Lifestyle

Eat Probiotics When Cravings Strike!

Have you ever eaten something sour when your body cried out for sweets? It seems counter-intuitive, but the probiotics in a cultured food can alter your cravings in the long run by improving your gut health.

In this video, you can see how easy and inexpensive it is to create your own probiotic foods from your garden.

You can find recipes for culturing your vegetables online at Cultures for Health. If you are purchasing naturally fermented foods, look for phrases such as “contains live cultures” or “never heat-treated” on the label.

Other benefits of probiotic foods, aside from helping with cravings, are that they:

  • Bolster your immune system and help fight infection.
  • Strengthen your gut and help relieve conditions such as bloat, indigestion and IBS.
  • Make your food more digestible and help your absorb your nutrients better.
  • Manufacture B vitamins, which you are likely to have a deficiency of if your are under chronic stress or sugar overload.
  • Are an economical way to boost your health.

Did You Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat, and Depressed?

There is a deadly epidemic in America, and odds are that either you or your buddy has it. It is making you fat and sick, but there’s a 90% likelihood that you don’t have any idea it’s there.

I’m talking about insulin resistance, a totally reversible condition that is the single most important phenomenon leading to premature aging, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer. In its early stages, it triggers weight gain, inflammation and oxidative stress, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, anxiety, and depression.

How Do You Know You Have It?

Key indicators of insulin resistance are:

  • difficulty losing weight
  • belly fat
  • fatigue
  • hunger
  • carb cravings
  • hormone issues
  • irritability when you don’t eat
  • difficulty with memory or concentration
  • water retention
  • facial hair if you are female, erectile dysfunction if you are male

If too many of these symptoms are familiar, you will want to ask your doctor for a fasting insulin blood test. If your results are double digits, you are on the path to diabesity – those metabolic issues that create diabetes and obesity, along with other chronic diseases mentioned.

In Case You Don’t Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat and Depressed

The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible! But you need to be dedicated to all five pillars of diet and lifestyle:

  1. Choose good food. There are no if’s, but’s, or and’s about it. Sugar is out if you’re serious about getting your body’s metabolism back to healthy. Refined foods and products made with flour get the boot, too. Fill your plate half full with vegetables. The other half of your plate should be divided between good quality, lean protein and slow-burning, high fiber carbohydrates, such as berries, black or red rice, quinoa, green plantains, or cassava root. Use natural, unprocessed fats for cooking and dressing your meals. Foods that don’t require labels are best!
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can increase insulin resistance. You are much more prone to overeat and to have sugar cravings when you are tired, so getting 8 hours of shut-eye per night has to be a priority.
  3. Take appropriate supplements. As much as I support properly-prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food, your body may be so out of balance that it cannot heal itself without the assistance of some high-grade nutrients. It is common for individuals with insulin resistance to be deficient in vitamin D, Omega 3’s, chromium, B vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. But taking supplements is only part of the story; absorbing them is the rest. For that reason, it is critical to work with a practitioner to make sure you are getting what your body needs.
  4. Get moving. Aside from diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for insulin resistance. Start with walking for 30 minutes a day. Add in 10 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and resistance training with weights or bands as you are able. Spending hours is not important. What matters is that you work vigorously, getting your heart rate up to 70-80% of its maximum.
  5. Take time to relax! In the face of chronic stress, insulin output increases, driving insulin resistance even higher and creating even greater inflammation in your body. Passive downtime watching movies or surfing the internet is not enough. You must actively connect your body and brain to each other and to the present, through sensory stimulation, through breathing, and through mindfulness and gratitude activities. If you need some help, check out my stress hacks that can be performed in two minutes or less, anywhere, anytime!

Together, we can upset the odds. Let’s take your 50% chance of having insulin resistance down to zero!

Open Letter To My Grandson

Dear Grandson,

The other day, you asked me, “Why don’t you believe in eating sugar?”

I told you that I used to be a sugar addict once, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I can see that it simply is not worth it. Yet somehow, that answer isn’t enough. How do I tell you the unseen impact of sugar on your body and your unborn children that does NOT show up for 20 or 30 years?

It’s not about the sugar. It’s about the insulin your body makes every time you eat sweeteners and refined carbohydrates. Insulin is stealthily changing your life – without you even feeling it!

