Article originally published on NutritionAsRx.com.
1. Don’t Be a Wimp About Food
Stop succumbing to the pressures of having to eat everything that’s available. The big payoff comes later when you realize how good you will feel from not eating too much or eating wimpy, overly carbed, sugary stuff that makes you feel like fluff. Take adult responsibility for what goes in your mouth. Eat only foods that nourish the body. There is no downside here. Period.
2. Start Eating Right Today
Why wait until after the holidays? Start training your dietary habits just as you would training in the gym. Everyday we need to move our bodies, everyday we need to get the proper nutrients. In fact, nutrition is especially important for athletes since we inflict loads of stress on ourselves in the gym everyday.
3. Hydrate Well
Make sure you are well hydrated before having your meal and throughout the day. Only use filtered water. If you don’t have a filtration device at home, it would be a good low cost investment. Go into the meal already hydrated, then stay away from the H2o during the meal. Start drinking water again about 30 minutes after eating.
4. Take the Whole Foods Route
By being a food predator, you only eat what walks, runs, swims, grows or flies. It is extremely satisfying to eat foods that are natural and minimally processed. No need to go hungry if you are eating full fat. Naturally occurring fats are satiating and just make you feel good.
Why spend all that time in the gym working hard just to sabotage it with a couple of weeks of detrimental eating? Eat well balanced meals consisting of fresh vegetables, a protein such as fish, meat, chicken, beans and rice, healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, fat from pastured animals or grass fed butter. Don’t be a low fat eater, that’s so 90’s! Make your nutritional protocol personal and sustainable for everyday, including holidays.
5. Alcohol and Hangovers
Handle this like an adult. Some people can tolerate it better than others. It’s of course best to drink after heavy meals since absorption will be much slower.
Hangover tonic. Support your hardworking liver. Try a nice cup of peppermint or ginger tea. Make your own fresh, or purchase tea bags. They both work. Eat anything with unsweetened beets since they are a great liver detoxifier and inflammation reducer. Beet roots are great to have before a known drinking bout. All bitter tasting foods are very supportive of the liver. Foods like arugula, dandelion leaves and kale, hydrate and stimulate bile production. Coffee increases bile flow and dilates blood vessels. Even hoppy beer! For a really bad hangover try activated charcoal for quick detox. Don’t forget my favorite: Bone broth. This cures everything. Bone broth contains all essential amino acids. Make your own or purchase the new flavored bone broth powders from Ancient Nutrition.
Get into Vitamin C- A little extra VC supplementation is always a good thing this time of year. Vitamin C is a super micronutrient that does many helpful things when it gets into the body. From antibacterial to antioxidant, this one vitamin can actually prevent or minimize the usual wintertime crud that seems to be going around. I recommend supplementing with a 1,000mg tablet a day of Vitamin C with rose hips. Triple this if you think you are getting sick.
6. Digestive Help
Take protease enzyme supplements (breaks down protein) such as bromelain or papain, or a teaspoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar after a heavy protein meal to speed up the digestive process and assist in amino acid absorption. Take the time to chew and relax while eating.
Observe your poop. Yes, a healthy poop is a sign of good hydration and nutritional health. If you don’t know what I mean take a look at Melissa Ramos’s TED Talk on poop. She explains it better than anyone.
7. Finally… be grateful for what you have.
Have gratitude for the freedom of being able to enjoy healthy foods and having the resources and knowledge available to make the right choices. Savor those meals with friends and family, and manage stress. Just as with nutrition and exercise, stress management is right up there. Take time to breathe.