To Your Health!
7 steps to healthier --
and happier -- holidays
The holiday season is traditionally about thankfulness and the
celebration of life, unity, love, peace and harmony in the company of
family and friends.
Unfortunately, holiday celebrations and food -- usually too much food --
go hand-in-hand. Not just any food, but traditional
holiday fare rich in butter, cream and sugar -- mostly unhealthy empty
calories -- that rob you of nutrition and can make you gain more than
ten pounds in just a few weeks. Between office parties, family
gatherings and the fatty, sugary nature of holiday foods, you may find
yourself challenged by constant temptation.
But you don't have to fall victim to this annual assault on your health.
Nor do you have to deprive yourself of the enjoyment of your favorite
holiday foods. The key is to have a plan and eat with strategy.
Here are seven tips to help you both enjoy holiday food -- and stay
healthy all the while:
1. Never arrive at a
holiday get-together hungry. Before a family visit or company office
party, eat some fresh fruit, a few raw nuts, a light sandwich or a fruit
smoothie -- and drink lots of water. That way, you can enjoy the food
without wanting to gorge yourself.
2. Make exercise part of your annual holiday traditions. A
study found that regular exercise is more effective for weight
management than calorie restriction. When visiting others, think about
whether the trip could be made on foot, rather than in the car. Take the
whole family on walks through the town to see Christmas decorations, or
holiday events. Instead of sitting there watching football, why not also
play the game? Do your shopping on foot, and use stairs instead of
escalators when possible. Start a tradition of outdoor winter activity,
such as building snowmen, inner-tubing, cross country skiing -- whatever
is possible in your area. No snow? Go on family bike rides, or hiking.
Choose a healthy activity everyone enjoys, and do lots of it every year
as part of your tradition.
3. When it comes to portions, think small and healthy! Studies
show that people are satisfied with less if they start out with less on
their plates to begin with. Use the smallest plate possible, then fill
it with half of what you think you want.
4. Favor healthier options. Think about the relative healthiness
of what's on the table, and serve yourself accordingly, and the
healthiest options first. Always start with salads, fruits and
vegetables, and then move on to other richer and heartier foods. By the
time you get to the truly toxic fare, you won't want to overdo it.
5. Just say no to unhealthy gifts. Candy canes, conventional
chocolates -- don't even get me started on fruitcake -- so many
traditional holiday gifts are bad for you. What kind of gift is that?
The holidays are an opportunity for you to share with loved ones just
how delicious healthy foods can be. There are healthier, organic
alternatives to just about every holiday gift, from
baskets to traditional
cakes. The best food gift,
however, is one you've made yourself. And
if you receive an unhealthy gift, you don't have to eat it. Remember:
It's the thought that counts.
6. Don't count on dieting later. Too many of us throw our
knowledge about health -- and our resolve to stay healthy -- out the
window just because it's the holidays. Part of that tradition is making
a New Year's resolution to diet and lose the holiday pounds "next year."
Unfortunately, both the gorging and the dieting are unhealthy. It's
better not to go off the deep end in the first place. Don't use some
future diet as a reason why you can stuff yourself during the holidays.
If you know you're not going to diet later, you'll be less likely to
lose control now.
7. Drink smart. Take it easy on the booze, the sugary drinks and
fatty beverages like eggnog. Just because it's liquid doesn't mean it's
not bad for you. Drink plenty of water before and during holiday meals,
eat slowly and stop eating before you feel completely full. You’ll feel
better, lighter and happier, rather than bloated, dull and sluggish.
Happy and healthy holidays
to you all!
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WORDS OF WISDOM
"Be thankful that you don't
already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary
Because it means you've made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Processed Organic Foods
I don’t like using or eating
processed foods of any kind -- not even organic processed soy foods.
Generally, processed foods are overly refined and devoid of real
nutrients. Organic soy products are not a whole lot better for you than
their slaughterhouse equivalents.
I strongly believe that ingredients in home cooked meals should be
fresh, wholesome and “real” or “pure.” Food should be truly made “from
scratch” to maximize the nutritional content while minimizing or
eliminating unhealthful fats, additives and chemicals present in foods
sold in restaurants and supermarkets.