How could you know that insulin makes you anxious? Yes, one of the strongest stimulants of the sympathetic nervous system – the part of your body responsible for putting you into flight-or-flight – is a high level of insulin.

Oh, insulin is definitely needed. While your liver is converting stored fuel to glucose to make sure you never run out of energy, a trickle of insulin circulates to carry that glucose to the cells that use it. But for the first time in the history of mankind, insulin is flooding the body in waves higher than ever before. But since it doesn’t show, how could you know that more than half the population is already insulin resistant, meaning that their cells have “quit listening” to this important messenger.

How could you know that cells which won’t admit insulin’s glucose cargo can’t admit minerals either –  the very minerals that build bones, relax muscles, trigger chemical reactions, and support organ function.

How could you know that high insulin causes cell proliferation? That means it causes cells to multiply abnormally fast. So, it feeds cancer.

How could you know that insulin-instigated cell proliferation creates plaque by causing the cells in your arteries to multiply rapidly? Or that excess insulin causes the blood to clot too readily? Then It changes certain white blood cells, called macrophages, into foam cells – the kind that fill the fatty deposits in your arteries. Step by step, high insulin is giving you heart disease, clogging your arteries, then squeezing them shut.

How could you know that too high insulin keeps your body from making the hormones you need to be a mature young man? That’s because DHEA is needed to produce testosterone, but if there’s too much insulin, a condition called insulin resistance develops. The greater the insulin resistance, the lower your DHEA levels.

How could you know that high insulin will slow down your body’s processes – the rate at which you burn your fuel, warm yourself, grow, and eliminate waste? That’s because your liver is responsible for converting the inactive thyroid hormone into active thyroid hormone. But when the liver becomes insulin resistant, it doesn’t “hear” the instructions from the brain very well, so you become deficient in thyroid hormone.

How could you know that too much insulin causes you to lose important minerals – calcium and magnesium – through your urine? That sets you up for brittle bones, more anxiety, and heart pains called angina.

How could you know that when insulin has been high for a very long time, and insulin resistance has set in, the glucose left in your blood stream makes all the proteins sticky? If those proteins happen to be needed for nerve cells, your nerves won’t function well and you will lose feeling. If those proteins are needed for the collagen that forms muscles, bones, tendons, and skin, these tissues will be weak.

How could you know that chronically high insulin levels reduce your life span through a complex web of processes? One of these is by increasing inflammation in your body. That kind of inflammation is like having a sprained ankle inside your organs all the time.

Finally, how could you know that if you are insulin resistant, your child is many times more likely to be insulin resistant from birth – and if that child is a girl, even her eggs have a higher chance of being insulin resistant?

No, my boy, sugar is not worth it! I don’t believe in eating sugar – and that goes for all modern forms of sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. We didn’t have them or need them a thousand years ago. Why now?

I don’t want you to lose your life without knowing your foe. If you believe in eating sugar, then at least know the unseen processes it triggers.

With much love and hope for your future,

Your adoring grandparent.

5 Way to CUT Your Sugar Cravings!

It isn’t that you’re ignorant of sugar’s impact on your body! It isn’t that your willpower is lacking. It’s that your cravings are bigger than you! There are physiological changes in your body that create eating emergencies. To overcome these effects, you have to work from the inside out, re-programming your body’s sugar responses.

1. Prepare for Craving Crises

When blood sugars drop, you will eat almost anything in sight, and since sugar is readily available and quick, you’re going to grab those convenience store snacks that are so damaging to your health. So plan ahead. Keep an Emergency Kit in your pack, purse or car that includes sugar-stabilizing fats and proteins and slow-burning carbs, such as:

  • jerky
  • nuts and seeds
  • smoked or canned fish
  • snack-pack olives
  • nut butter packets
  • whole grain crackers
  • For short term: hard-boiled eggs, whole fruits, hummus, fresh vegetables (cherry tomatoes, peppers, pea pods, etc.)

2. Hydrate Well!

Sometimes you mistake thirst for hunger. Sometimes you stoke your cravings by feeding your thirst with sweetened beverages or diuretic caffeinated drinks. Beware that for every ounce of soda, energy drink, or coffee that you consume, your body needs TWO ounces of plain water to replenish itself. That is on top of the 70-80 ounces of water a 150-pound person needs daily for normal function. If you are not drinking water regularly, your body cannot digest properly, and that fuels cravings even more by throwing your microbiome (gut bugs) off.

