Health Matters.... Even During the Holidays

health

November / December 2015

By Anisha Anand

The holidays are a time of giving, a time to be surrounded by loved ones, in person and in spirit, and of course, a time of feasting and sharing food! Food doesn’t just nourish our bodies; it also feeds our soul. The connection we have to the food we eat, the preparation of that food, and even the way we consume it are all part of the nourishment process. We enjoy preparing our food together, and enjoy eating it over a table filled with laughter and love. This helps elevate meal time from a quick body recharge to a feast for the body, mind and spirit. Food and food aromas create new memories and also bring back old memories.

 

No matter how busy our holidays and lives get, it’s good to find some time to focus on staying well. Here are my top six ideas and tips to help you stay on track during this holiday season:

1. Always eat mindfully. Take the time to sit down, take the time to chew, savor and breathe, be present and enjoy your food. If you are indulging, then eat guilt-free! Feeling guilty ruins the moment and takes away from your satisfaction and digestion.

2. Meet your farmer. Consider a family shopping trip to the farmer’s market to enjoy some fresh air and pick up fresh, local, in season produce. It is more nourishing and tastes more flavorful when you cook with local, fresh produce.

3. Plan, Prep! Plan, Prep! When we are hungry, we grab what is in front of us, so why not always have some nourishing food available? Take the time, even if it is only a couple of hours every week, to prepare and stock up on some healthy snacking options. In doing so, you have some nutritious choices for when you are too hungry to prepare something.

4. Don’t scrap those scraps. Save all your vegetable scraps and any turkey or other meat bones. Simmer your way to good health with vegetable or bone broths. You can always freeze batches in glass jars for making soups or adding to vegetable and rice dishes later.

5. Think color. Consider adding different colored vegetables to every dish you cook at home. Plantbased whole foods provide a wide variety of natural chemicals called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients serve various functions in plants, such as protecting the plant’s vitality. For example, some phytonutrients protect the plant from UV radiation while others protect it from insect attack. Not only do phytonutrients award benefits to the plants, but they can also provide benefits to those who enjoy plant food.

6. Think outside the box! Holiday cooking is all about traditions and family recipes; sometimes we can make our family recipes more nutritious and nourishing. If your recipes can be improved nutritionally by swapping a few ingredients, then be creative and try something new! An example of this might be substituting regular mashed potatoes for Purple Pumpkin Seed Mashed Potatoes. In my recipe, the purple potatoes add phytonutrients or flavanoids while the pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds add an extra rich, nutty flavor layer and provides a boost of zinc, which helps with immunity. We can all use a boost to our immunity during flu season and the busy holidays.