Surviving the Holidays

'Tis the Season to over-indulging, blood-sugar roller coaster rides, stress, and partying with a lot of viruses! It is a sure cocktail to feeling a little blue and bulgy. The good news is there are some strategies to help get you through the holidays.

Drink plenty of water. Yes, water. Not just wine, cocktails, juice, coffee, tea, or other beverages. Water helps you to feel fuller and is the only drink that hydrates your body. This is also beneficial because winter tends to be very drying due to our heated homes. Try to drink some water at least every 2 hours.

Have a healthy light snack before going out to dinner.
Eat some fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds to partially fill your tummy with some nutrient dense food so you won't over eat on things that are less healthy.

Eat Less. Watch your portion size when filling your plate. Intentionally leave some space on your plate and don't go back for seconds. Your body will thank you for this.

Eat Slow. Take your time eating and savor the flavor of each bite. It will take you as long to finish your plate as those who filled it full and went back for seconds. You'll leave the table with a smile on your face and your belt will still be on the right notch.

Go easy on the alcohol. Alcohol is loaded with calories and is taxing on your liver and immune system. Enjoy your holiday spirits, but in moderation.

Eat a lot fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with all the ingredients (phytonutrients) that you need to nourish a healthy body. By eating lot of fresh, raw fruits and veggies you are giving you immune system the boost your body needs this time of year. The research is out there that fruits and vegetables trump vitamins and even medicine for a healthy foundation... Hypocrates was so brilliant in saying, "Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food." Eat your medicine this season to stay well.

Exercise. Don't forget to exercise. Even if you have to drag yourself out for a cold walk around the neighborhood, make sure you move your body and sweat every day. Not only will it burn calories, improve your health, strengthen your muscles, but it just feels refreshing! And, it takes away the guilt of eating those holiday treats!

Have a great holiday season! Cheers!

The Protein Question

We all need protein as it is an important building material for our cells. As parents, we are generally concerned about how much protein our children are getting and where they getting their protein from (especially if our kids eat little or no meat and dairy). Even though there is still much controversy over how much protein we need for health, experts have drastically lowered the out-dated requirements made under faulty influences and inaccurate study observations. The reality is: it is virtually impossible to not get enough protein in your diet if you are eating a diet of natural, unrefined foods.

Currently experts are saying you need 2.5 – 10% of your calories as protein, preferably plant-based. The World Health Organization recommends you get 5% of your calories as protein (and 6% for pregnant women). Coincidentally, mother’s milk is 5.5% protein.

Here are some tips to make sure you and your little ones are getting the right amount and right source of protein. Contrary to popular belief regarding protein, it is best to limit your intake of meat and dairy, as excess protein from these sources can be damaging and contribute to the development of many of our most common and serious diseases.

The best source of protein is to eat a wide variety of natural, whole, plant-based foods. Oatmeal is 15% protein, potatoes are 8%, and broccoli is 20% protein. Since cooking can deplete the assimilable protein levels in plants (as well as fiber and nutrients) try to eat some of that food in its raw form. Incidentally, there is little need to worry about food combining to receive a complete protein. The theory is out-dated, originally sourced from Frances Lappé who had misinterpreted a study done on rats. She later admitted food combining is unnecessary.

If, however, you are not eating a wide variety of foods, make sure you eat foods with the 8 essential amino acids. These are amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Some of these foods are: almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, soybeans, buckwheat, peanuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, all leafy greens, carrots, corn, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, bananas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. A good website to reference the protein and nutrient make-up of different foods is www.nutritiondata.com.

Dr. McDougall has a great article about this. For more information read: "Where do I get my protein article."


For questions or more information on this topic or others, I'd love to hear from you.

Laughter is the sound of play.

I loved this article sent to me so much I had to share it. It's from the "Inner Quality Tip" Newsletter from Heartmath.com. Wow... to be a kid again!


THE LIGHTER SIDE

Someone once told me while I was in the midst of a difficult situation, if there's the slightest chance you might look back on this some day and laugh about it, start laughing now. Granted, this doesn't always work, but it sure has helped me get through some tough times. 

In addition to facilitating a perceptual shift, laughter has a lot of other benefits. Studies 1 on humor and laughter from Duke University, Loma Linda University, UCLA and others have shown:

  • Laughing helps relax tense muscles.
  • It reduces the production of stress hormones.
  • Laughter and a positive attitude strengthen the immune system.
  • It allows a person to 'forget' about aches and pains and perceive pain as less intense.
  • A good laugh is like an aerobic workout for the heart and lungs--increasing the body's ability to use oxygen.
  • It helps lower high blood pressure.
  • There are no known negative side effects to laughter.

Laughing is a part of the human experience. Recent research shows that "circuits" for laughter exist in very ancient regions of the human brain. Robert Provine, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, tells us laughter's origin is in tickling and rough-and-tumble play. Laughter is literally the sound of play. 2

Maybe that's why young children laugh over 300 times a day. It's natural. Surprise, surprise: That number falls to 15 with adults. Unlike children who laugh unconditionally, we adults wait to find cause. 3 Which brings up another one of those which-came-first conundrums: Do we grow old because we stop laughing? Or, do we lose our ability to laugh because we grow up?

Whatever tickles your funny bone, add more laughter to your day!

Take care, 
Kim Allen 

http://www.rtpnet.org/~cahaha/wilstar-article.htm
(National Geographic)
http://www.hinduonnet.com/folio/fo0003/00030440.htm