If you don’t like the taste of water straight, add fruit chunks and herbs to it, such as rosemary and peaches, berries and basil, or cucumber and mint.

3. Make Your Meals Like a 3-Legged Stool

Everyone knows that a three-legged stool cannot balance on two legs. Neither can your diet. Don’t go to extremes by eliminating one of the three macro-nutrients: carbs, fats, or proteins. Try to make sure that you eat balanced ratios of each calorically. Although body types and demands differ by lifestyle and genetics, a good rule of thumb is to eat a palmful of protein and a thumb-size portion of natural fat for every cupped handful of carbohydrate. Also eat these foods in their whole forms, as close to nature as possible. Avoid man-made, refined, processed products as much as possible. Source locally and organically where you can. Look for pastured, wild-caught, and free-range.

4. Don’t Feed the Bears!

You can’t get away with just a little sugar and expect that your cravings won’t be triggered. It’s an all-or-nothing deal. Just like an alcoholic who can’t even walk into a bar, you have to STOP eating sugar completely if you’re going to break the addiction. The soda, candy bars, and pastries are obvious foods containing sugar, but watch food labels for sneaky places where sugar might be hiding. About 3/4 of all packaged foods contain added sugar, including some brands of chips. Labels might say dextrose, fructose, sucrose, malt syrup, rice syrup, and barley malt, among other tricky names for added sweeteners.

5. Actively De-Stress

Among my clients, one of their top causes of cravings is stress. But it doesn’t work to passively watch TV or surf the internet to find relief. You have to engage your senses, your thoughts, your breath, and your vagus nerve! If you need some ideas on how to hack your stress, you can check out my online course!

If you need a reminder about why you’re doing this to keep yourself on track, post this infographic on your mirror, your refrigerator, or your cubicle:

5 Ways to Save Yourself from Stress

Are you sinking under a sea of “overwhelm”? Did you know that you can physiologically change your state from “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” to “Rest and Digest” with an act as simple as pressing against your palm, or remembering a child’s face?

Stress produces measurable changes in your body, such as a faster pulse, dilated eyes, shallower breathing, and the need to urinate. But there are five simple ways to interrupt these changes and re-establish physical calmness.

Change Your Mind About Stress

You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can change your mind about how you respond to circumstances. You can choose at this very moment to acknowledge your existence, your support network, and those amenities of life that you are grateful for, such as sight, or shelter, or safety. Deciding to focus on the present sweeps you away from regrets over the past and ruminations about the future. Stress is cerebral, because it’s what you think about your circumstances. It’s a choice! In my Instant Stress Hacks course, I show you 10 different ways to change your thought process.

Just Breathe!

Under stress, you take shallow, rapid breaths. By conscientiously and deliberately slowing and deepening your breathing, you can literally take yourself out of sympathetic state, popularly known as Fight or Flight.It’s easy to practice breathing exercises that train your body to inhale from the diaphragm, and to exhale for a longer time than you inhale. Most breathing exercises only take a moment or two. In my new course, I give you 10 different exercises, so you can find the one most suited to you, individually.

Take Some Pressure Off

The ancient art of acupuncture purports to relieve stress by unblocking the flow of energy along certain pathways in the body called energy meridians. Whether or not that is true, simply putting pressure along those points can certainly stimulate circulation and lymph flow, relieve muscle tension, release endorphins, and improve cell-to-cell communication. I can show you where to press to get the most relief.

Come to Your Senses

As mentioned, stress is cerebral. It’s hyper-focused and tunnel-visioned. If you can bridge between your thoughts and your senses, you re-connect to the moment. You  become aware of what you are smelling, tasting, hearing, seeing, and feeling this minute, and you pulled away from whatever is worrying you. It’s as if you exit the future or the past and re-enter your body. Can you think of 10 ways to sense your surroundings better? I’m happy to share my hacks with you!

Get Some Nerve

The vagus nerve is the instrument by which the thoughts in the mind are converted to physical changes in the body. It is this nerve that signals the heart to beat faster so that muscles can be fueled for a fight. It is this nerve that diverts blood from digestion to the extremities for that escape. It can lose its tone, especially if you stay in sympathetic mode too much But it can be exercised! You can practice techniques to restore vagal tone. For you, I have compiled my favorite ways to strengthen the vagus nerve.

Stress can kill! It is linked to the six leading causes of death. Take yours under control now!

