This year for Thanksgiving we went to visit family in New Orleans. If you’ve ever been, you know that New Orleans is one of the only cities in America that has its own dialect, its own music, and its own food—rich spicy fried deliciousness! It is also a city that encourages day drinking and in fact, some might even say it is expected! It is the Big Easy after all. So as not to break with tradition, I jumped right in! I had a fried green tomato po’ boy, a veggie muffuletta sandwich, and the best filé Gumbo I’ve ever had. And that was just the first 2 days! While I truly enjoyed myself, it was no surprise that at the end of my 8 days, I had gained 5 pounds and a wicked sinus infection! Ah, love the holidays!
The next 6 weeks are a challenging time for most of us. Between the holiday parties, eating out more often, drinking alcohol, many people celebrating and eating with more than one side of the family, the leftovers, the cookies, the candy, and the pies, we decide not to worry about any of that and figure we’ll start Weight Watchers and hit the gym in January 1st. The thing is…gaining weight isn’t our only concern. We have now increased our toxic load during cold and flu season.
Think of your body as a rain barrel. When we drink alcohol, eat cheat meals, don’t get enough sleep, and are stressed, we are slowly filling our own personal rain barrel. One day or two days of filling it won’t really matter, but if we spend 6 weeks filling our barrel, it will begin to run over. And when it runs over—we get sick. A cheat meal, or extra food you wouldn’t normally have, bread, alcohol, anything with high calories, raises our glucose levels. And blood sugar spikes can lead to drink munchies and low blood sugar the next morning–leading to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Alcohol can disrupt our circadian rhythms and our sleep. And getting adequate sleep is imperative to not getting sick.
So how can we still enjoy all of the festivities this holiday season and not overfill our barrel? If you go to a holiday party and drink a few, or a few too many, or if you enjoy a hearty cheat meal…give your body a rest. What’s the best way to do that? Do a “one-day reset” the next day. Give your body some “quiet time” with nothing further coming in—so it can focus on getting rid of the effects of a cheat meal, the alcohol, or both! The following PDF is my favorite naturopathic guru, Dr. Stephen Cabral’s 24-hour reset!
You can also go out and have a great time with either no drinking or just one drink! My favorite trick is to have a glass of water with a squeeze of lime and a splash of cranberry first. It’s refreshing and hydrating. And it’s one less drink than I would’ve had! My first drink is water, the second drink is alcohol, the third drink is water, etc. And Sometimes I don’t drink at all.
Another great tip is to do a quick work out beforehand. Just do Tabata, squats, lunges, push up’s, or a quick 5-minute circuit, twice. This will allow your body to absorb sugar, not gain as much body fat, and reduce inflammation. And it’s great to know that it doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym to be effective!
And finally, we need to stop pushing ourselves too far in one direction. This time of year we tend to ask too much of ourselves. And constant stress can make us sick! Everyone needs quiet time–alone time. Meditate, do yoga, take a nap, or go for a walk. Jesus spent time in silence and solitude. It’s how he dealt with the constant demands of HIS ministry and cared for HIS soul. By doing these things, we serve not only ourselves, but we also serve HIM when we remember that HE is the Reason for the Season.