Can you resist the urge for the delicious spread that comes with Thanksgiving and Winer Holidays? But once November hits, we feel the Holiday pounds ready to pounce. Maybe it is the leftover Halloween candy, the coziness of fall fixings, or that we know the meals of Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays are just around the corner. If you can free your brain chemistry from its’ dependence on refined sugars and processed carbs, it is possible to look at a delicious Thanksgiving table without wanting to eat all of it. As for the secret, it is not so much self-control, but learning how to help your body work better.
Blood sugar, brain chemistry, and hormones all influence our abilities to make good or bad food choices – but once you understand that these physiological factors are responsible, you have the power to stay on track with your goals. Ever notice how your self-control is great at 8 AM in the morning, but weak at 8 PM at night? …that is completely normal. Like any muscle, your resolve wears out over the course of the day. And, studies have shown that if you exercise self-control over too many areas of your life at once, you’ll lose it faster. For the holidays this year, we suggest not trying to be ‘too good’, but try being ‘better.’ Here are some ways to help you do that:
Boost Your Will-Power Before Thanksgiving
- Do a mini-cleanse: Either, do a three-day juice cleanse or, avoid all starches, alcohol, and processed foods. The goal is to clean out your system of unhealthy fuels that spike the desire to eat unhealthy foods. Stick with vegetables, nuts, and legumes for at least three days and you’ll feel better and be able to say no to seconds on that piece of pie.
- Keep your blood sugar steady with small meals and protein-rich snacks (we suggest nutrition-packed superfoods, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios). Even a small dip in blood sugar can tip you over into losing control.
- Start off on the right foot each day by exercising first thing in the morning, followed by a “clean” breakfast (egg white omelet with spinach is one of my favorites). By lunchtime, you’ll probably want to keep the positive momentum going with a great salad.
The holidays do not have to be a time where you give up on your health goals. Nor, does it mean that you cannot enjoy a feast with friends and family either. You can have both by making some smarter and healthier choices leading into the holiday season.
With the holidays looming around the corner, many of us are scheduling hair cuts (and colors), picking out our Hostess with the Mostest party dresses, getting our mani-pedis in, and perhaps a facial. But what we really need is stamina – holidays are hard work! – and that can only come from a healthy diet (no, not an IV drip of pumpkin spice lattes). At Intelligent Gourmet, it’s my mission to help us look better, feel better, and live better, all of which you can kickstart with a pre-Thanksgiving juice cleanse. But, don’t just drink any juice, because the wrong juice cleanse can send you into Thanksgiving craving the WHOLE PIE! Here are the do’s and don’ts of an energizing pre-holiday cleanse.
Drink juices that are high in sugar. Many of the store-bought, mass-produced juices we’ve found have more sugar than a can of Mountain Dew in every bottle. If you drink 6 of those per day, you’ll feel energized alright – it’s called a sugar high! – but will come crashing down. And, your body’s insulin levels will skyrocket, making you crave real food to soak it up. That is not how you want to sit down at the turkey (or tofurky) table.
Drink juices that are lower in sugar and balanced with protein. We balance each day’s juice plan with some veggie-heavy juices that are lower in sugar, and some nut milk juices that are filling and satisfying. That way, you avoid sugar-high spikes, crashes, and the cravings that come with them!
Jump in to a cleanse without proper preparation. While it may be tempting to start a cleanse the day after that Holiday Cookie Bake, shifting from unhealthy eating habits straight to a juice cleanse can result in some uncomfortable gastrointestinal moments. Ease in to your cleanse with a few days of a fruit, vegetable and lean protein diet – and ease out of it the same way.
Have you tried our latest seasonal juices? Come by to see what we have in store for the holidays!
While other nutrition and fitness blogs are probably giving out tips on how to avoid the upcoming eating frenzy at all costs, I have just three words for you: Go for it.
If that means making imperfect food choices, like grabbing seconds on that creamy green bean casserole topped with fried onions, well fine. I’ve even heard of dieters deciding to devote their entire day’s allotted calories to pie – and only pie. It’s Thanksgiving and if you need permission to enjoy all the goodies that you are blessed to have on your table, I give it to you.
However, our specialty at Intelligent Gourmet is taking the foods you love and making them healthier for you. So if you’d like to give thanks and feel great this holiday season, try this recipe to start off the festivities.
Intelligent Gourmet Appetizer: Blue Cheese, Agave Stuffed Radicchio
12 Radicchio leaves
3 oz Blue Cheese
A drizzle of agave
36 almond slices
Fill each Radicchio leaf with a little blue cheese and drizzle with agave. Top with 3 almond slices.
Why it’s crazy-good for you:
Radicchio is high in antioxidants, especially dark red radicchio, which neutralize free radicals and fight cell damage. Its high fiber content promotes weight loss by helping make you feel full, and it also contains inulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Although honey would be delicious for drizzling, agave syrup has a far lower glycemic index and won’t spike your blood sugar.
Stay tuned, because next week I’ll give you side dishes, and the week after: the best turkey you’ve ever tasted!