Do You Have Cellular Fatigue?

Everybody’s tired these days. It seems our memories and our nights are getting shorter and shorter. Meanwhile, our stress and our irritability are growing. As a nation, we purchase energy drinks and take adrenal supplements. We can’t get out of bed in the morning, and we hit a wall before the work day is finished.

Do we sprint so much that we out distance our reserves, or is there an energy crisis at the cellular level?

Energy is Produced in the Mitochondria

You’ll recall from your high school physics class that the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells. One particularly unique feature about them is their double membrane.

Image result for mitochondria

This twin layer makes them doubly vulnerable to damage. See, all cell membranes are made of phospholipids, a special class of fats that allow a two-way exchange of materials in and out of the cell. That way nutrients can enter and wastes can exit. But because they are lipids, they are subject to oxidation – a type of damage that occurs in fats. And because these membranes also contain proteins, they are subject to glycation – literally, sugar-coating that makes them sticky and cross-linked so that they cannot send or receive signals properly.

The bottom line is that diets high in processed fats and sugars dam the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes and stop the creation and dissemination of energy.

Interrupt The “Kryptonite”

The first step to overcoming fatigue is to halt the acceleration of glycation and oxidation. That means:

  • Eat only natural, unrefined fats, not processed and refined fats. Stay away from the Big Five: cottonseed, corn, canola, soy, and sunflower. Instead, use olive, avocado, coconut, and grass-fed butter.
  • Stop eating refined flours and sugars. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods, mostly from plants (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains in limited amounts) with high-quality animal products for protein requirements.

Power Up Your Powerhouses

  • Eat anti-oxidant foods. That means lots of colors! Make half your plate vegetables. Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. Swap white carbs like rice, potatoes and pasta for colored ones like wild rice, yams, and squashes.
  • Work with a health practitioner to supplement your diet with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may be missing in your diet.

Diet is the biggest factor you have control over to regain your energy. If your thinking is foggy, your memory is impaired, or you suffer from mood disorders, focus on cellular nutrition to feel happy, healthy, focused, and sharp once again.

Reverse Insulin Resistance to Control Cravings

Trying to control sugar cravings without addressing insulin resistance is like learning to swim without getting in the water: you’re only going through the motions, not developing any lasting change.

Because insulin resistance instigates carb and sugar cravings, it is pointless to try to curb these cravings until you correct the insulin resistance – which develops after years of poor eating habits. Signs and symptoms of insulin resistance include:

  • fatigue
  • hunger
  • hormone imbalances that contribute to
    • PMS, PCOS, and facial hair in women
    • thinning hair, “man boobs,” and erectile dysfunction in men
    • low thyroid
    • infertility
  • inability to lose weight
  • abdominal fat
  • migrating aches and pains
  • desire for sweets after a meal
  • rising cholesterol and triglycerides

Five Steps To Reverse Insulin Resistance

You need both diet and lifestyle changes that bring your physiology into desirable condition, just as dressing meat or dressing a mannequin makes it suitable or fit. You can remember the acronym DRESS for these needed changes: Diet, Relaxation, Exercise, Supplementation, and Sleep.

Diet: Eat whole foods that are high in fiber and low in sugars and flours. Get plenty of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and detoxifying foods. That means eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables; plenty of high-quality protein, especially fish; a variety of legumes, nuts, and seeds; and an abundance of omega-3 oils from seafood, flax, chia, grass-fed meats, dairy, and eggs.

Relaxation: Your stress hormones raise blood sugars and therefore trigger insulin resistance, so it is essential to practice relaxation daily, even hourly, using breathing exercises, acupressure, meditation, guided imagery, exercise, recreation, journaling, gratitude, and other techniques.

Exercise: More movement of all kinds will benefit you. Even a walk after dinner each evening is helpful. Interval training has the added benefit of increasing the efficiency of your calorie burning so that you burn more when you are not exercising. But recent studies show that resistance training with weights is most desirable for reducing insulin resistance.

Supplementation: The following nutrients have been clinically shown to be helpful in controlling blood sugars and moderating insulin resistance.

