Can you believe Thanksgiving is this week?! I sure can’t, but I am undoubtably excited for the start of the holiday season. Not only do I love the holidays (the music, the lights, the gift giving, cookie making…), but it is my son Alexander’s first holiday season and I am so very excited to start special traditions with him and enjoy my friends and family in the fireside coziness, bundled up for all of the November and December festivities.
And while each year, the holidays bring the promise of wonderful feelings, emotions, and festive experiences... many of us spend this time stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and in the blink of an eye we have missed what we intended to be a fulfilling and warming two months. So, I crafted a 14 page Holiday Survival Guide to help you stay healthy and happy during the season... and enjoy everything you wish to. It is about achieving balance between indulging and healthful eating, the festivities and rest, and achieving an overall wonderful season. I have it available in my shop, but there were a few extra tid bits that were not included in the guide that I wanted to share with you below. Plus, a recipe!
On Staying Healthy
Maintaining great health during the winter months is important as our immune systems become more vulnerable as the temperatures drop while colds and flu are abound. If you can manage to keep your health strong, you will inevitably have more energy as well, and this contributes to having a better, more positive outlook on the holidays. On the other hand, if you feel awful and sluggish it is hard to enjoy anything. In my guide I have several tips on how to have a healthy and balanced holiday. You should be able to enjoy your favorite foods and feel great too. Below are some extra tips on how to do so.
Have some protein for breakfast, especially following an indulgent evening. Protein helps balance your blood sugar, and keeping your blood sugar in check is imperative to feeling balanced, grounded, and regulating your eating habits. One thing many people don't recognize is that when their blood sugar is out of whack (brought on by eating too many sweets, consuming too much caffeine/alcohol, and/or stressing), self control around food practically does not exist. Your blood sugar shoots ups during these events and then plummets, and you are left desperate to shove anything in your mouth. Hello college years when you can't eat enough bagels the morning after you drank too much. Yeah, thats your blood sugar talking. BUT, the good news is you can help yourself out by starting off the day with a balanced breakfast and including some protein with it. Protein and fiber are your heroes in helping to balance blood sugar, and of course you want to get in as many nutrient dense foods as possible to fuel and satisfy your body. Here are some great protein rich breakfast ideas:
-Poached or baked eggs with kale and lemon
-Oatmeal with almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, & chia seeds
-Organic cottage cheese with avocado, salt, and pepper
-Rice cake with avocado and smoked salmon
-Green smoothie with green protein powder (i.e. amazing grass) or spirulina
-Hard boiled eggs with fruit
-Quinoa porridge with coconut and oranges
-Organic yogurt with berries and bee pollen
On Staying Happy
Get a good nights rest. The transition from fall to winter naturally has our bodies craving more rest and more sleep. The days are shorter, our shift in melatonin levels can lead to less energy, and on top of a natural slow down, you are probably engaging in many holiday parties and activities. Your sleep can save your sanity. Start by making it a priority to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal. Then try to increase this to an hour. After several days you will wake up feeling more refreshed and uplifted. Next, turn off or leave all electronics outside of your bedroom. Read a book, talk with your partner, light some candles, or sip some herbal tea instead of being virtually connected. Everyone needs time to connect with their inner being, and the over abundance of electronics and screens hinders this mind/body connection. Put down your iPhone, wind down from the day, enjoy being alive, and get some sleep.
Plan and dream for 2016. A great way to lift your mood is to start identifying what your dreams are and putting them toward actualization. Spend some down time looking forward to plan and dream for the road ahead. What is it that you want out of life? What is your dream job? What do you want to more of? Less of? Try journaling, as I am a big believer that when you write it down it starts the momentum to turning whatever it is into reality, and spend time making plans for what you really want. Be specific and write what feels true. I just receivedthis planner in the mail, and have been in love and using it like crazy.
And so, I promised you a recipe. This is a bonus recipe (there are 6 featured in theHoliday Survival Guide) this is one of my personal favs. This is a coconut milk caramel sauce, sweetened with coconut sugar and honey. Its delicious. I hope you enjoy it during the holidays as a healthier alternative to its refined sugar version or the store bought variety. If you are interested in the other wholesome and delicious holiday recipes that are featured in the Holiday Survival Guide, a few include: vegan curried pumpkin soup, raw chocolate walnut fudge, and peppermint hot cocoa. And they are amazing :)
Coconut Milk Caramel Sauce
by Stephanie Horning
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
¾ cup coconut milk (full fat from the can)
¾ cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of sea salt
¼ cup organic or grass-fed butter
Place coconut milk fat, coconut sugar, and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering for 10 minutes. Allow caramel sauce to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sea salt and butter until completely dissolved.