more fresh produce into our diets, but find that it can be a very daunting task to eat the recommended amount everyday.

One way to get more veggies and fruits in our diets is through juicing. There are so many powerful nutrients found in plant foods and juice is the quickest and easiest way to get the high concentrations of these nutrients in your body. Scientific research has suggested that these nutrients increase metabolism, lower body weight, and promote overall good health. They also reboot the body to help lose the addiction to processed foods that are high in sugars, salt, and fat.

The documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead reveals that you can turn your life around through juicing. I highly recommend that you watch it. Joe Cross, the star of this documentary, realized that he would have to change what he ate, or rather what he drank, to save his life. The movie reveals how Cross changed his relationship with food through juicing. Cross put nothing in his body except the juice of raw fruits and vegetables for sixty days. Cross admits that this was pretty extreme, but he needed to heal his body from the inside out. He relied on the natural enzymes and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables to help reset his body to decrease the cravings of processed foods and caffeine.

What is important to point out from Cross’ experience is you can improve your nutrition through drinking your fresh produce. You can break down your addiction to caffeine, sugar, and salt just by eating vegetables and fruits. Think of juicing as a reboot, a renewal, like springtime. You don’t have to jump right into a juice fast like Joe Cross did, but incorporate one juice daily to allow your body to absorb the nutrients from fruits and vegetables more efficiently. Include juicing as part of your diet and focus on non-processed foods. Look at juice as the ultimate convenience food that will boost your immune system and have you feeling lighter and rejuvenated just like spring!

The Greatness of Green Drinks

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RD136706785

It’s a New Year! One of the best ways to ramp up your nutrition is by consuming green drinks. Typically, many of these green drinks contain spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, and wheat grass. These greens alone are packed full of nutrients! Spirulina is a microalgae. It contains 60-70% protein, B12, iron, essential amino acids, and chlorophyll. Chlorella is an algae with a high amount of chlorophyll. It contains B vitamins, amino acids, and trace minerals. According to Dr. Anne Wigmore, founder of Hippocrates Health Institute, one pound of wheatgrass is equal in nutritional value to 25 pounds of standard vegetables. Wheatgrass is a good source of protein and is beneficial to the body for its detoxifying properties. It protects lungs and blood from air and water pollution. Wheatgrass contains vitamins B, C, and E, as well as high amounts of chlorophyll, which further assists cleansing the blood and keeps it at high alkaline levels.

There are all sorts of green drinks out there. Some are just the individual greens, and others are mixed with berries and/or electrolytes. Some are organic; some are raw and/or organic; some have added electrolytes. How do we choose??

The benefits of eating raw are that the food is easily and quickly digested in 24-36 hours (vs. 48-100 for cooked foods), and enzymes and nutrients remain intact.

We live in a sea of chemicals, so reduce exposure where you can by choosing organic. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s list of the dirty dozen and be certain to choose organic for those items; if the green drink you are spotting is not organic and contains a Dirty Dozen item, I’d go with another choice.

When you exercise, you lose electrolytes (particularly sodium and potassium) in your sweat and these must be replaced to keep the balance. Minerals come from greens, and some of these drinks have additional minerals. Green drinks with electrolytes are great for athletes! Also, minerals are so important because our bodies are made of 70% mineral water.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of choices as far as greens drinks go. I prefer the ones with the berries and fruit added. Whatever your preference….choose green!!

Let’s Get More RAW!

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RDRawVeggies

With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to try adding more raw foods into our diets. Raw foods include foods with no application of heat of any kind. That means no cooking, grilling, or steaming the foods. Raw foods are never heated above 110-116 degrees F. Methods of preparing raw foods include: juicing, sprouting, dehydrating, freezing, or fermenting. Raw foods are digested easily and quickly in 24-36 hours vs. 48-100 hours for cooked foods, and it keeps enzymes and nutrients intact.

Adding more raw foods into your diet is quite simple actually. A gradual change toward more raw food in one’s diet is better for people who are used to consuming most of their meals cooked. A semi-raw diet of 50% or more can be your final goal for a healthier diet, or you can use it to help you move toward a more significant change.

Always consider how you can add fruit, vegetables, or nuts to what you are preparing. Instead of cooking vegetables out of habit, find out if there’s another way of preparing them. For example:

  • Marinate kale, broccoli, mushrooms, or other foods that are typically cooked to give them a soft, tender texture.
  • Raw corn, scraped off the cob, makes a tasty salad that goes well with tomatoes, fresh herbs, peppers, or zucchini.
  • To make a raw tomato sauce, simply blend ripe summer tomatoes with fresh herbs and a touch of garlic or onion.

Look also for ways to add chopped, raw vegetables to meals you already eat. Whether you add in one fresh juice a day or a salad to your dinner, you are on the right path for getting more raw foods into your diet for a healthier lifestyle.

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