  • B Vitamin Complex, especially B-6, B-12, and biotin to protect against diabetic neuropathy and enhance insulin sensitivity
  • Magnesium because most individuals with blood sugar dysregulation show magnesium deficiency
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid, a powerful anti-oxidant that helps with glucose conversion
  • Omega 3’s to help nutrients get into the cell that otherwise would be blocked by insulin resistance
  • Berberine to lower blood sugars
  • Chromium to lower insulin levels
  • Cinnamon to imitate the action of insulin
  • Vitamins C and E to serve as anti-oxidants

Sleep: Even one night of sleep deprivation may increase insulin resistance by as much as several months of a poor diet. As few as four days of sleep deprivation in a row causes significant metabolic disturbances that reduce total body insulin sensitivity. So while diet and exercise are certainly critical in optimal health, sleep is just as critical.

The Fatigue Spiral

No get-up-and-go? Wake up exhausted? Feel tired but can’t fall asleep? Lie awake for hours in the middle of the night? Pump stimulants during the day to keep going?

You could be experiencing a blood sugar dysregulation which is causing disrupted nights. Unfortunately, the worse your sleep patterns, the more blood sugars tend to spin out of control.

What causes blood sugar imbalances?

Here are some common contributors:

  • An excessive amount of refined carbohydrates in the diet (breads, crackers, pasta,  pastries, baked goods, etc.).
  • Chronic low-grade emotional stress or frequent high intensity emotional stress.
  • Unidentified physiological stresses, such as food sensitivities, inflammation, or infection.
  • Insulin resistance.

How do disrupted blood sugars make you fatigued?

Let’s try an analogy. Your nose is designed to be evenly moist. When you have a cold, the excess mucous congests it to the point that you can hardly breathe. At the other extreme, it sometimes becomes so dry that it bleeds.

Now, let’s imagine the the individual cells of your body to be something like a nose. An excess of insulin will eventually prohibit the passage of nutrients into them, just as mucous prevents the smooth flow of air. When cells don’t get fuel (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose), they can’t create energy, perform their work, repair, and reproduce. Then you feel chronically fatigued – almost like a nose without enough air.

On the other hand, stresses – both emotional and physiological – take energy away from the cells, like hot, dry wind pulling moisture from a nose. A constant stream of stress will eventually leave a body exhausted and empty like a parched nose. The irony is that any stress triggers cortisol production, and rest is almost impossible when cortisol levels escalate. So no matter how weary you feel, you can’t seem to restore yourself.

Cortisol is a mobilization hormone. When it is high, melatonin drops like the heavy side of a teeter-totter. Melatonin influences your ability to sleep. The less you sleep, the more you want to use sugar and other stimulants to make it through your day. These, in turn, trigger more insulin resistance and more cortisol production. So, instead of having smoothly-regulated blood sugars, the highs get higher and the lows get lower, like a nose that alternately plugs and bleeds repeatedly. Having enough energy becomes a mirage in a desert of fatigue.

How can you stop the spiral?

Of course, you will want to work with a practitioner to find the root cause of your insulin and cortisol spikes. But there are also things you can do at home. These include:

  • Eating a diet that is balanced between natural fats, appropriate proteins, and slow-burning carbohydrates from unprocessed whole foods.
  • Syncing your body with circadian rhythms of light and dark by being in sunshine during daylight hours and limiting your exposure to artificial light at night.
  • De-stressing throughout the day, but especially taking time to wind down in the evening with regular relaxation practices, such as meditation, gratitude, journaling, aromatherapy, breathing exercises or yoga.

To learn more about intercepting the Tiredness Spin, you can register for a local, live class on Taming Fatigue.

 

Parties Without Party-Pooping

Fall off the diet wagon and enjoy yourself, or stick to the plan and avoid the social event. That seems to be the quandry you face repeatedly when you make a commitment to eat healthier.

These 12 tips can help you navigate the buffet line, the potluck, and the dinner party successfully.

Meal principles, not meal plans

The goal of a meal plan is to teach you how to eat. So take what you know, and go to the party, confident that you can follow general guidelines for health without counting portions or over-analyzing ingredients. Start with the basics: balance your carbs, fats, and proteins; eat only until satiated; avoid empty calories; eat color and variety.

Food quality over food quantity

Research is now showing that the type of food is much more important than how much of it you eat, because you will stop after consuming a certain volume, regardless of what was in it. Brussels Sprouts and pretzels are both carbs with equal filling power. Which will nourish you?

