How To Live The Holidays To The Fullest?
5 tips that you can use to mitigate any negative effects and consequences and enjoy the holidays to the fullest and without a guilty conscience.
Holidays are around the corner and they will bring a lot of food, parties, and alcohol.
On the one hand we all can’t wait for them, but excessive food and increased consumption of alcoholic beverages can also bring some feelings of malaise and feelings of guilt.
In this article, I’ll share 5 tips on how to eat and drink, what supplements to take, how to have fun during the holidays, and how to spend them presently.
We all know that feeling of inflammation, tiredness, heaviness, and slowness in our body after the holidays. Lots of food, fatty and heavier meals, desserts, holiday specialities and alcohol — all these things together can be a big strain and stress for our body, digestion, and immune system which is located in our digestive tract.
Some also experience feelings of guilt and a bad conscience that they “ate poorly”, that they fell out of the diet, that they ate too much, and that they lost control.
For me, one of the biggest stressors and causes for feeling burnt out, are food, food intolerances and digestion. So I have to pay extra attention to what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, and the quantity of the food that I’m eating during the holiday seasons if I want to prevent this from occurring.
But the good news is that we can enjoy the holidays, and indulge in holiday meals, food and drinks while alleviating any possible negative symptoms with a few simple steps.
1. Determinate your eating strategy
If we just surrender, let go of control completely and say to ourselves “I’ll eat as I’ll feel like it”, there is a high probability that it will take us over the edge and we’ll be sorry later. That’s why it’s good to go on holiday feasts with a framework, a goal and strategy in mind.
If we set at least fleeting frames of how we’ll eat and what we’ll eat, we’ll have fewer internal struggles, negotiations, and desires, and we’ll be much less likely to overeat.
You can set an eating strategy by answering the following questions:
Can I eat everything or will I stick to my usual diet? When and how much can I “cheat”? Can I cheat a little bit every day, or will I have a bigger cheat on Christmas Eve? Maybe have a bigger cheat on Christmas Eve and for Christmas breakfast or lunch? And then another cheat on New Year’s Eve? How will I eat before and after the holiday cheats?
In addition to what and how much we’ll eat, it’s also beneficial to follow a few more general rules on how to eat during the big holiday meals. These include:
1. Choose protein-rich foods
Protein is the most satisfying macronutrient. By choosing high-protein foods, we’ll be full sooner and we’ll end up eating less in quantity and calorically.
Your main part of meals should be protein-rich foods — meat, fish, eggs, cheese, salami, dairy products, legumes, nuts and seeds, … — somewhere ¼ to ½ plate, and the rest should be carbohydrates, vegetables, fats and some desserts.
2. Do not mix fatty foods and foods high in sugar
When the body suddenly gets a high amount of fats and sugars at the same time, it will prioritize the consumption of sugars, and will store the fat in its stores — in the fat stores in our body.
So if you have for Christmas dinner e.g. greasy ribs with potatoes, do not drink a lot of sweet drinks and or lots of holiday pastries and desserts.
That takes us to the next point…
3. Substitute sugar where you can
Where you can, replace products that are high in sugar — e.g. sugary drinks, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, and sweets… — with products that contain sweeteners. EG: For baking, you can replace plain white sugar with calorie-free natural sweeteners — e.g. erythritol, stevia, or monk fruit.
With these replacements, you’lll greatly reduce your calorie intake and at the same time you will not give up the sweet taste.
4. Include periods of fasting
Large holiday meals and large amounts of food can be a big strain and stress for our body. A shorter fast (“Intermittent Fasting”) or a longer fast before the holiday meals will help the body to digest and use the food we’ll eat better; a shorter or longer fast after the holiday meals will give the body time and opportunity to digest all the food, remove toxins and things from the body that don’t suit us.
You can do a shorter fast on December 24th by skipping breakfast and having a smaller meal a few hours before Christmas dinner. On Christmas Day, you can skip either breakfast or lunch (depending on your Christmas traditions) and give your body some extra time to digest the food you ate. You can then repeat the same on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
1. Limit yourself to one type of alcohol
Although mixing different alcoholic beverages alone does not cause much harm, it can be a common reason that we simply end up drinking too much.
So choose one type of alcoholic beverage, stick to it and drink just that.
2. Every other glass should be water
Alcohol is a powerful dehydrator, therefore try to drink one glass of water after each unit of alcohol. This will help you hydrate your body, limit the negative effects of alcohol and alleviate the hangover the next day.
3. Add salt
We can also prevent dehydration with salt. Salt will supply the body with minerals and prevent dehydration that could occur due to alcohol consumption: when we drink, important minerals leave our body — especially sodium, which is found in salt — which are necessary for optimal functioning.
