Is It Time For You To H.A.L.T?

Frustrated woman waiting for a phone call in Christmas kitchenThe holidays are upon us, and for many it’s the most challenging time of the year.

The heavy emphasis on love and joy, family togetherness and endless festivities can easily take you down, special diet or not.

Worse still, what if the holidays find you alone?

What if you’re dealing with a recent break-up, an illness, or worse still – a death in the family?

Can you relate?

While there’s no question these things are difficult any time of the year, the pain and heartache increases ten-fold during the month of December.

Yet the bigger issue is this: when you’re up against life’s challenges, do you still find time to take proper care of yourself?

How do you deal with those typical stressors we call ‘Life’, that will inevitably come your way?

This is where some mental gymnastics come into play – in the form of a self-coaching technique known as H.A.L.T.

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Got No Willpower?

A bowl of mixed salad with a tape measure for healthy eatingWhen it comes to tempting treats – do you firmly believe you have zero willpower?

Are you convinced this lack of control mean you’re deficient as a human being?

Or equally bad, that there’s something terribly wrong with you?

Well, here’s the good news: there might be a perfectly logical explanation for your apparent ‘lack of willpower’!

And it all comes back to your diet and the state of your digestion.

Let me explain.

On a deep, physiological level, it’s possible that your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients it needs, and this can happen for a number of reasons.

The most common ones would be a poor diet, or a flawed digestive system – either one of which can lead to a leaky gut.

Not to mention a host of other problems – including nutrient deficiency! (You could literally bestarving– and not even know it.)

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Are You Starving?

hamburger with friesDo you ever have days when your cravings seem totally out of control?

Let’s say you’ve been gluten-free for awhile now, and you have no trouble sticking with that. You also try to steer clear of processed foods, and grains – either whole or refined – as much as possible.

Truth be told, you’re really proud of yourself for doing such an amazing job keeping your diet really ‘clean’!

But you’ve found there’s a catch.

If you decide to have a piece of gluten-free cake, you aren’t able to stop at just one slice.

If you buy potato chips, or bake cookies, you devour the entire bag (or batch) without skipping a beat. Chances are, you’re also REALLY hard on yourself afterwards, for caving to your cravings.

What’s going on?

In a nutshell, you could be starving!

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How To Avoid The Sugar Blues

SugarI suppose the simple answer to that question would be to, well – simply not eat it.

But that’s easier said than done, I know.

While I’ve personally been avoiding refined sugars for more than a year now – it doesn’t mean that I refuse to eat anything sweet.

Quite the contrary!

Nor does it mean that I will never, ever eat anything made from refined sugar – sometimes it’s just too hard to avoid. (Chocolate chips come to mind, as an example).

However, there are plenty of sweet alternatives to refined sugar – things like honey, and agave nectar, or coconut sugar.

True, agave has gotten a bad rap of late – you can read more about it here.

And yes, it might seem like an odd thing to even mention on the heels of Valentine’s Day, when sweet temptations are beckoning to you from all directions.

However, it’s not all that uncommon for someone to be diagnosed as either allergic, or sensitive, to sugar.

The next time you’re planning to bake, why not experiment with some of these alternative sweeteners like coconut sugar, or succanat?

I’ve given you plenty of suggestions in last week’s post Can It Be Valentine’s Day Without Chocolate? (The short answer was “no” – at least for me).

Then again, it isn’t just white sugar in its traditional form that’s the villain, here.

According to Dr Mark Hyman, “If you have two slices of whole wheat bread, you’re going to raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of sugar.” 

In other words, too many carbohydrates in general – especially the “white stuff” like potatoes, rice and flour – are empty calories that offer little nutritional value.

Unfortunately, gluten-free baked goods are no better – due to the presence of various starches such as tapioca flour, arrowroot or potato starch – all of which converts to sugars once consumed).

What can you do?

At meals, help yourself to an extra serving of vegetables, instead of a mountain of brown rice.

Tread light, and see how you feel.

A funny thing happens, though, when you cut back on sugar.

All of a sudden, many of your favorite foods might seem a little too sweet!

I guess that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.