Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Healthy Holiday's Guidelines


  1. Healthy Swaps for classic meals:

    • Greek yogurt or avocadoes instead of sour cream

    • Cauliflower mash added to potato or sweet potato

    • Grilled or baked fruit instead of pies

    • Instead of a casserole, just sauté the veggie (green bean casserole vs sautéed green bean)

    • Healthier dips such as hummus and tzatziki instead of cheese balls and French onion dip

    • More Crudité, than charcuterie 

    • Bake not fry

    • Use olive oil, avocado oil instead of vegetable oil

    • Always fresh or frozen never canned or boxed

    • Swap out bread rolls for homemade whole grain bread rolls

    • Cider instead of eggnog

    • Don’t add salt, use other spices/herbs

    • Chocolate covered, dusted, etc. nuts instead of candy or cookies

    • Shrimp cocktail instead of fried apps

  2. Portion Control: hand gestures

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  1. Tips and tricks

    • Make your plate colorful

    • Choose clear liquids (Think water, vodka, gin, rum, club soda, seltzer water, tonic water)

    • Don’t skip meals; don’t go to a party with an empty stomach

    • Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed

    • Eat slowly

    • No feeling of guilt allowed!

    • Wait 10 minutes before going up for seconds this gives your GI tract time to alert your brain of hunger/satiety cues

    • Avoid anything that says diet/low fat/etc. because something else was put in their to make it that way (normally not good things)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

How to Survive the Holiday Season

We are well into the holiday season, but you may be finding the closer we get to another big holiday the more concerns you have about your health and wellness. How do I stay on top of my fitness? How do I eat without feeling guilt? How do I keep myself emotionally sane? All of these and more are valid questions running through your head. One of the best things you can do is to plan for both the expected and the unexpected. Let’s look at the first question involving fitness. This is something you have control over and you can plan in advance. Make sure you are signed up for classes (and don’t cancel them), fit in an at home workout using our content library, a live class, or pull up one of our short Youtube videos if you only have 10 minutes. Make movement a priority in your schedule. Having movement can also help with your mental health as we all know that exercise is tied positively to better mental health. Instead of releasing your frustrations on your family members, release them on the boxing bag! Eating can be difficult for some depending on your relationship with food and your relationship with yourself. Remember that no food is good or bad, you don’t earn it, and 1 day out of 365 days is not going to ruin anything for you. Make sure you enjoy it! Keep in mind the following basics: make sure you are stopping when you no longer feel a hunger cue (and if you are feel free to grab more!), fill up on protein and fiber first before diving into your carbs (both pasta, bread, and desserts), and make sure your plate is complete having protein, fat, carb, fiber, and fresh! Don’t demonize food. Enjoy what it gives to you and listen to your body!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Vagus Nerve Part 7

 The Vagus Nerve Part 7: by Wendy Hayden

If our bodies aren't getting enough nutrition in our food, we can enter a sympathetic nervous system response. What we eat becomes the building blocks of the cells in our body. We now have cupboards and refrigerators full of food, but the food is often processed and devoid of the nutrition that our body needs to make healthy cells. You can eat calories but still starve your body of the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Some foods to include: wild caught fish, grass fed meat, organ meats, greens, sulfur rich foods such as garlic, onions, cabbage, and mushrooms, foods with bright colors, and seaweed. These foods can supply your body with the micronutrients it needs to heal your myelin sheath and feed your brain. Healthy fats stimulate the vagus nerve and regulate the activation of our innate immune system, and mast cells in our guts. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation in the body, which can help keep the vagus nerve functioning properly. Foods like fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats can all help reduce inflammation. Magnesium helps to maintain the proper balance of nerve cells, as well as their ability to communicate with each other. Without enough magnesium the nerve may become overstimulated, leading to fatigue, indigestion, and mood swings. Zinc is also important for healthy vagus nerve functioning. Zinc helps to regulate the neurotransmitters that control the activity of the nerve. Without enough zinc, the nerve may become overstimulated. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for proper vagus nerve functioning. Omega 3s help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to reduce the stress on the vagus nerve. In addition, omega 3s help to maintain the health of the nerve cells and their ability to communicate with each other. If you are deficient in potassium, your vagus nerve will not work as it should. Potassium rich foods include sweet potato, avocado, beets, wild salmon, coconut water, beans, dried apricots, pomegranate, cooked tomatoes, watermelon, spinach,and pumpkin. Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is especially important for proper vagus nerve functioning. B1 helps to regulate the neurotransmitters that control the activity of the vagus nerve. Vitamin B6 helps to maintain the health of the nerve cells and their ability to communicate with each other. Without enough B6, the nerve may become overstimulated and cause a variety of symptoms. B12 is very important to the making and maintaining of the myelin sheath on nerves. B12 is critical for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine. B12 deficiency can lead to neurological and psychiatric problems. If you are B12 deficient long term, you can experience neuropathy, cognitive problems, and Alzheimer's later in life. B vitamin-rich food includes grass fed animal products including clams, liver, fish, crab, low fat beef and dairy, fortified cereal and tofu, cheese, nutritional yeast, and eggs. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can promote the health of your digestive system, including the vagus nerve. Examples include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Eating these foods can help to increase the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system, which can help keep the vagus nerve healthy. Even the best nutrition or supplements are not strong enough to overcome a brain and nervous system that is stressed, but they can help to support your nervous system as you heal your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve releases cytokines that regulate mast cells and reduce inflammation. Mast cells can be activated by many types of irritants, viruses, and stressors. When our mast cells are activated, we have increased inflammation. When you have a mast cell reaction, you can have itching, flushing of the skin, swelling, difficulty breathing, hives, low blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations. When we activate our vagus nerve, we can reduce mast cell activation. Eating can become a source of worry and dread, as we worry about how much we’re eating, what we’re eating, and how it’s affecting our bodies. That's why it is so important to take the time to cultivate calming rituals around eating, you can reduce anxiety while still enjoying your food. Rituals around meals like eating together as a family, or sitting at the table when you eat, signal our digestive system that food is coming. Our digestive system prepares for the meal by releasing digestive enzymes that help us digest our food. Mindful eating and a routine that signals you will eat can help with digestion issues you may be having.

Here are a few calming rituals that you can incorporate into your mealtimes: 

  1. Take a few deep breaths before eating. 

  2. Make sure you are eating in a calm environment where you feel safe

  3. Eat slowly and mindfully

  4. Don't skip meals

  5. Listen to your body and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues

  6. Avoid negative self talk, don't judge yourself for what you're eating or how much