Tag Archives: holiday

Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain | The Paleo Diet

The holiday season is upon us, a time when, for many people, eating healthy becomes more difficult while unhealthy foods become more tempting, a perfect storm for unwanted holiday weight gain. Here are some tips to keep those added pounds at bay.

1. OFFER A DISH

Have you been invited to a dinner where you’re certain the healthy food choices will be few to none? Make a dish to share and make it a surprise. Don’t announce beforehand what you’re doing. Just show up with a beautiful Paleo dish, preferably a main course and enough for each guest to taste. This way you’ll be sure to have something to eat. You can sample smaller portions of the other dishes while still consuming a generally healthy, Paleo friendly meal. Instead of being the “picky eater,” you’ll be the generous guest.

2. DIRECT THE CONVERSATION

You’re at a party and intentionally avoiding the sugary and otherwise unhealthy offerings. Instead of giving the impression that you’re overly strict, dogmatic, or extreme with respect to food, direct the conversation to show you’re entirely aligned with current popular trends.

Here’s a conversation starter: “So next month Google will publish the top trends of 2014. What do you predict will be the top diet trend?” If you get a blank look, explain that in 2013, Paleo was the top trending diet. Ask your friend if they anticipate Paleo holding the top position for 2014 as well. Like this, the conversation will naturally flow into a discussion about healthy lifestyles and the fact that you’re avoiding the non-Paleo party food will go unnoticed.

3. FORGO BREAKFAST

The holiday season inevitably brings numerous late-night snacking situations. Even if you’re accustomed to eating dinner at a sensible hour, you might find yourself tempted to snack at parties or nighttime gatherings. Late-night eating is certainly not something you should make habitual, but rather than refusing party food outright, perhaps you should think more about time-restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting.

A new study, published this month in Cell Metabolism, found that restricting eating to 9 to 12 hours during the day helps the body synchronize hundreds of genes and gene products related to weight gain.1 The researchers observed that mice on time-restricted feeding schedules, regardless of their weight and the type of diet they consumed, gained less weight than their unrestricted counterparts (who ate the same amount of calories).

So especially if you find yourself in late-night eating situations this holiday season, try forgoing breakfast, thereby restricting your eating window to half the day or less.

4. PRE-EAT BEFORE BUFFETS

Are you invited to a party with buffet-style food? Can you reasonably assume that most of it will be unhealthy? By all means, eat your own food at home first. When you get to the party, you can sample a few items, taking just a few nibbles. Nobody will notice that you aren’t really eating and you’ll feel fully satisfied after the delicious Paleo meal you ate at home.

5. WATER DOWN THE DRINKS

Avoiding alcohol becomes increasingly difficult during the holidays. Suppose you find yourself in a situation where refusing spirits would be improper, dilute your drink with water. Sip slowly while you socialize, then follow that drink up with a glass of straight water. Keeping well hydrated helps mitigate the damaging effects of alcohol. But if you’re on the other side of spectrum and are craving a little buzz, settle for a sulfite free wine that will keep your hangover away.

Happy Holidays!

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Chaix, S, et al. (December 2014). Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges. Cell Metabolism, 20(6).

Paleo Diet Guide to Keep Your Gut Healthy for the Holidays | The Paleo Diet

The Holidays are a time for office parties and get-togethers with family and friends with sleigh-fulls of delicious holiday foods!

Between the list of to-do’s, to-buy’s, to-make’s, to-call’s, to-rsvp’s and merrymaking aplenty, it’s all too easy to run yourself dry and put your health last. Not only can this concession ruin your holiday season if you get sick, but it can inevitably lead to a whole NEW list of problems that will take you more than just January to recover from.

Bloating, headache, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion…we’ve all had one or more of these.  That second helping of turkey and fixings, just another dessert or two. While we convince ourselves and each other it’s no big deal, our “second brain” is always watching.  Each bite. Each mouthful. Each swallow.

This “second brain”1 is the gut’s network of 100 million neurons sending information from the stomach, through the intestines. The gut decides what to digest, absorb, excrete and, sometimes, send back, making us violently sick in the process. Dr. Gershon2, author of The Second Brain, said it best, “The brain doesn’t like to micromanage; it leaves the details of digestion up to the gut.”

And the gut takes its job very seriously.

So how do we get through all the merrymaking and celebrations with our loved family and friends without weight gain, bloating, sugar crashes and digestion problems while still managing to enjoy ourselves?  By following a few tips and tricks.

7 SIMPLE TIPS TO GET YOUR BRAIN AND GUT IN GEAR

1. Drink Enough Water

Your first stop when you get up in the morning should be the sink.  Fill the biggest glass you have with lukewarm water and squeeze a lemon into it for 3 seconds.  Drink it all, and refill, drinking a second glass (or as much of it as you can).