1. Betaine HCl and Digestive enzymes
Heartburn is a common problem that occurs during the holiday season. Large amounts of food, fatty foods, sugar and alcohol — all this can cause a burning sensation in the stomach and esophagus.
However, despite the common belief that heartburn is caused by excess stomach acid — and therefore we are advised to take medications to reduce it — it’s often the opposite: when there’s not enough stomach acid, the valve between the stomach and esophagus remains open, stomach acid leaks back into the esophagus, which causes heartburn and a burning sensation.
Betaine HCl supplement will take care of the proper acidity of the stomach, and the production of additional stomach acid, and thus help with the digestion of food and eliminate the problems of heartburn, bloating, and burning sensation.
It could also be very beneficial to use some digestive enzymes with meals, which will give the body additional digestive enzymes that will help digest food more easily and better and prevent possible negative problems.
Usage: Betaine HCl: 1–4 capsules before and during meals; Digestive enzymes: 1 capsule before meals.
Suppose you want a natural alternative to the supplement: In that case, you can use apple cider vinegar: the acidity of the vinegar will provide additional stomach acid and have a beneficial effect on food digestion.
2. Chromium and Copper
Chromium and copper are important essential minerals that are often not consumed enough. Copper supports the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant, chromium helps regulate blood sugar, which can be very unbalanced during the holiday season due to a lot of sugary foods. “All over the place”.
Usage: 3mg of copper and 25–35mcg of chromium per day
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in our body, but most people are deficient in it. Magnesium supplementation will help to hydrate the body and improve the digestion of food.
Usage: 300–500mg of good form of magnesium — magnesium citrate, malate, chelate, threonate, lysine, glycinate — daily.
The amino acid l-carnitine is responsible for transporting fatty acids — that are released from ingested food or our own fat stores — from the bloodstream into cellular mitochondria, where they are used for energy.
During the holidays, l-carnitine will help the body use the excess energy for energy and not store it in our body’s stores.
Usage: When using l-carnitine, it’s important to use a large enough dose : the optimal daily intake is between 2 and 3 grams.
5. N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC is a precursor to glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body, which participates in the immune, antioxidant, and detoxification processes in the body.
NAC will support the body to support itself and cope with the additional stress posed by holiday food. At the same time, N-Acetyl Cysteine also helps cleanse and restore the liver, which is under attack during the holidays due to large amounts of fatty foods, sugar, and alcohol.
Usage: 500 mg N-Acetyl Cysteine once to twice a day
1. Choose the parties to go to
There is no need to attend every party you are invited to. Choose a handful of the best ones and skip the “bad” ones.
2. Don’t go to a party hungry!
You know how it goes: “I won’t have breakfast and lunch because I’m going to a party dinner in the evening…” This will only cause you to eat everything you can get your hands on in the evening and probably overeat.
Have a normal eating day and go to the party at least partially full: you will end up eating less junk food.
5. Live the holidays “presently”
Most of us know how quickly we can get lost in our minds and our heads, but at the same time, we forget how quickly we can change our mood and be present in the moment and be grateful for it.
The Christmas and New Year holidays are the ideal opportunity to try to spend them in the most beautiful way possible.
Below I have gathered some tips on how you can calm down and experience the present moment in the best way.
1. Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness will help you to be in the present moment and feel it.
Better awareness of the present moment can be achieved through relaxing breathing exercises, observing things happening around us, gratitude, mindfulness and meditation practices, etc, …
Gratitude is a very powerful tool that helps us to be aware and present in the moment and really feel it. Express to yourself out loud or write down on a piece of paper, the things you are grateful for at the moment and really feel them.
You can take things to the next level and express your gratitude to others: tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and how grateful you are for them.
3. Remove distractions and turn off social media and news
In everyday life, we are exposed to a huge amount of stimuli and information that create distress and malaise in us.
Try to get away from the news and social media during the holidays, and feel the peace and well-being that the “media fast” brings.
At this point, I wish you a Merry Christmas! May your holidays be filled with peace, joy, love, laughter, and bliss.
Excellent thoughts and many helpful reminders here. Daylight makes a natural eating window, and I love the reminder to focus on the protein. The body actually can’t process carbohydrates nearly as well after dark, so keeping alcohol and sweets to the daytime is a very biologically sound strategy.
All sound advice. Every other glass should be a glass of water is a great one as well as not turning up to a party hungry. These will help you stay the course and ensure you minimise the hang over.
Above all, enjoy the time and look forward to running off the turkey in the new year!