If you’re like many people this time of the year, you are anticipating the beginning of the fall and holiday season. Whether you are a kid at heart and look forward to celebrating Halloween or spending time with your friends and family for Thanksgiving, you can have fun, celebrate the love in your life and boost your immune system to avoid getting the flu or feeling run down by adopting simple guidelines in the foods that you choose to eat most of the time and HOW you eat.
Sugar in soda, lollipops, cakes, ice cream and other processed foods replace the calories and nutrients you could get from eating more nutrient-dense and mineral-rich real foods. When you consume sugar, you deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals. As an example, your body needs 54 molecules of magnesium to be able to process every molecule of sugar you eat. Sugar is such a problem that it is now recognized by most health experts, that sugar and not fat is the leading cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease and several digestive disorders. The sugar industry, in fact, has shifted the blame on fat for causing several health problems erroneously for decades.
Eating real, nutrient dense foods is simple and the most effective way to nourish your body, avoid having cravings for sugar and reverse numerous health problems like diabetes and heart disease. When investing in the foods that you prepare and eat at home most of the time (i.e., 80% of meals that you cook), strive to eat a variety of real, unprocessed, whole foods.
Real Whole Foods
- Grass fed, pasture raised meats, poultry and wild caught seafood all are great sources of essential fatty acids and many of the minerals and fat soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, E, D and K2 that regenerate your cells, help you to build your brain, stabilize your blood sugar levels and support your immune system.
- Organic dark, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries like kale, bok choy, mustard greens, collard greens, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, as well as tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, strawberries, raspberries and blue berries provide many nutrients like magnesium, potassium, selenium, fiber and folate that are essential for your body.
- Cultured and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kim chi, apple cider vinegar, miso, chutney and kefir are all great foods rich in beneficial bacteria and yeast that support and enhance your immune system, digestive health and help you to reduce your craving for sugar.
When you are invited or go out to celebrate and enjoy a holiday party, you’ll also want to use the following suggestions to help you slow down and enjoy your experience. Before attending a celebration or going out, make sure that you are fully hydrated and fully nourished. It’s inevitable that whether you’re attending your friend’s Halloween party or partaking in a holiday meal with family, there will be several opportunities to overindulge if you do not remember WHY you are celebrating and have not nourished your body with real, unprocessed, whole foods that provide your body with the nutrients that you need.
When you are present and enjoying the company of the people and festivities of the celebration, focus on the people who you love to spend time with, love and “make contact” with your experiences (i.e., get out of your mind so that you notice the sounds, colors, smells and tactile sensations as you greet, hug, dance and listen to music, talk to your friends and family using your 5 senses). If you choose to eat, allow yourself to relax and savor every bite that you ingest. Notice the colors, shapes, aromas or smells of the food, notice the sounds and texture of each morsel as you chew your food mindfully. Chew your food slowly to allow the salivary enzymes in your mouth to coat the food that you are eating and embody your eating experience so that you can observe and allow your body to signal when you are satiated (i.e, you want to chew each bite of food at least 20 times to enhance your digestion and have your stomach produce sufficient stomach acid).
While your cravings for sugar may be challenging, it may simply be an indication that you are wanting a deeper connection with people or fear of being judged. Many times your challenges around food are your body’s innate wisdom speaking to you. Perhaps, you need to venture out, socialize more frequently and love yourself first. By nourishing your body with nutrient rich foods and changing HOW you eat, your craving for sugar will diminish.
To your health and success,
To learn more about how working with a psychologist and holistic health coach can help you to enhance your health and well-being, call or email Dr. Sandoval to schedule a free consultation.