For most of us, the holidays are classically the least healthy time of the year as we overindulge and put our high standards on hold when it comes to the kind of ingredients we would normally allow into our bodies. But it doesn’t have to be this way! It’s possible to experience all the beauty, magic, and delicious food the holidays have to offer without forcing your body to pay the price!
Nothing ruins the holidays quicker than coming down with a cold or flu and not being able to fully enjoy being with your loved ones. There are a number of factors that leave our immune systems more vulnerable at this time of year.
- Unhealthy eating and overeating leave our bodies focusing their energies on digestion rather than protection
- Sugar consumption impairs immune function, especially if eaten throughout the day
- The biological and mental stress of travel weaken immunity
- Last but not least, family relationships can be complex and stressful!
So let’s start off by arming our bodies with the best weaponry possible in the form of immune-enhancing adaptogenic herbs. Some of our favorites include reishi mushroom, chaga mushroom, agaricus blazei, and astragalus. These contain long-chain polysaccharides called beta-glucans which essentially give your immune system an “operating system update,” so you’ll be prepared to handle whatever comes your way. These herbs also have stress-modulating effects, so they can also help prevent the immune-exhausting effects of holiday stress. Click here to learn how to make an easy, delicious, and very powerful chaga tea!
If you do end up eating some things that you know aren’t the best for you, it can be great to take a couple of capsules of activated charcoal right away. Our favorite is the coconut charcoal from our friends at Schizandu. The charcoal can help to absorb toxins and other harmful compounds, preventing them from being absorbed and drawing them out of your system. Medical note: If you are taking drugs or other medications, do not take activated charcoal at the same time as it will interfere with their absorption.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid and has many amazing properties, including the abilities to lower blood sugar (this is a big one during the holidays!), kill harmful bacteria, burn fat, and improve heart health! You just have to add 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon to a glass of water and it can also do wonders for digestion. The taste is a little intense, but adding just a couple of drops of liquid stevia and a few ice cubes can turn it into a delicious, refreshing drink!
Holiday eating tends to center much more around lunch and dinner than breakfast, making it very easy to leverage the power of intermittent fasting during this time! If you can limit your food consumption to the window of 12PM-8PM, you’ll be able to cut into your total calorie intake, strengthen your mitochondria, protect cognitive health, and clean out damaged cells.
Healthy Holiday Foods
We’re no longer living in the ‘90s when food was either good for you or good tasting. We now live in an incredible time when we can have our cake and eat it too- if we make it the right way! For basically any traditional holiday food you can imagine, there are countless modified recipes online featuring clean healthy fats, gluten-free flours, and the best sugar-free sweeteners. If the intention is there, anything is possible and it’s a great opportunity to quietly introduce the family to healthier options that taste just as good (and quite possibly even better) than what they’re used to!
And finally, always have a bar of your favorite sugar-free chocolate nearby! That way if you’re feeling tempted to take a bite of an unhealthy treat, you can go for the chocolate to satisfy your cravings with a flavor you know you’ll love!