Handling The Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, it seems fitting to discuss a strategy on how to stay stress free, stay fit, make healthy food choices, enjoy, giving and be grateful. To some it may be easier said then done. For others if may also be a sad time during the holidays. Having a plan in the forefront will help you succeed in your goals and enjoy this season.

As a kid growing up I can recall my Mother starting out several days ahead of time to insure all the food was made from scratch. Giving herself a few days head start gave her some time relief and insured everything was done without stress and tiresome effort. Cooking her food from scratch and avoiding as many processed foods as possible gave her healthier options for her family and guests. To this day, I have also done this and there are many dishes that actually taste better when they are made in advance and sit for a time period. This insures the activation of those fabulous spices. Cooking for others to me is one of my love languages and maybe it is one of yours too and you do not know it! Being organized and giving yourself plenty of time to shop. prepare and cooking dishes early on can really be helpful. I also practice this early preparation even when having company for dinner or when asked to take more than one dish to a potluck or dinner party. It allows my regular life to go on and taking only a little extra time out of my normal schedule to prepare food dishes. If you are hosting the holiday meal, it is ok to ask your guests and family members to bring a dish or help out. Remember to ask in advance as to not stress out who you ask. Another great idea which has truly helped my family and I in improving our health is by taking some older recipes and reinventing them into a healthier dish! An example is cranberry sauce. My Mom always made her own cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries and sugar. Now you can buy organic cranberries for only a tad more and I learnt to make a raw fresh cranberry salad which is amazing! That crunch. The recipe is actually on my website and the sweetener is dates and some other fruits. It keeps excetionaly well too. The antioxidants is this dish alone is amazing. Fresh and raw, just the way our bodies like it. So there are many recipes that may be traditional or new that you can serve up into a healthier version. I also think it is important to purchase organic foods to avoid as many chemical as possible. We even ordered a organic turkey which we have been doing for years now. They are quite abit more in price but I know are bodies (temples) are welcoming it. Purchasing as many foods as possible in advance and storing them away for your holiday meal can make the food bill spread out. We bought our organic frozen turkey months ago and that will be the most expensive item on the menu and its already paid for. Purchasing items on sale in advance is nice on the pocketbook. There are items that can be stored in the freezer. It is also one important item I do not have to bring home and store as it is already waiting for me. When we lived in California on the coast, we were able to purchase a fresh organic turkey, never frozen. I am sure I have that opportunity here in Tennessee. I need to spend the time finding the trust worthy connection. Another trick I learnt is if you have an extra table, the table where you are going to have your holiday meal can be set in advance! You can also look at your beautiful table longer that way and enjoy the journey of setting it.

Keeping our discipline guard up during the holidays really is not difficult, it just takes planning and thought. When filling your plate with all the wonderful foods, focus on the non-starchy veggies and proteins. You do not have to pass up on all the other wonderful dishes but make the serving size small, just a taste is enough. Make sure you have a little something healthy in your stomach prior to the holiday meal to help save you from over eating. Stay away from all the sugary processed desserts and alcoholic drinks. Search for a small piece of homemade pie or stick with the fruit salad and ONE glass of wine or ONE cocktail. Limiting the number of holidays parties, lunches, cocktail parties, etc is also helpful. It is okay if you do not attend everything.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Did you know that many poor food choices effect out mental state? A diet high in sugar and processed foods is going to lead one down a very slippery path both physically and mentally. Add in the stress of the holidays and it can turn into a health nightmare. The lows and highs of a sugary diet can really escalate depression not to mention the long tern effects. Many of us already understand that a diet high in processed foods loaded with sugar contributes to many diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer's. That sort of poor diet also suppresses the immune system. As the holiday season rapidly approaches here are a few ideas that may save one from becoming overly tired, depressed, sick and stressed. We can proof ourselves and have a wonderful holiday with taking much needed time to meditate in prayer each day. Taking a sauna can be relaxing and also help us to detox. Insure you get plenty of rest, via that 20 minute cat nap or getting to bed on time. Play soft and relaxing music while driving or cooking. If you are feeling yourself getting jacked up, STOP and take the time to recollect your thoughts, pray and find yourself calmed. Staying in your regular healthy routine is very important. Make sure you are getting your exercise rather than trading that time in for too many holiday cocktail parties instead. If you have to trade your gym time, you can always find another way to get a little exercise. Try doing a few air squats, some body weight exercises such as burpees and even a stretching session. All these things can be done in your home while you are waiting for the pie to cook. Keep in control of your healthy lifestyle by going for a family fall walk on Thanksgiving day after your afternoon meal, ahhhh!

As I close out this article that I have just free written to try to help remind myself and others, we don't have to gain ten pounds, be stressed, watch the holidays go by in a blur, get sick and so fourth. We can stay in control with planning and sticking to the plan for the most part. If we are feeling down through the holidays, reach out to someone. You might be surprised there are others feeling like you or there are others who want to help especially since they have been through sadness before through the holidays. There are many ways of getting through these times without experiencing so much pain. You have to find what works for you. Neuro therapy might be a great tool and I actually wrote an article on this blog about Neuro therapy. Finding gratitude all day long boosts our spirits and giving to others always takes the focus off ourselves. I recall one year in Redding, California on a holiday night, I had this crazy thought of driving to the store and getting two loaves of bread and four cans of tuna. I made a dozen sandwiches or more and took them downtown to the homeless. Not one person rejected my food. My heart felt so AMAZING! It was impulsive, but I figured it was a call from Jesus! The weather was terrible with rain, but I followed my heart desires. I invite you to join me this upcoming holiday season in peace , praise and joy!