Healthy for the Holidays

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I have 3 rules for you:

1. Eat more of the things that are good for you and less of the things that are bad.

2. Do not overindulge. Moderation is key.

3. Guilt makes everything worse. Do not worry incessantly about the chips or the piece of cheesecake. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Enjoy yourself this holiday. Have a glass of wine and one desert. Eat that cheese dip. Just don’t go off the deep end. These foods and traditions are culturally significant and missing out on them completely does not make us feel good.

More health, less junk, moderation, no guilt means you will get through the season with your body and mind in tact.

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Paleo, well usually.

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So for the past month I have been on a “Paleo Journey” For the first 19 days I attempted a Whole30 (which turned into a Whole19 due to Thanksgiving temptations). My Whole 19 consisted of: Meat (organic and grassfed when possible), vegetables, fruit, healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee etc.) and nuts. This meant ABSOLUTELY NO: added sugar, processed food, dairy, grains of any type(rice and quinoa included), hydrogenated oils, alcohol, legumes.

It was a challenging 19 days but I came out of it with SO MANY benefits:

better sleep, less cravings for bad food, more energy, no eczema, 6lbs lighter, better workouts, better focus, and lots of new recipes and cooking skills, money saved on going out to eat. The only somewhat negative things I have to say about it are:

1.Though I saved money by not drinking or going out to eat,  it is much more expensive at the grocery store. Buying more REAL FOOD is more expensive than processed food. My grocery bill went up a lot. In order to try to combat this problem I shopped wholesale at Costco and went to Trader Joe’s where things tend to be cheaper than Whole Foods.

2. It is more time consuming. I tried to do as much prep and cooking as possible on Sundays when I had time. I would throw a pan of chicken breasts and mixed vegetables in the oven while I prepped a soup or some chili. This allowed me to have things to eat for lunch and on nights when I was too tired to cook. It allowed for less temptations to grab some quick, not so healthy food, from a nearby restaurant.

3. It can be socially awkward. This is one I didn’t mind as much, but I had to turn down a lot of offered drinks and going out to eat. A lot of people thought that I was some sort of freak for attempting this journey.

Now that my Whole 19 days are behind me I have decided to stick to a mostly Paleo diet. This means that I eat things that our PALEOlithic ancestors would have eaten: meat, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats from oils, nuts, natural sugars (honey and maple syrup). So I am still staying away from grains, dairy, alcohol and processed foods for the most part. I make exceptions for date night so that I can have a beer and some greasy food with my boyfriend. Also if someone cooks something for me that contains something I usually wouldn’t eat, I will make an exception.  I also make a daily exception for Kefir in my morning smoothy.

Kefir is a fermented milk product, don’t let that scare you, it tastes better than “fermented sounds”. To me it tastes like drinkable plain greek yogurt. You can find it at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or any health food store. The reasons I make an exception for Kefir in my Paleo diet are: it is almost lactose free which makes it “almost paleo”, it has more probiotics than almost anything else you can find and so is good for gut health, which means it is good for your immune system, and contains the same vitamins and minerals as other dairy products that promote bone health.

Below you will find a great way to add Kefir into your diet: a morning smoothy.

Smoothies are easy, easy like a bagel in the toaster used to be. Throw some stuff in a blender, turn it on and voila! Here is what I tend to throw in:

Paleo protein, banana, some greens(which you can’t taste), some mixed frozen fruit (some would argue that fresh is better, which is probably true, but then I don’t have to add ice), almond butter, Kefir. If you wanted a fully Paleo smoothy you could use coconut milk instead of Kefir.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Pre-Blend

Pre-Blend

Finished Product

Finished Product