By James Colquhoun (foodmatters.com)
When it comes to holiday celebrations, it can be difficult to resist all those extra treats and temptations, with good intentions sometimes flying out the window. It is possible to keep a reign on your health and feel fantastic throughout Thanksgiving however, with these seven simple tricks.
1. LOAD UP ON VEGGIES
With roast turkey a common thanksgiving meal in many homes, it is the ideal dish to boost with veggies. Load up on pumpkin, kale, sweet potatoes, asparagus, carrots, onions, cabbage, brussel sprouts, green beans, garlic and mushrooms, and you will find you have a plate of sensational goodness right there – no guilt necessary! Just be careful how you cook your veggies, using a high-quality oil if roasting (keeping oil to a minimum), steaming as many veggies as possible to ensure their nutritional value is maintained. Complement them with a homemade gravy and fresh cranberry sauce, and voila!
2. EXPERIMENT WITH A NEW THANKSGIVING MENU
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to cook up a storm, so why not break some boundaries and do something different this year? It’s the perfect moment to think outside the square and make your own thanksgiving classics! With so many delicious and healthy recipes available, you can nurture your body with tasty nutritional dishes galore. Try gluten/grain/dairy/meat-free if you want – it’s up to you!
3. PRACTICE CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION
Eating mindfully and slowly is one of the best ways to listen and respond to your body. Being aware of each mouthful as you eat brings your mind to the moment and helps your stomach connect with your brain, allowing you to sense when you feel satisfied. The antithesis of mindless consumption, conscious consumption enables you to revel in and feel grateful for each taste, flavor and sensation that you encounter.
4. HOLD BACK ON THE GLUTEN
Gluten is a protein composite found in several types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gluten does not agree with everyone, and even in those who do not experience an obvious intolerance, it has been shown to cause lethargy, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome to just name a few side effects. Gluten has even been linked to some serious autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Holding back on the bread over the holiday period is therefore not unwise.
5. STEER CLEAR OF REFINED SUGAR
One of the main sources of calories is refined sugar – and it is poison! In fact, excessive sugar consumption is probably the largest factor underlying obesity and chronic disease in America. It damages the immune system, causes mood swings and premature aging, and contributes to ailments such as tooth decay, osteoporosis and heart disease. Found in pre-packaged foods, refined sugar is toxic, and should be avoided at all costs.
6. LOOK AFTER YOU
If you are out dining with friends or family over the Thanksgiving period, don’t feel you have to bend to peer pressure by gorging on food you would rather not have. Feel free to refuse a second helping or give the chocolate box a swerve. If eating out, suggest a restaurant you know has a great healthy menu. You deserve to look after yourself and ultimately your body will thank you for it.
7. LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE
Everyone loves to relax and unwind over the holiday season, but overdoing it in the alcohol stakes can leave you feeling sluggish, moody, dehydrated and on a big come-down. With alcohol depleting the body of essential minerals and nutrients, zapping energy and causing weight gain, keeping tabs on the amount you consume is a good idea. Alternatively, you could ditch it altogether, and go for a fresh juice mocktail instead, packed full of feel-good fabulousness!