The holidays are here, like...NOW. Get excited because ’tis the season to bust out the candy canes, the lights, the peppermint everything, and the super tacky decorations.
Lettuce commence the warming of the ovens for all of the crazy delish eats we’ll be stuffing in our faces.
'Tis a time known for feeling jolly, full, excited, uplifted, blahdy blah. Let's be honest for a hot sec. This certainly isn't a time of year known as being the healthiest time of the year. But stress you shall not. You can and will enjoy the festivities without going overboard!
1. Start the day with a green smoothie. Make it a big one, will ya?
Smoothies are not only an AHH-MAZING way to get your daily servings of fruits and veggies, but they're also high in water, fiber, phytonutrients, and are just downright mighty delicious. Super easy for our bodies to digest, they readily detoxify our bodies for the holiday gorging that lies ahead. I mean c’mon…we know we’re gonna have a a slice or three slices of grammy’s famous pie.
Making a green smoothie at home is fast, easy, cheap, and humbelieveably beneficial. Add a cup of leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, or chard to your smoothie for a large nutrient enhancement. Even adding other green veggies such as cucumber, celery, peas, and broccoli is an adventurous way to get your morning boost.
There are also an infinite number of superfood add-ins with which to boost your super-charged green smoothie. Try adding flax seeds, oatmeal, or chia seeds for a boost of fiber and protein. For an antioxidant and immune boost, add cacao, acai, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, or even green tea. For a boost of potassium and healthy fats (and an oh so creamy smoothie), slip in a fourth an avocado or a tablespoon of hemp seeds. Find a plant-powdered protein powder that you love. My favorite is Vega One, Vega Protein + Greens, or Skoop B Strong.
I like putting all my smoothie ingredients in plastic baggies ahead of time and freezing them for the week so I can dump the contents in the Nutribullet, add almond milk and blend away in the morning. Byeeeee cereal!
So basically friends, go green or go home!
2. Plan ahead with food prep.
Give yourself a break this year by planning ahead! Doing meal prep in advance can lead to an overall healthier meal that last minute food decisions may not always allow. Plus, it can lower our stress levels by 8374% (thank tha Lawd). A week before your big holiday meal, write down the courses and choose the dishes you want to have. A few days before, go ham at the grocery store and make sure you have all of the needed ingredients…no last minute run to the overcrowded, mile-long checkout lines store this year. No sir-ee. A day or two before, prepare the dishes that will stay fresh and deeelish overnight. The day of the meal, prepare what still needs preparing, and then sit back, relax with the fam, and treat yo’self to a glass of wine because babe, you’re a holiday superstar.
To give you the lil’ bitta help you deserve, here are some holiday recipes that are healthy, delicious, nutrient-rich twists on everyone's favorite holiday staples. For some delicious main dishes try prepping this Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta or Fall Vegetable Baked Spaghetti with Pumpkin Tofu Ricotta. On the side, dive into this Healthy Green Bean Casserole---basically your fam's fave typical casserole...but healthy. Some other no-fail side dishes include this Curried Brussels Sprout Salad, Sweet Potato, Lentil, & Kale Salad, and this Hearty Vegan Stuffing. Finally, for ALL the sweet teeth, some desserts you can prepare a couple days in advance are Paleo Pumpkin Bars, Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Chickpea Blondies with Maple Glaze, and these yummy Apple Oatmeal Bars. Get to preppin', yo!
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Yeah, we’ve all heard it, but I’m here to tell you again. Exercise is a crazy important aspect of keeping a healthy lifestyle. No. Questions. Asked. Our bodies are meant to mooove! Keeping up with an exercise routine is life changing and much easier than keeping up with the Kardashians. Working out boosts your immune system, improves metabolism, relieves stress, and increases energy---all things important to life in general, but especially important during the crazy holiday season.
