Welcome to the first week of A Gluten-Free Holiday! Over the course of the next six weeks, I along with a handful of other gluten-free bloggers will be sharing tips, recipes, and more to help you celebrate your best gluten-free holiday season ever.
Each week, we invite you to join us and link up your favorite holiday recipes fitting with the theme of that week. (For the complete schedule of weekly themes, click here.)
To kick off our celebration this week, Amy at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free is hosting the link-up and sharing her tips for healthy holiday baking. Head on over here to read her post, link up your recipes, and enter to win a copy of her fabulous cookbook.
To me, the holidays are all about family, good food, and taking a breather from everyday life to pause and reflect on the abundant blessings of the season. Part of living a pure lifestyle (read more about what that looks like in my book) is balancing occasional indulgences with overall healthy choices.
Here are five simple ways you can strike the perfect balance in your own holiday celebrations.
- Lighten up. First things first, the holidays are a time for joy, laughter, and good-natured fun! If that means deviating from your normal eating habits a handful of times, don’t stress about it. It happens. If you stick with a generally nutritious diet 85-90% of the time, you’ll leave a little wiggle room for splurges that won’t pack on the pounds or plague you with guilt.
- Plan ahead. I wrote an entire section in my book on planning, simply because I believe it’s so vital to healthy living! Pack healthy snacks for traveling (like apple chips, spiced pecans, or veggies with hummus) and always bring a healthy dish to pass at gatherings so that you at least have something to eat, even if everything else is sugar-coated and cooked to limp.
- Don’t skimp on sleep or water. Anytime we eat extra sweets, sodium, or calories in general, it puts more stress on the our livers, adrenals, and other organs as the body works harder to keep up with the increased “toxic load.” A few too many candy canes or chocolate truffles depress (weaken) our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness and fatigue. To help our bodies out a bit during this physically stressful time, we can do two crucial things: get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of water. Sleep offers vital repair time while fluids flush out toxins.
- Increase your vegetable consumption. Eat way more veggies than you think you “need.” Vegetables have an alkalizing effect on the body, which helps to balance out the acidic effects of too many sweets, alcoholic beverages, or carbohydrates. Filling up on veggies before other calorie-laden dishes also packs in more fiber, which will keep things…well, “moving along” shall we say, despite a few slip-ups now then.
- Find time for you. Around the holidays, we often become so others-focused (gifts to buy! parties to host! stockings to stuff! in-laws to impress!) that we lose touch with ourselves and our spirits. Take time throughout the season to enjoy a few solo minutes of peace and quiet, yoga, reading, or something else that can help take your stimulation level down a notch and reconnect you with what really matters in life.