The holiday season brings no shortage of family gatherings, work parties, secret Santa exchanges with friends and all the yummy food, drinks and treats that come along with the festivities. It’s the season for relaxing, reflecting, indulging and connecting with loved ones, even if the only way to do so is over zoom. I love gingerbread and eggnog as much as the next person, but after having them everyday for 2 weeks straight, my body definitely starts to give me signs that it needs a break: I’ll start to feel sluggish, anxious, my skin might be breaking out and my brain is definitely a little foggy. But there’s a way to enjoy all the holiday goodness without feeling deprived or like you over-indulged.
Remember that you can indulge in your favourite foods and drinks all year round, and that you don’t need a specific holiday to do so. This way you take the pressure off of feeling like you have to eat as many cookies as you can this month because you won’t be able to the rest of the year. When your favourite foods are a part of your everyday life, it’s easier to eat them in moderation when you’re around them. You can also find more nourishing recipes of your favourite foods, like naturally sweetened gingerbread cookies, vegan hot chocolate or gluten free shortbread! Sweets and treats made with whole food ingredients are much more nourishing and tend to leave you feeling energized, compared to the sugar crash we’re used to around this time of year.
Get creative in the kitchen and lean into plant-based cooking! There’s so many delicious blogs and cookbooks full of vegan and vegetarian recipes that make vegetables taste better than you could ever imagine. You’re plate will be full of insanely delicious food that also just so happens to be full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. You’ll feel full and satisfied, but also energized and nourished on a cellular level.
Another way to feel healthy and radiant during the holiday season is to play with your exercise routine! December tends to be the busiest month of the year for a lot of people, so there’s a good chance you’ll have less time and energy to commit to working out. So try weaving physical activity into your everyday: go on walks to catch up with friends, try skating or cross-country skiing as a Christmas activity to do with family, or hit the beach if you’re lucky enough to be living in a warmer climate. Do your usual exercises when you have the time and motivation, but don’t sweat it if you’re feeling less active than normal!
No matter what, remember that this is a time for you to take a break, recover from the year, plan for the upcoming one and spend time with your favourite people. Do what makes you feel good…which for me includes gluten-free snickerdoodles, pilates, vegan eggnog, long zoom talks with my family and a dinner plate full of vegetables :)
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.
photo by @samantheeyo