Keep the turkey, pitch the rest!

Leftovers can be a daunting topic. When I was younger I felt like I needed to eat all of my leftovers in order to not be wasteful. That didn’t change until someone told me this: Those leftovers may actually be just as wasteful in your body as they are in the trash. You might want it, but you don’t need those extra helpings of rich, holiday food. It’s holiday food because it’s meant to be enjoyed on the holiday, as a special occasion. Your body is craving nutrients right now more than ever.

Keep the turkey. Throw away the potatoes, throw away the stuffing, throw away the congealed casseroles. Instead, load up on greens, protein, and healthy fat. Here’s a great place to start. Bone broth is a key player in healing many different parts of your body.

Joints: Bone broth is first a foremost known for it’s high gelatin and collagen content. As we age, cartilage diminishes as it gets attacked by antibodies (age-related degradation of joint cartilage). As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and becomes ready to absorb and help restore cartilage. Gelatin also provides us with building blocks that are needed to form and maintain strong bones, helping take pressure off of aging joints and supporting healthy bone mineral density.

Gut: Studies also show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy), helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.

Skin: Collagen helps form elastin and other compounds within skin that are responsible for maintaining skin’s youthful tone, texture and appearance. This collagen, exactly what is found in bone broth, has been accredited with helping reduce the visible signs of wrinkles, decreasing puffiness and fighting various other signs of aging such as skin moisture and evaporation.

Immunity: Bone broth is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and therefore support immune system function and healthy inflammation response. Collagen/gelatin and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine help seal openings in the gut lining made by a “Leaky Gut”and support gut integrity. Traditionally-made bone broths are believed to support healthy inflammatory response and normal immune system function. Bone broth can even promote healthy sleep, boost energy during the day and support a healthy mood.

Get Moving!

A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season: Part 4

The holidays are a whirlwind of busyness. It’s already a challenge to make time for exercise, and then add in family, food/alcohol, shopping, and travel? It’s nearly impossible, unless we make time for it when we would otherwise be on the couch, watching TV, or on our phones. It’s all about making movement a priority. 

Here’s my challenge for you: After every main meal, get outside and walk briskly for 15-20 minutes. Walking after eating has proven to be an incredible way to improve blood flow, bowel motility and heartburn, blood sugar levels, metabolism, quality of sleep, and not to mention the cold provides a positive external stressor, ultimately strengthening the function of the body.

Need more motivation? Make this a family event! Getting everyone out of the house for a quick walk will not only make them less likely to fall into the classic “food coma”, but it will also allow for more quality time with the ones you love, without having to talk over a TV or a texting teenager. Bring the dog or a football, find a nearby trail, bring a thermos of hot cider. In short: make it fun, not a chore!

***Looking for more of a challenge? Every time you see a bench or a squirrel or whatever item you choose, do 10 air squats (just like the chair squats in our previous post). 

Focus on Fat

A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season: Part 3

With the tendency to overindulge this season, something to keep those cravings at bay is an increase of protein and fat. First of all, fat is not a bad word! With the low-fat diet trends fading away, people are beginning to see that an increase of fats in your diet will not lead to weight gain. Now, this is not referring to fats from vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn oil, and soybean oil or processed food products, fried foods, and sugary baked goods made with vegetable oils.

Instead, increasing Omega-3 fats such as nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds), fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines), avocado, grass-fed beef, and plant-based oils (flaxseed oil and olive oil) will actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3 fats have been found to reduce inflammation in the body and lower blood pressure.

You may have heard of the term “fat for fuel”. It’s a process the body utilizes when the diet isn’t overloaded with an excess of sugar and grains. To optimize your mitochondrial function through diet, you need to eat so that your body is able to burn fat as its primary fuel rather than sugars. Ketogenic diets are very effective for this, as is fasting. When you give your body less carbs and sugars, it will seek out that energy from fats. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates ketones that burn fat more efficiently than carbs.

To increase fat consumption, try incorporating “fat bombs” into your diet. Instead of taking a cheat day and ruining your low-carb goals, opt for a fat bomb instead. Fat bombs are the ultimate, guilt-free, energy boosting, and healthy keto snack. They are the perfect way to curb your cravings and satisfy your hunger. They’re quick, easy and perfect for on-the-go. Check these out!

