Sometimes it's tough to stay on track, body and mind, during the holidays. The nervous energy and excitement is palpable. Increasing awareness of the moment and using a few simple tools can help you navigate your Thanksgiving with what the yogi's like to call, Sthira-sukhaam asanam - steadiness and ease. I've put together a few of my favorite Healthy Holiday Habits to help you find balance and enjoy a mindful day of gratitude with those you love.
1. Start your day with a light breakfast. Holidays with my family always begin with a breakfast casserole, sausage balls and mimosas (cheers!). This is one of my favorite aspects of visiting my parents, but I've been know to have 1 (or 10) too many sausage balls, which makes me feel full and heavy all day. So a few years ago, I started fixing a small green smoothie first thing in the morning. Not only does it provide an early morning blast of nutrients, but it keeps me from an afternoon of bloat and regret.
2. Drink water. Between the heavy, salty side dishes and the festive libations (hello, morning mimosas!) it's easy to get dehydrated over the weekend. Making sure you sip on water throughout the day, helps your body feel satiated longer; so, you may think twice before going back for seconds...or thirds! :)
3. Have a plate-full....of veggies! Don't worry folks, I'm not saying you can't enjoy all your favorite holiday foods. I am, however, advising you to prioritize your plate for a well-rounded meal. Before filling your plate with that delicious southern-style, loaded mac 'n cheese, go for the veggies first. Braised greens, caramelized sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, broccoli casserole and squash soup are all nourishing foods and common Thanksgiving staples. Choosing healthier options first allows you to have smarter portions and enjoy a more mindful meal.
My personal plate priority:
2. protein - (turkey & pinto beans)
3. Mama Jan's Cornbread
4. Sweet Potato Pie
4. Enjoy hot tea. This tip is crucial if you want to ease the inevitable turkey-day food coma. Sitting by a fire with your favorite mug of tea is not only super cozy, but helps your body digest all of that heavy food. Just a cup of warm lemon water can make a big difference! Lemon water helps hydrate the lymphatic system and warm water helps stimulate organs and promote detoxification. Peppermint, ginger and chamomile are also great options that have the added benefit of producing antioxidants and anti-immflamatory properties. If you really want to get fancy, try my Winter Wellness Elixir recipe!
5. Seek Joy, Grace and Gratitude. What I mean is, give yourself the opportunity to really enjoy the occasion, the people, the food. Don't give into your busy complex. It is far too common for these wonderful celebrations to become a time of stress, anxiety, and schedules. Yes, you may have 3 Thanksgiving meals to eat, but while you're at the first one, don't rush. Enjoy it. The turkey may have gone in the oven an hour late throwing off the whole schedule, but now you've got an extra hour to appreciate the people around you. Perhaps you over-indulged and had a few too many slices of pie, that's ok. This one meal is not going to make or break your weight. If you have the right intention behind your choices and interactions, the day will be just as it should be, full of Joy, Grace and Gratitude.
Wishing you a gracious holiday,