I am not saying you have to go out and train like a triathlete. (If you do so happen to be a triathlon superstar, please let me bow down to you right now.) Simply find a few modes of exercise that you enjoy and that fit into your already crazy busy life, and stick with them! Take a jog one day, a long walk the next day, and even utilize a nearby YMCA or exercise center to take part in fun classes like cycling, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, etc. Whatever level you’re at, and whatever works best for you, make sure to do it regularly so that you reap all the benefits. Just do it (this blog post not sponsored by Nike). But seriously, just do it.
4. Embrace balance.
We so often forget that life should be, and is meant to be, a balancing act. I know that I am on a constant trapeze tiptoeing between work and play, between spending time at a friend’s/family’s social event or doing more blog/Alchemy work, running that extra mile or giving myself a break, enjoying those three extra cookies or cutting myself off. This balance of work with play and discipline with indulgence can be stressful and confusing. Let yourself have the balance that you deserve this holiday season.
The holidays are a perfect time to indulge and give yourself a break! See all yo frands, spend all the time with your fam, and eat all the tasty things. NO WORRIES. Hakuna matata. You can do all of these things while still sticking with your healthy lifestyle! Wake up in the morning with a green smoothie and an exercise that makes you glow, do the work that needs to be done, make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients, and then treat yo’self. Sticking with these healthful actions and supplementing your diet with beneficial vitamins and nutrients will keep you on track, on your game, and feeling joyous this holiday season.
5) Sneak in a supplement.
Let's be real. December is not the month of vitamins and minerals. Like hiiiii fifty three million Christmas cookies! A clean supplement is a nice way to ensure that you're still getting the critical nutrients your body needs, even if your food intake isn't necessarily on point. I recently had the opportunity to learn all about a company called Pure Encapsulations, a high quality line of hypoallergenic supplements.
Unlike most supplements on the market, all of their products go through extensive product testing including verification of label claims, potency, and purity by 3rd-party laboratories. This is a very expensive process that's not legally required in America, so I have a huge amount of respect for companies that go through this verification. They're tested for potency, identity, 32 solvent residues, microbial contaminants, heavy metals, aflatoxins, and more. All of their fish and krill oil products are tested for dioxins and PCBs. All products are non-GMO and have no added artificial colors or flavors. Dreamy!
In a world where supplements are literally not regulated AT ALL (they're all basically innocent until proven guilty), this is a HUGE breathe of fresh air. I'm been loving their B12, vitamin D, and their multivitamin. Let's chat about why!
These products have the highest quality ingredients (in their most bioavailable forms) and are created to provide strengths and dosing consistent with clinical experience and double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. This is the gold standard of research design---I know from all those grad school classes, trust me! Pure Encapsulations is NSF-GMP registered in the U.S, GMP certified in Canada and exceeds the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) for supplement manufacturing. It doesn't get much cleaner than this, folks. In fact, only licensed health care professionals can order from Pure Encapsulations.
B12 is critical for plant-based eaters because it's only found in animal products and a deficiency can actually cause irreversible nerve damage. For those of us who don’t eat many animal products, we lack B12 since those organisms get washed off the plants we eat. On the days where I don't eat products fortified with B12, I do take a supplement. Methylcobalamin is a highly bioavailable form of B12 that has enhanced ability to support neurological function.
Most of us are likely deficient in vitamin D, especially in the winter. We know that vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and retention, which supports healthy bones and cardiovascular and cellular health. While typical daily recommendations have been 4000-800 iu daily, many experts believe that 1,000 iu daily is optimal. Go vitamin D!
I don't typically take a multivitamin but when I feel less than fabulous about getting in my fruits and veggies, this is the one I take. It has a comprehensive profile of highly bioavailable vitamins, fully-chelated minerals and antioxidants to support optimal health.
So drink your veggies, prepare some good eats, get moving, stay balanced, and sneak in a supplement if need be. Happy hummus holidays!
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This post is sponsored by Pure Encapsulations. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Hummusapien.