What happens to your eating during the holidays? Do you decide to indulge in all the goodies since it “happens only once a year”? How about just choosing to be healthier this year by tasting the goodies, but not indulging. Continue to exercise and get enough sleep. You don’t need to deprive yourself of anything to thoroughly enjoy everything. Have a glass of red wine with family and friends. Make small changes…big rewards!
When you sit down with your family in a couple of days and give thanks for all that you have, eye the bountiful table of delectable dishes lovingly prepared, stop for a moment before you fill your plate to a level worthy of Mount Everest. A typical Thanksgiving meal can easily exceed 4000 calories! Many leave the table with a feeling of discomfort that lasts for hours. Do you know that the cardiac (heart) output of blood is increased and diverted to intestinal circulation to aid in digestion, which can take as long as 6 hours! Without getting too clinical, there are several other events happening, such as a rise in insulin, blood pressure, triglycerides, increases in inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein following a large, high-fat meal that can lead to blockages and heat attacks. I know, I know…it’s a once a year celebration with goodies you don’t usually get to eat. So what should you do to enjoy and stay healthy?
- Don’t start your meal starving. Have a snack an hour or two before dinner
- Eat the salad first
- Stay away from the hors d’oeuvres unless they’re raw veggies
- Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate
- Taste everything, but in small portions and no seconds
- Eat slowly and enjoy your family/company
- Either skip dessert or take a very small piece
- Limit alcohol to one glass of wine and drink at least one full glass of water
Wishing you all a Happy, healthy Thanksgiving!
Here is another way to prevent colds that probably isn’t what you typically read: exercising at least 5 days a week. Researchers at Appalachian State University found that 5 days vs. 1 day caused an increase in activity in the cells of the immune system causing the 1002 participants to reduce the number of days spent with colds and those who did get colds to have less severe symptoms. Time to up that exercise!