Quick tips to stay full:  Incorporate protein and fat into every meal. Who says you can’t have turkey for breakfast? Have some hard/soft-boiled eggs prepped in the fridge for those “hangry” moments when you need a fast source of protein. Put avocado on everything. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and before every meal.

Holiday Carb Substitutions

A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season: Part 2

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for most. Friendsgivings, work potlucks, ugly Christmas sweater parties, and all of the other events leading up to the big days celebrated with beloved family and friends. As we’re preparing for all of the fun-filled activities, it’s easy to sabotage our health goals by indulging in all of the intriguing goodies the season has to offer. Not only can this add on a couple of unwanted pounds by the time the new year rings in, but it can also bring our energy levels and motivation down. It’s true, we’re going to face some delicious temptations in the upcoming weeks. Let’s prepare our bodies in a few simple ways. We can start by reducing carbohydrate intake and incorporating more protein and healthy fats (check out our next blog article for the protein and healthy fats tips!).

Rather than doing too much too fast, let’s start with taking something out. Cutting carbs is one of the most popular and effective ways we have found to transform our bodies. I know it seems impossible but I promise, it’s easier than it sounds. I don’t want to talk about starting a whole new diet during the holiday season (that would be madness). However, there are small adjustments we can make to our eating habits which will allow us to maintain our weight and keep our energy levels at bay.

Bread, pasta, sugary drinks (soda, fruit juice, cappuccinos, etc.), and sweet snacks such as candy and cookies are all examples of carbs we should avoid. Try some of these substitutions for some of your favorite snacks or meals. Maybe you could even try making this low carb recipe for one of your holiday parties!

  • Instead of bread for hamburgers and subs, try a lettuce wrap or make a bowl
  • Instead of pasta with your tomato sauce, try spaghetti squash or zoodles
  • Instead of soda pop, try club soda with a lime/lemon or flavored sparkling water
  • Instead of a cappuccino, try a coffee with a splash of coconut milk and cinnamon
  • Instead of instant rice with your stir fry, try a bag of frozen cauliflower rice
  • Instead of candy/cookies, try a piece of dark chocolate or dried fruit

 

Setting Yourself Up For Success: A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season

We all know the realities of January 2nd. Everyone makes a mad dash to the gym or jumps into the latest fad diet in an attempt to reverse the month(s) of indulgence. Here’s the thing: you can still enjoy the holidays without losing sight of your goals. Set yourself up for success this year and make this holiday season your healthiest yet!  With a few simple steps you can come through the next few weeks not only looking your best, but also with more energy and vitality. It all starts with movement and nutrition. November is the new January, so let’s get started!

Do you have a cubicle or office? Do you sit at your desk for long periods of time? Do you find yourself reaching for coffee or sugar at various times during the day? Include these three activities for 10 minutes during a busy work day or when you wake up in the morning and see results. You may not see a change right away in the mirror or on the scale – but you will notice those “non-scale victories”: more energy, less 3 PM slumps, more mobility and strength, and even less cravings!

The goal is to do these three, big-muscle, calorie burning movements 3-5 days per week. You will not only burn calories while performing the movements, but also after. The so-called “afterburn effect” is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply, EPOC. Essentially, the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward.

 

  • The Chair Squat

Stand in front of a chair or bench. Push hips back as if you are going to sit down on the chair while keeping head and chest position straight up. Tap butt on chair and stand back up,pushing through your heels and driving the top of your head to the ceiling, then squeezing glutes at the top. Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds.

  • The Push-up

Start in neutral high plank position, with arms straight, hands under shoulders, and a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Keep elbows tight to sides of body as you lower yourself down and push yourself back up to high plank position. Keep core locked and glutes contracted. Keep neck relaxed and head position neutral, no drooping the belly! Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds. ***Modification: Raise your hands to a bench or wall and complete reps as normal. 

  • The Plank

Lie face down with your forearms straight out on the floor and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor — your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet. Lock your core  and tighten your buttocks. Look at the floor to keep your head in neutral position and breathe normally. Hold for 30 seconds, lower yourself to the floor and rest. Complete 3 rounds. ***Modification: Drop knees to floor and complete plank as normal.