How Not to Feel Like Crap by New Year’s

to-do-list-smallHow’s your stress level these days?

Are you obsessing over the busy-ness of the holiday season? With gifts to purchase (and wrap), parties to plan (and attend), and guests to entertain it’s no wonder that for many of us the holidays are the most stressful time of the year.

And that doesn’t even cover the food !

Tables laden with holidays feasts, and endless gluten-filled, sugary treats – how will you survive?

It’s a common refrain from many of my clients – along with saying this:

“I don’t want to feel like crap by January 1!”

Are you wondering how you can rein in your appetite when so many temptations abound? No question, the holidays are stressful, with so much to do and so little time.

Even more worrisome, is that stress plays a HUGE compounding role for just about any health concern you might have – especially your digestive health!

With that in mind, here are my 3 favorite tips for managing your stress during the holiday season, so you don’t feel like crap come New Year’s!

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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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How to Look 20, When You’re Well Past 50 (60, Even)

HedbergWEB Color KK32 CROPA few days ago, a friend whom I hadn’t seen in awhile exclaimed that I looked about 20.

Of course, I was pleasantly surprised and secretly quite pleased – to hear this.

After all, it isn’t exactly easy to pass for 40 years younger than your actual age!

“What about my gray hair?” I asked her, thinking that was a dead give-away.

She brushed that aside, saying it didn’t mean a whole lot.

Well, OK then.

Of course, I don’t think I really look like a 20 year old. (When I look in the mirror, I’m as critical as the next person).

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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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A Sugar-Free Christmas? Bah Humbug!

Lebkuchen3lA couple of years ago, I decided to cut back on my intake of refined sugar.

And I’ve shared my various successes baking with alternate sweeteners here and here.

Of course, there are lots of reasons why you might want to consume less sugar than the Standard American Diet (aka SAD).

However, if you’re experiencing any kind of digestive distress, or chronic illness, then sugar is one of the first things I’d recommend you eliminate.

After gluten, of course!

(Both gluten and sugar, along with dairy, are considered the top three most inflammatory foods).

So, that’s reason #1.

Here’s another reason to eliminate sugar: a yeast or bacterial overgrowth, such as Candida or SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).

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How To Have A Healthy Halloween

Halloween cupcakesAre you ready for Halloween?

While I’m not inclined to don a costume, or deck the house out with carved pumpkins and Halloween décor, I do like to prepare a festive sweet or two for the occasion.

(A gal needs to indulge once in a while).

Even so, I try to find healthier alternatives whenever possible – relying mostly on homemade goodies so I can explore different sweeteners and switch out ingredients as needed.

Of course, one could just as easily focus on savory treats the fit the Halloween theme.

How about a “Black and Orange” Salad – using Forbidden Rice and oranges? (Sweet potatoes would also work in a pinch).

Or, a nourishing bowl of soup served inside a hollowed out pumpkin?

While that’s all well and good, you’ll probably still want a little something sweet for dessert.

I know I would.

With that in mind, here are my suggestions for a healthy Halloween – so you can have your cake and eat it too!

 

Cut Back On Sugar

Seems like an impossibility, doesn’t it – especially during a “candy-focused” holiday like Halloween?

And yet, for the unlucky few among us who have tested allergic to sugar (or, are super sensitive), this is an everyday reality – not just during Halloween, but all year long.

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What Is the Trade-Off?

Egg & ChickLet’s say you’ve been diligently reading labels since going gluten-free, ever mindful that gluten can often be sneaky – showing up where you’d least expect it.

But did you ever stop to wonder, now that you’ve given up gluten – what not-so-great choices you might be making instead?

In other words, what is the trade-off?

For example, back when I first became gluten-free, I started eating a lot more eggs.

That’s because I was baking my own gluten-free bread, and the standard recipe called for three or four eggs per loaf.

Since eggs are gluten-free, I thought nothing of it.

Also, at least once a week, we’d have omelets for dinner – or even breakfast.

On occasion, I’d even whip up a soufflé.

(Sounds fancy, I know, but soufflés are actually pretty easy to make).

Then almond meal hit the market, and it seemed like a wonderful alternative to gluten-free flours.

Being an almond lover myself, I was ecstatic!

In a given week, I poured almond milk on my breakfast cereal and snacked on almonds by the handful.

So guess what happened?

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Can Juicing Make You Fat?

Avocado smoothieI’ve been making a lot of smoothies lately.

If I’m not in the mood for a smoothie, I’ll chop up a bunch of veggies and juice up a tall glass of green juice.

Whipping up a green smoothie, or juicing a tall glass of veggie goodness, seems to be all the rage lately.

And yes, I’ve been caught up in the excitement!

Do you have a preference?

For myself, I often prefer a smoothie to juicing – I like that the fiber stays intact (am I the only one who hates throwing all that nutritious fiber down the drain?) – plus I find it easier to clean a VitaMix than a juicer

Sometimes it’s a Green Smoothie, other times it’s a little less green, depending on the ingredients – it’s a little like mixing a palette of paint, to see what color you end up with.

On the flip side of things, there are many detractors to the juicing craze.

Bottom line – while certainly delicious, juicing may not always be the healthiest choice.

According to the experts, when you drink a glass of juice – especially if it’s mostly fruit – you’re really drinking nothing but a glass of sugar.

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Meet Your Anti-Nutrients

Donuts and CoffeeWhy anti-nutrients?

Because they rob nutrients from your body:

  • Gluten
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Processed Foods
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Overly processed Oils
  • Antibiotics
  • Eating the wrong foods for your unique physiology
  • Toxic overload
  • Over exercising (excessive exertion)

Does that last one surprise you?

The fact is, strenuous exercise is very stressful on your body. Not that surprising, really – we often feel the after-effects of exercise on our joints or muscles – a sure sign that we’ve overdone it.

It’s simply another type of stress that you might be dealing with – but it’s one you might not think of as stress.