Gifts of Clean Living: 2 of the Best Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday!
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Avena
It’s the Season of Giving!
One of the best things you can do, for yourself and your family, is to give the gifts of clean living this holiday season.
What Are the Gifts of Clean Living?
When you hear the term “clean living,” you probably think of healthy lifestyle measures such as eating a healthy diet (with plenty of whole foods), remaining well hydrated, getting quality sleep, maintaining a regular exercise regimen, and taking high-quality supplements.
While those are excellent examples of how to live healthy year-round, there are other things to consider during the holiday season, including not overstressing, not overeating, and not overspending on gifts, travel, or the holiday meal.
Though there are many things to be mindful of during the holidays, here are two common challenges to clean living practices and practical tips for how to deal with them.
2 Gifts of Clean Living: How to Avoid Sugar and Alcohol During the Holidays
Gift of Clean Living #1: Avoid Sugar
There’s mounting evidence that sugar is toxic. Excessive sugar intake, which is linked to insulin imbalance, heart problems, and other organ issues, plays a role in35 million deaths a year globally.
Sugar increases the release of dopamine in the brain, which can cause mood to fluctuate. Low blood sugar levels are associated with overall lower brain activity, which means more cravings and bad decisions, like reaching for a sugary snack or soda.
If you find it difficult to resist holiday treats, be sure to steer clear of the dessert table.
Here are 3 ways to reduce or remove sugar from your holidays…
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
When your blood sugar drops, the blood flow to your brain decreases. This means you’re more prone to making bad decisions because you don’t have full access to your brain function.
So how do you keep your blood sugar balanced?
- Eat smaller, healthy meals throughout the day.
- Make sure to start your day with breakfast – skipping it only makes you more likely to make poor choices later in the day.
- Stay away from simple sugars and refined, processed foods because they can cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop.
One of the best ways to regulate your blood sugar is to eat a healthy snack every 3 to 4 hours. Natural snacks – like whole fruits, seeds, and nuts – are portable and are ideal for fending off hunger between meals.
Fill Up First
Rich, sweet, and salty foods are hard to resist, especially when you’re hungry. Before attending a family gathering or holiday party where you know unhealthy foods will be served, eat a low carb and high protein meal first. That way, you won’t feel hungry and will be less likely to eat unhealthy foods, especially desserts and beverages that are loaded with sugar.
Curb Your Sweet Tooth
If you struggle with a sweet tooth during the holidays (or throughout the year), be sure to choose foods that won’t cause your blood sugar to spike, such as:
- Mashed or baked sweet potatoes
- Healthy smoothie
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- Sliced pear with almond butter
- A square or two of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) w/almonds
Also, be sure to read labels to identify which products are no sugar added, reduced sugar, or sugar-free, and to determine if a product contains hidden sugars.
Gift of Clean Living #2: Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can be a triple whammy: alcoholic drinks are often high in calories, bad for the health of your brain, and can decrease your resistance to temptations. You’ll need all your willpower to resist the cheese dip and delicious desserts, so staying sober is the best policy during the holidays.
Here are 3 ways to reduce or remove alcohol from your holidays…
Hydrate, Don’t Inebriate
Drinking water is key not only to brain function but to whole-body health. Every system in the body needs adequate hydration to function properly. Water helps to cleanse the body and remove toxins, including germs.
Also, be mindful of your alcohol consumption during the holidays. A good strategy is to be prepared with a healthy alternative before you’re tempted to drink. If you’re invited to a meal or party where you know alcohol will be served, consider bringing your own non-alcoholic beverage. This will help ensure that you don’t drink, or drink too much, at the gathering.
Serve Healthy Mocktails
Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a drink (or three) without the hangover? Well, you can!
Mocktails, and other non-alcoholic beverages, are all the rage right now and are consumed by drinkers and non-drinkers alike.
If you’re hosting a party, serve a selection of non-alcoholic mocktails. But be sure they aren’t full of sugary juices or syrups. Here are some delicious and refreshing non-alcoholic drink recipes.
Just Say No
Get into the habit of declining alcohol when it’s offered to you. If you find it difficult to turn down a drink in social situations, ask a friend to back you up. If you both agree not to indulge and hold each other accountable, it will help you stick to your plan of drinking in moderation, or not at all, during holiday gatherings.
Help make this the most wonderful time of the year by giving the gifts of clean living to yourself and your family.
Since excessive sugar consumption is linked to many potential health problems, it’s recommended to reduce or eliminate it from your diet this holiday season. Also, drinking alcohol can be a serious problem during the festive season and should be avoided or replaced with healthier beverages.
Applying the above tips can help prevent sugar and alcohol from ruining your holiday.
The BrainMD Team wishes you and yours a safe, healthy, and happy Holiday Season!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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