The Return of the Silly Season: How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays
Each year the seasonal festivities may pose a challenge to sustaining your health. You may give in to cravings for refined carbohydrates, sugary treats and alcohol – waking up in the New Year with a metabolic ‘hangover’ of weight gain and fatigue caused by erratic blood glucose (sugar) levels. However, the holiday period doesn’t mean your health has to come undone providing you put in place some simple strategies. Here’s some quick tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
Blood Glucose vs. Insulin
Following each meal your body releases the hormone insulin in response to rising blood glucose levels. Insulin is like a key that opens up the locks on your body’s cells so that glucose can get inside and be used for energy. However, for some people, ongoing exposure to sugary treats and starchy carbohydrates can have a negative effect on this mechanism leading to an inefficient uptake of glucose into the cell. At this point you may be experiencing ‘insulin resistance’ with the accompanying fatigue, weight gain, and worsening of your cravings as your cells keep seeking energy even though you are eating regularly. And too much glucose remaining in the bloodstream is undesirable as it can lead to health complications over time. So enjoy sugary treats and starchy carbohydrates in moderation over the festive season!
Curb those Cravings!
Nature has solutions to help improve insulin sensitivity and assist your body to burn its ‘fuel’ more efficiently. For example, the nutrient chromium helps reduce carbohydrate cravings, whilst magnesium rapidly improves your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, further helping to raise energy levels. The herb gymnema has traditionally been used to quell sugar cravings, whilst cinnamon enhances your body’s glucose metabolism capability. Your Naturopath or Nutritionist can recommend a combination of these herbs and nutrients to help you control your cravings, burn more fat and increase your energy levels as your cells receive the fuel they require.
Don’t Ditch the Exercise
It’s tempting to leave exercise on the back burner during the holiday season but maintaining exercise is like buying an insurance policy against those dietary slip-ups. Exercise itself is a rapid and effective means of regulating blood glucose levels, whilst maintaining a healthy muscle mass helps you burn fats more efficiently. Exercise also benefits your gut microbiota by promoting diversity amongst the beneficial bacterial strains, which is associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
Although some strategic supplements can help you manage your cravings, the end of year functions still need navigating! Keep your blood glucose levels more balanced by keeping a few simple party rules in mind:
- Opt for a protein snack such as a chicken drumstick instead of a starchy party pie; and reach for the crudities with avocado or humus dips instead of breadsticks. This helps keep you fuller for longer and reduces cravings;
- Drink a mineral water for every alcoholic drink. This helps you remain hydrated and reduces the poor food choices that can accompany overindulging with alcohol; and
- Choose ‘clean’ spirits such as vodka with soda water over sparkling wines and beers, as these have a high sugar content; and avoid sugary mixers in spirits or on their own.
Have your Cake and Eat It (Just a Small Piece!)
The start of the silly season doesn’t mean you have to ‘fall off the wagon’ when it comes to your health. Reigning in cravings and balancing blood glucose levels are the key to remaining in control and not overindulging. If you feel you need more help to achieve the above, speak to your Practitioner today about strategies to support you and your ongoing health now and into the New Year.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Caryn will be on leave from Thursday 20th December and will be back Monday 14th January 2019.
Carine will be on leave from Monday 24th December and will be back on Thursday 3rd January 2019.
Saphy will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays (excluding public holidays) at the Graceville clinic.
Reception will still be answering calls on all days except public holidays and you can still book appointments online for all practitioners for their available dates.
We suggest getting appointments booked now for the New Year as appointments fills up quickly in January.