Watch hunger cues, not calories

People who only eat when hungry and stop when they feel satiated are more successful at maintaining a healthy weight and normal metabolism than those who try to outsmart their bodies’ needs by calculating an externally-specified number of calories. Do you  think that a coach on the internet  knows your daily needs better than your own body does?

Progress, not perfection

You are on a continuum of growth. You know how to nourish yourself better today than you did when you were 2. But you are still learning. Bodies change, and science continually adds new knowledge and research to our understanding, so it is unlikely that you will ever reach a state of flawless food consumption. The point is to do a little better each day, perhaps hydrating more, selecting a few more fresh vegetables, or simply adding more Omega 3’s to your routine. Wherever you are, shun complacency, but be realistic.

Your uniqueness is a gift

Instead of being ashamed that your are making different food choices than those around you, who may be over-indulging or piling detrimental options on their plate, see yourself as a ring leader. Perhaps your family and friends just need a little encouragement to follow suit. Your initiative could be the factor that changes your office culture.

More water, less soda and coffee

Have you ever mistaken thirst for hunger? Have you consumed too many calories by drinking them? Since the body is 80% water, you can never go wrong by asking for a glass of fresh water to hold in your hand while you socialize.

The best diet is whole foods

There are many conflicting philosophies out there, from vegan to keto, and from intermittent fasting to eating every 2-3 hours. But all nutritionists will agree that food from nature is superior to processed food. So regardless of what food plan you are following, opt to eat REAL.

Add before you subtract

No one wants to feel deprived. In fact, going without something can actually drive you to it! So instead of sitting at the table with an empty plate, grab a safe option to fill up on. You might try fruit, olives, avocados, crudites, or even nuts to replace dessert.

More IS better with veggies

Fill half your plate with vegetables, if possible. They are so low on the glycemic index, so high in phytonutrients, and so full of fiber and vitamins and minerals, that by the time you finish them, you probably won’t want more food. Even if you do, you will have provided yourself with a nutrient-dense foundation.

Eat protein for breakfast

Breakfast buffets are killers for blood sugars. The swings set up with those pastries and pancakes will plague you with fatigue and cravings for the rest of the day. So do yourself a favor, and opt for the eggs, meat patty, and plain Greeek yogurt to keep yourself stable all day.

To reduce sweets, increase natural fats

Sugars can leave you hungry and roaming for more, like an exhausted fire waiting for kindling. Fats are satiating, providing long, slow, burning fuel, like a log on the fire. Stick to unprocessed choices, like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or avocados.

DIY is always in style

Special diets are accepted these days: there’s always the gluten-free, the dairy-free, or the meat-free crowd, so by all means, if you are uncomfortable with the menu, bring your own! It’s not hard to say, “I have food sensitivities,” or “I have special dietary considerations.” Most people won’t even ask why, but if they do, you have an opportunity to share your food philosophy!

 

Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year

I’ll be signing off until after the New Year begins. May you have a joyous holiday. Remember these 6 tips to keep your holidays merry and your new year healthy:

  1. Limit sugar and refined vegetable oils. No other combination of foods is quite as inflammatory, making you susceptible to disease. But if you make choices from the edges of the store (produce department, butcher block, and dairy case), you’ll be avoiding refined and processed foods. So keep it simple, and keep it whole.
  2. Go to be early. Treat yourself to an extra hour of sleep and pamper your immunity by giving your body extra restorative time. You’ll still make it to work on time in the morning, without the stress of snoozing your alarm. Though it is a tempation in these dark winter evenings to let electric light replace sunlight, your circadian rhythm will thank you if you do not use night time to be productive.
  3. Be mindful. Holiday stress can take us all into cerebral ruminations. But stay connected with your body;  delight in all the season has to offer. Find joy in the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the holidays. Be present and cherish your relationships. Emotional wellness is every bit as powerful as physiological wellness.
  4. Eat DIY meals: the more you cook at home, the more you are able to limit excess carbs, processed foods, unnatural fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives, and set your portion sizes. The health benefits in the long run far outweight any temporary convenience in the moment.
  5. Move often: New research is showing that even marathoners who sit long hours for work have increased risk of disease. Those who stay active throughout the day have a brighter outlook than those who attend the gym for an hour, according to Chris Kresser in his book, Unconventional Medicine.
  6. Remember to take probiotics. Of course, naturally fermented food is the best option for keeping your gut healthy, but even popping probiotic supplements can help maintain your vitamin production, digestion, and even mood throughout the winter.