Eat this not that this holiday season | Health

A monthly health column from a local naturopathic health care provider.

  • Thursday, December 19, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Another holiday season has come — are you going to spend it the same way you did in previous years? It is common for people to engorge themselves with sugar, cookies and alcohol and then set unrealistic fitness goals for January. I want to give you some tips on how to not only survive this holiday season, but thrive. Why start in January when you can get ahead of your goals now?

It is common for people to gain a steady 5-10 pounds per year, slowly but surely this weight gain adds up. Some people work hard to get it off with exercise and diet in the New Year, but with added stress and family obligations this may not always be the case. Not to mention, high fat and sugary foods can elevate cholesterol, blood pressure and wreak havoc on digestion. A large percentage of staying healthy starts with diet and nutrition, and exercise helps maintain.

Imagine your dinner plate as a pie chart when deciding how much of what type of food should go on it. Half should be some kind of non-starchy vegetable that is filled with fiber. Fiber keeps you full by stretching the stomach receptors, it also helps regulate colon health and even cholesterol balance. One third should be a lean protein like fish or poultry. Vegetarian sources of protein include beans and nuts/seeds. The other third can be a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa, full of minerals like magnesium and fiber. Don’t forget to add a healthy fat to keep you full from a plant-based source like olive oil, avocado or coconut.

Eat before you go out to social functions. When you have a protein snack prior to attending an event, you will be less hungry. This will keep your blood sugar balanced so you are less likely to overeat. Try to stay away from the carbohydrates and sugar as these can spike blood sugar levels and store calories easily. Aim for veggie snacks or hummus, or even the cheese plate has a lower amount of carbohydrates. Stick to one or two alcohol drinks, but skip the sugary mixers as these are extra added calories. Have water or sparkling water between drinks to balance the alcohol. Too much alcohol stresses the liver, and gets stored as excess fat.

When you are trying to avoid eating a food, you can replace it with something similar. For example, parsnips or cauliflower mash makes a good replacement for regular white potatoes. Try using coconut or almond milk instead of milk and cream. Coconut oil or olive oil makes a good replacement for butter or margarine. Butter still has casein in it, and so if you are dairy sensitive this may not be a good option. Butter is also a saturated fat which can raise cholesterol just like other saturated fats from dairy and meat products. Almond flour makes a great replacement for regular wheat flour, even for cookies. Many people are looking for a sugar alternative, in which case xylitol or erythritol makes a good replacement that tastes sweet without raising blood sugar. The higher the cacao content of chocolate the less sugar — cacao is actually a great antioxidant.

Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a naturopathic primary care doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville. To learn more go to www.treeofhealthmedicine.com, or call 425-408-0040 to schedule an appointment.

More in Life

Courtesy photo
                                North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland (R) presents the 2019 Citizen of the Year award to North Bend resident Beth Burrows at the city’s Feb. 4, 2020 council meeting.
North Bend’s Citizen of the Year

Beth Burrows recognized for outstanding contributions to the community.

Making a human connection in a sea of social media

A monthly health column about natural medicine.

Embrace the struggle for a complete picture | Health column

A monthly column about mindfulness and general wellbeing.

20 recycling resolutions for 2020

A monthly column from Waste Management.

The time for gratitude is now

Being grateful for the present and focusing on what you have versus what you don’t have is the key to mindfulness.

KCLS continuing to build connections in 2020

A monthly column about library happenings.

The Snoqualmie Lunar New Year Celebration will be held at the YMCA Community Center on Jan. 25. File photo
Snoqualmie Lunar New Year Celebration set for Jan. 25

The celebration will be held at the Snoqualmie YMCA Community Center.

From left: students Riley Retinger, Abby Smith, Mimmi Hubbard and Sadie Rabinowitz. Photo by Calah Webb
‘It’s one of my favorite places to be’: School of Rock Issaquah gears up for January shows

In January, students will be paying homage to the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Chris Cornell and others.

Seahawks legend Alonzo Mitz signs Herb Altmann’s 12’s flag at Sno-Valley Senior Center on Dec. 13. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Seattle Seahawks Legends visit Sno-Valley Senior Center

The 12 Days of Goodness made a stop in Carnation on Dec. 13.

Eat this not that this holiday season | Health

A monthly health column from a local naturopathic health care provider.

Santa waves to the crowd as Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson leads the crowd in an acapella version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” during the annual Winter Lights on Dec. 7. Corey Morris/staff photo
Santa Claus came to town

Photos from the 2019 Winter Lights celebration in Snoqualmie.