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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Holiday Tips for People with Food Restrictions

Dec 01, 2019 03:50PM ● By Jean Read
Those of us who follow a restricted diet due to food sensitivities or a new eating protocol (keto, paleo, gluten-free) often find the holidays to be a particular challenge, as we are invited to holiday parties and work events where the food and beverages are frequently full of dairy, gluten, sugar and alcohol. We know that these foods cause an elevation of inflammation to the body, and while some handle it better than others, one night of indulgence can wreak havoc on our digestion, sleep, mental clarity, energy and mood over the next one to three days.
   
There is an easier way to socialize and enjoy the festivities without putting our body through the above-mentioned symptoms and increased pain. Here are five tips to make it a smoother transition and keep our bodies feeling optimal.
   
Always carry food when leaving the house. This will provide a healthy snack or food option when away from the house. Eat this snack item to help curve the cravings until returning home.
   
Eat a full meal at home before attending a holiday event. Arriving with a full stomach will decrease chances of indulgence in any “forbidden foods”. Also, take along a delicious approved dish to enjoy and share with others. This just might pique their interest in changing some of their dietary choices.
   
If there is a food or beverage item that just can’t be resisted, take a small serving (one to two bites). Eat it very slowly and indulge in the flavors and textures fully. Studies show that after three to four bites of a food, we really quit tasting it and are just shoveling it in while cleaning our plate. Often, we may find that the food doesn’t taste quite as good as we remembered because taste buds have changed.
   
Try Intermittent Fasting (IF) for the next month. Eat only during a six- or eight-hour window each day and only drink coffee, tea or water outside of that time frame. This allows the body to spend time cleaning, repairing and restoring health during the fasting time, instead of using energy to digest food over 12 hours a day. Studies of IF show improved blood sugar levels, reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and more when IF is incorporated daily for six months or more.
   
This has also shown to assist with weight loss. More favorable results are achieved when limiting dairy, wheat, sugar and alcohol consumption during the eating time frame. Increase intake of avocados, coconut milk and oil, and pour on the olive oil to vegetables and salads instead. This gives the body a great source of fuel that will keep the mind clear and energy levels even.
   
If there is an extra few pounds on the scale in the morning after overindulging, try a full day of fasting. Drinking keto coffee provides healthy fats to keep energy up during the morning. Have a small meal at lunch loaded with medium chain triglycerides (coconut oil and milk, avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil) and a keto coffee at the end of the work day. Medium chain triglycerides don’t store as fat in the body and provide an excellent energy source to the brain and mitochondria. The extra fasting time allows the body to clean the inflammatory foods and inflammation from the body.
   
During the day, we should drink half our body weight in ounces of water. So, someone weighing 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of water minimum. This keeps us hydrated and assists the kidneys with flushing out the system.
  
Trying one or more of the above tips can help us stay committed to our health and well-being, making it easier to get through the holidays without cheating. Enjoy the holidays with a stomach full of foods that support the body’s health and continued journey to well-being.

Jean Read is a physical therapist of 30 years who has studied functional nutrition and is the only AZ health practitioner certified with the Wahls Protocol for MS, neurological and autoimmunity symptoms. Read enjoys coaching others in lifestyle changes to improve quality of life, and she provides private restorative therapies of various skills and strategies. Connect at 956-566-5443. See ad, page 19.

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