From a different perspective, however, diet improvements are relative to
current dietary habits and many people who currently eat diets
consisting of overly processed junk food with a heavy intake of meat can
benefit from eating some of the
better organic soy processed food alternatives.
Counter to my personal beliefs, but with the understanding that not one
diet fits all, I’ve created a recipe that calls for a processed soy
product as requested by some of my readers. The
Tofurky Italian sweet
sausage is definitely a tasty and healthier alternative to real sausage.
For those looking to ease into a transition from meat to a reduced or
cholesterol free diet, I must admit, that certain soy processed items
are a more sensible choice than other junk food alternatives. The Tofurky soy sausage for instance is made with organic soy and contains
no GMO’s, which I definitely appreciate. When the option is to eat at
McDonald’s or make a quick meal a home using organic processed soy
products, there is no contest -- the better choice is obvious.
The Color of Money
A new bank called
New Resource Bank is now open for business in the San Francisco Bay
Area where there seems to be a lot of interest in green businesses. The
bank’s shareholders “believe that economic prosperity goes hand-in-hand
with efficiency and sustainability.” The bank’s focus is to support
businesses that operate with a sense of stewardship for the environment
promoting sustainable practices. New Resource Bank is also leading by
example with its own office building using recycled and renewable
materials and low-energy consumption lighting.
GOOD THINGS IN STORE
Making the World a
Meet Scott Nash, the owner
My Organic Market (MOM's) grocery stores on the East Coast. His
stores focus on not only selling high-quality organic products but
helping the environment in
For example, Nash's stores
provide incentives to employees who want to be environmentally
conscious. Eligible employees can receive $3,000 if they buy a hybrid
vehicle that gets 45 miles per gallon or more. His customers can receive
free re-usable shopping bags. Twice a year, customers get their car tire
air pressure optimized while they shop, which promotes better gas
mileage. Nash’s goal is open stores nationally, and I certainly look
forward to becoming his customer someday.
study conducted by the Oregon State University, physically active
athletes who don't get sufficient B-vitamins may be underperforming
during intense physical activities and not effectively healing
B-vitamins include niacin, folic acid, biotin, thiamin, riboflavin,
vitamin B-6, B-12 and are essential in the conversion of proteins and
carbohydrates into fuel or energy. B-vitamins are also vital for the
body's ability to produce and repair cells as well as build the immunity
system to prevent and fend off against disease. The researchers add that
current recommended daily allowances of B-vitamins may not be adequate
for highly active athletes.
Foods rich in B-vitamins include:
• Dark green vegetables
• Leafy green vegetables
• Nuts and seeds
• Whole grains such wheat, oats, quinoa, spelt
• Beans and peas
• Citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins, lemons
• Dairy products
• Poultry, seafood, meat and eggs
To keep up with vegetarian, organic and health-related research
news on a daily basis, check out my
Vegetarian Organic Life
VEGETARIAN ORGANIC RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Quick and Yummy Tofu
(vegan) Serves 4 to 6
Click on the picture for a closer look!
Although I’m not fond of
processed soy products such as the
Italian Sausage, many people do enjoy them as a healthier
alternative to the real thing. By popular demand, here's a high protein
dish featuring an Italian style soy sausage with tempeh and baked tofu.
This savory dish will fully satisfy those who crave meals that are
hearty and flavorful but cholesterol free.
Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon safflower or canola oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onions
6 fresh garlic cloves, pressed or minced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 cups tempeh, finely crumbled (3-grain variety)
2 cups baked tofu, cubed (savory flavor)
2 cups Tofurky sweet Italian sausages, diced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (or dried basil)
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large pan, heat safflower or canola oil and olive over low heat.
Add onions and garlic sautéing for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add
celery and red bell peppers sautéing for 5 more minutes.
2. Add tempeh, tofu, Tofurky sausage, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano
and red pepper flakes stirring well and continuing to sauté for 10 more
minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
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This newsletter is not intended to provide and replace medical advice. The author and editor expressly disclaim all responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from any information, diet or exercise suggestions. It is imperative that the advice of a physician is sought before any diet or exercise programs are adopted.
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Copyright© 2003 - 2009 Amira Elgan. All Rights Reserved.