Moms Aware Logo

Connect With Us

Connect with momsAWARE on FacebookFollow momsAWARE on TwitterWatch momsAWARE on YouTube This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Share Us with Others

FacebookMySpaceTwitterStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksLinkedin
Pin It

momsAWARE Badge

The Holidays and Your Health

How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays

It's easy to put off our vow to eat healthier until the New Year. "I'll just make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas and then worry about it," we say to ourselves. The cultural current of expectation that runs rampant this time of year often yields a sense of powerlessness, making it easy to relinquish our sense of control over our food choices.

Wondering what you can do to fight the urge to abandon healthy eating during the holidays?

  1. Have fun with healthy foods.

    Holidays are a great time for festive food. While most recipes center on sugar, this need not be the case. Strawberries and homemade whipped cream make delicious Santa Berries. Squash and tomatoes can make a fun Thanksgiving decoration. Fresh fruit can be added to an apple and carrot base to make an enticing Christmas tree. The possibilities are endless! Pinterest is a great place to browse creative ideas for fun, healthy holiday foods.

    Fun Holiday Foods

  2. Don't defend your choices.

    It's easy to apologize for watching what you eat during the holidays. Abstaining from sugar or highly processed foods goes against the cultural norm. This often makes others feel uncomfortable. Family members, coworkers, or friends may lash out with remarks that seem to require an explanation. Resist the temptation to engage. Do your best to steer the conversation away from food unless there is an honest curiosity. While there's no need to force your choices on others, there is certainly no need to defend them either.

  3. Don't eat to make someone else happy.

    Pressure from a relative or friend can make us feel like we "have" to eat an offered dish or treat. While there may be times when this is a healthy relational decision, more often than not we're trying to fill another's emotional void rather than nourishing our own body. There are lots of ways to affirm a loved one. Focus on their appearance, their decorating, their talent in the kitchen. Find a way to reach out without compromising your health.

  4. Bring food you can enjoy.

    Offer to bring your favorite vegetable dish, casserole, or fruit bowl to a gathering. Most hosts are feeling the pressure to accommodate everyone's preferences and may welcome the relief of knowing you'll have something you enjoy. A holiday gathering is a great time to introduce others to whole food alternatives without forcing the issue.

  5. Practice the hara hachi bu principle.

    Hara hachi bu is a practice associated with the people of Okinawa, Japan. Literally "stomach full to eight parts of ten," this means that the Okinawans eat until they fill approximately 80 percent of their stomach's capacity. Holiday gatherings tend to encourage the opposite. Chew your food slowly, take small bites, and stop before you are full. Even if you're eating food you typically don't eat, this practice can help minimize the negative effects.

Being mindful of your food choices can go a long way toward keeping you sane and healthy this holiday season. Who knows, you may start the New Year healthier than ever before!

For more thoughts on staying healthy during the holidays, see our article Better Food, Better Mood.

Quotes

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

Dedication