Eating nutritious holiday meals doesn’t mean you have to feast on only spinach and lettuce. There are so many little tricks you can employ to boost the nutritional value of your holiday meals without compromising on your favorite taste. Here are some of my favorite, creative ways to load up on nutrition this holiday season.
1. Start your day with warm water to cleanse your digestive tract.
Even if you are on holiday start each day with a warm water and lemon (if needed) to help cleanse the system. This is a small way to begin your day having nurtured your health. As per Ayurveda, warm water causes expansion of the srotas or micro-channels which carry digestive juices, and thus increases their flow. This results in the proper digestion of food and makes your agni (digestive fire) stronger which improves your overall health.
2. Avoid alcohol as much you can.
The liver’s job is to break down harmful substances, including alcohol. Excessive drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis which can lead to the development of jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Chronic liver inflammation can lead to severe scarring known as cirrhosis. Ayurveda also says that wrong use of alcohol will create anger, grief, disease and death.
Above all things, your sobriety and health should be your primary focus this holiday season—even if it means avoiding some events or people.
3. Do at least 15 to 20 sun salutations.
Each asana in Surya Namaskara is matched with a deep breath, inhaling when the chest is opened and exhaling when it is not. Matching each movement with each breath provides an opportunity to enter a meditative state. The regulated breathing offered through this series of movements combined with the focus on the posture clears and refreshes the mind, improving memory and bringing calmness to the rest of the body. What else you want during the holidays?
4. Add ginger and turmeric to your holiday meals.
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, helps to protect the liver, has antimicrobial properties and helps boost brain power. When the holidays roll around, you need all of the liver-protective, antioxidant-rich and immune-boosting foods you can get!
Of the 115 different chemical components found in ginger root, the therapeutic benefits come from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that acts as a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These bioactive ingredients, especially -gingerol, have been thoroughly evaluated clinically, and the research backs up why you should use ginger on a regular basis.
5. Have a natural probiotic everyday.
Possibly the most popular probiotic food is live cultured yogurt or greek yogurt made from the milk of cows, goats or sheep. Yogurt in most cases can rank at the top of probiotic foods if it comes from raw grass-fed animals. It is recommend when buying yogurt to look for three things. First, that it comes from cow’s milk, second, that it is grass-fed, and third, that it is organic.
These tips are very easy to implement this holiday season. Wishing you and your loved ones very happy, and healthy holidays!