‘Tis the season to be healthy!
Hey CrossFit West Houston, it’s me, Steph your Nutrition and Wellness Coach at CFWH here!
Well, Halloween wrapped up a little bit ago and if you’re like most Americans you had your fair share of Halloween tricks and treats. Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away followed by Christmas—both of which feature feasting and loads of stress1 at their finest! Then we have New Year’s—the time for midnight kisses, sparkles, and resolutions to be this or do that. I wanted to kick off this blogging gig with a little bit of science and a few easy tips on how to stay healthy and well through the holidays.
Tips for the season:
- Keep your blood sugar and inflammation balanced. Avoid the trans-fat laden baked goods from conventional bakeries along with artificially sweetened products or foods known to cause inflammation in your body (this may be dairy, grains—gluten and non-gluten, soy, etc). Eat at least ½ a plate of brightly colored (hopefully organic or local) vegetables, with at least a palm-sized portion of quality protein, topped off with some healthy fat. This can also be given a small side of berries, starchy tubers, or a high fiber coconut flour treat—it is the holidays after all, right?
- Remain adequately hydrated. Water is vitally important to health. All systems are influenced by dehydration, resulting in reduced energy production and alteration in the function of every organ. Without adequate water intake one can experience muscle cramps, sore muscles, reduced mental clarity, constipation and fatigue (just to name a few).2
- Don’t sweat the small stuff(ing). Stress brings everyone down and can leave you feeling tired but wired. It has been well studied that chronic stress can damage the brain due to the elevated cortisol levels.3 Follow Mark’s advice on rethinking stress.
- Primal digestion is important.4 Chew each bite (yes, bites not mouthfuls) long and slow. Try to count to 20 or 30 with each bite. Enjoy your meals with loved ones over conversation instead of the T.V. After you finish your first well rounded plate take a break before getting a second plate because it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full.
- Supplement as needed. Remember that supplements are there to help supplement what you might not get from diet; these are not meant to replace poor eating.
- Vitamin C supports the immune system and helps us deal with stress better
- Garlic boosts the immune system. Cook with it or take is as a supplement.
- Probiotics help ensure our gut is functioning well, help keep us well during flu season, and these good “bugs” help to make some important nutrients through fermentation. If you want to get these “bugs” through diet, then eating fermented foods like Bubbie’s sauerkraut or drinking kombucha—Jamison household favorites—can be done regularly.
- Vitamin D; 5,000 IU/day is recommended by the Vitamin D Council5. It is best to get your levels tested to see what adequate supplementation means for your personal needs.
- Magnesium glycinate or malate as those are the gentlest on the GI tract and easiest forms for most people to absorb6
- Omega 3s have an anti-inflammatory effect and support cognitive function. Fermented cod liver oil, Pure Pharma A3, or other reputable source of omega 3s; or you could always eat some extra fish, too.
- B-complex helps with stress and energy—both are support important during this season. Be sure if you’re taking a B-complex that the B12 is in the form of methylcobalamin. Studies7 show that form of B12 is more easily absorbed.
- Stress reducing herbs include ashwagandha, rhodiola, St. John’s wart, schisandra, and many more. One of my favorite products is Gaia’s Adrenal Health or Stress Response formula!
- Take care of your body. Come over toCrossFit West Houston for some great WODs. Check out CFWH’s daily post November 25th to January 14th for some WODs on-the-go if you’re traveling. Don’t forget to incorporate relaxing and balancing activities like yoga and meditation. Here’s a great, free website that features guided meditations that last 5-10 minutes. Find an hour to have some “you” time at the spa with a pedicure or get some body work done.
- Get plenty of sleep. It is important to make sleep a priority.
So, what do you all think? What tips do you have to share with our family? Enjoy your holiday season! Stay well and I’ll see you at the box!
- Kresser, C. RHR: Chronic stress, cortisol resistance, and modern disease [Internet]. 2012 April 11 [cited 2013 Oct 29]. Available from: https://chriskresser.com/rhr-chronic-stress-cortisol-resistance-and-modern-disease
- Jones, DS, editor. Textbook of functional medicine. Federal Way, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine; 2010. 128 p.
- Godl SM, Dziobek I, Rogers K, et al. Hypertension and HPA axis hyperactivity affect frontal lobe integrity. J Clin Endrocrinol Meta. 2005; March 22, 2005. [Cited 2013 Oct 29]. Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Hypertension+and+HPA+axis+hyperactivity+affect+frontal+lobe+integrity
- Jones, DS, editor. Textbook of functional medicine. Federal Way, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine; 2010. 376 p.
- How do I get the vitamin D my body needs? [Internet]. San Luis Obispo (CA): Vitamin D Council; [cited 2013 Nov 1]. Available from: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/.
- Sanfillipo, D. Practical paleo: a customized approach to health and a whole-foods lifestyle. United States: Victory Belt Publishing Inc; 2012. 179 p.
- Knox, K. The right kind of vitamin B12 is vital for treating deficiency [Internet]. Natural News; 2009 Sept 17 [cited 2013 Nov 2]. Available from: https://www.naturalnews.com/027045_vitamin_B12_cyanocobalamin_methylcobalamin.html