The combination of lukewarm water and freshly squeezed acidic lemon juice3 first thing in the morning wakes up the gut gently and helps with the digestive processes throughout the day. It’s a small change in your routine and especially important through hectic weeks over the holidays.

2. Sleep

This is always on everyone’s list to staying healthy, but who’s got the time? Here’s a little secret; we always have enough time, it’s just a matter of how we choose to spend it. Make the choice to leave a little early from the party, to politely say no to that after work happy hour, or skip that last store on the shopping list.

When our bodies don’t get enough sleep it becomes harder to focus, to function and to digest.4 While one or two nights with less sleep might not seem like a big deal, each one takes a toll on our bodies.  And remember the gut knows it all.

3. 50% Rule

Forget every food chart and plate diagram you’ve ever seen. To keep your gut healthy, your body, and in turn yourself happy, make it a rule to always fill at least half your plate with veggies.

Vegetables are easy to digest and great sources of carbohydrates and calcium, keeping you full longer. Between the holiday festivities and platters of food, gravitate toward the veggie tray – it’s a perfect match.

4. Alkaline Foods

Think Broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, apples, berries.

Emotional stress is all too common during the holidays, and when combined with sugary foods, grains and processed meats the body’s overall pH decreases from its ideal (7.4)5 making absorption of minerals and nutrients more difficult for the gut.

To combat the harmful acidic environment that this creates in the body, include alkaline greens such as spinach, dates, oranges and grapefruit in your diet at least 3-5 times/week.  An alkaline pH in the body minimizes inflammation in the gut and allows for optimal stomach and intestinal health and function.6

5. Artichokes

To keep that gut healthy throughout the Holidays, it’s important to keep the ‘good’ bacteria of the gut lining in check and flourishing.

Artichokes are a Paleo approved food that fall into a group called prebiotics.7 Prebiotics like artichokes, bananas also fall into this category, contain indigestible nutrients that help feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.8 By adding artichokes into your holiday meals, you’ll keep those good bacteria well fed and your gut healthy and happy.

6. The ONE Dessert Rule

This category is unfortunately where we tend to over-indulge most frequently, and the one place that is just loaded with sugars, margarines and grains almost always sending our gut into agony.

Just say no to the pastry, pies, and the processed. While the Paleo Diet prescribes an 85:15 Rule allowing for the occasional cheat or Paleo treat, we say go for the fruit platter! You’ll still get a chance to sample a variety without the unnecessary digestive problems when your gut works overtime.

7. Think ‘Balance’

The hardest to stick to during the holidays – it is often the most important.

To keep digestive disorders and irritabilities at bay, try to make the time to exercise at least 3 times/week (a brisk 20 minute walk is better than nothing!).

This will let you just fly through numbers 1-6 and enjoy the Holidays without indigestion and gut-related stresses like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux and all the rest. Because nobody wants those as surprise gifts at Christmas dinner.

Happy Holidays, All!

@PaleoWired
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Sanja JovanovicSanja Jovanovic is a co-founder of PALEO WIRED – a site dedicated to GATHER the best and latest paleo recipes & information to share with you, to inspire you to EAT the deliciousness of those recipes and creations and to REPEAT each day.  Because we’re all going to eat something anyway, might as well make it something that our bodies will thank us for!

REFERENCES

[1] Gershon, M. D. The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine. New York: HarperCollins; 1998. 336p.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”; Metabolism of Antioxidant in Lemon Fruit (Citrus limon BURM. F.) by Human Intesetinal Bacteria; Yoshiaki Miyake et al.; 1997.

[4] Chen CL, Liu TT, Yi CH, Orr WC. Evidence for altered anorectal function in irritable bowel syndrome patients with sleep disturbance. Digestion. 2011;84(3):247-51. PMID: 21952561.

[5]Koziolek M, Grimm M, Becker D, Iordanov V, Zou H, Shimizu J, Wanke C, Garbacz G, Weitschies W. Investigation of pH and Temperature Profiles in the GI Tract of Fasted Human Subjects Using the Intellicap® System.  J Pharm Sci. 2014 Nov 19. PMID: 25411065.

[6] Lallès JP. Intestinal alkaline phosphatase: novel functions and protective effects. Nutr Rev. 2014 Feb;72(2):82-94. PMID: 24506153.

[7] Ramnani P, Gaudier E, Bingham M, van Bruggen P, Tuohy KM, Gibson GR. Prebiotic effect of fruit and vegetable shots containing Jerusalem artichoke inulin: a human intervention study. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jul;104(2):233-40. PMID: 20187995.

[8] Ibid.

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