5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Holiday Season

Lights, Caroling, Eggnog, that weird platter of cookies your Aunt always brings over, all these things remind us of that “Most Wonderful Time” of the year. Unfortunately, the holiday season does a lot more for us than simply reuniting us with loved ones. It takes a toll on our workouts, waistlines, and willpower to stay healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays just as much as the next person, so here are a few things you didn’t know about the Holiday season, and how to avoid becoming closer to Santa’s waistline this year.

  1. 1 cup of traditional stuffing has roughly the same sugar content as 1 can of soda/pop/coke.

While I was raised in Ohio, I spent several years in Texas, where it was not called a “pop”, and certainly not a “soda”.  Call it what you will, stuffing, which is primarily made of simple carbohydrates, converts to sugar about 5 seconds after it hits your tongue.

  1. The average person gains approximately 1 lb. between Thanksgiving and New Years. 

            This may seem minute, but if the average person gains 1 lb per year during just this time, between ages 10 and 50, you would have gained 40lbs. during just this time!  Let me assure you, this is typically not 1lb of solid muscle either, as sugar consumption peaks at this time too.

  1. The average person consumes between 20-30 lbs of sugar during this time.

Not only is sugar the culprit, but most conventional meals are made with boxed foods loaded with additives.  This is where the extra pounds come from.  Wonder how that can be?  Take a look, most all of these common items are packed with sugar!

  1. 90 days!

The Holiday Season is not just Thanksgiving to New Years, but all the “special” days of the year, which if you were to add up the Birthdays, Holidays, Events, Anniversaries, Vacation Days, etc, days that we put our health on the backburner total to about 90 days per year!  That is roughly 25% of your life. Wayyy too many days to be completely slacking on your health, which is why lifestyle induced disease ranks highest in America of any developed nation.

  1. Flu season just so happens to fall during this time, and it has nothing to do with a “bug”.

Your immune system is what keeps you healthy.  The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, aside from the sugar, is a time of very high stress, not to mention a time when gyms are commonly empty.  These things coupled together: poor diet, lack of exercise, high stress, and excessive couch time lead to a compromised immune system. 

Staying Healthy for the Holidays

            Don’t worry- there are a few things you can do to make sure you are thriving and healthy throughout not just the holidays, but all year round.  There are 5 key essentials to accomplishing this. 

  1. Mindset

            Planning is everything when it comes to a crazy holiday season.  Without scheduling out specific times to shop for healthy food, cook, and exercise, you are as good as done.  Write a schedule every Sunday night, outlining your week’s routine, or war plan.  Setting times to take care of yourself will increase your chances of sticking with your schedule and staying healthy.

           For example, set three times per week that you have to and must exercise, no matter what is going on.  You can finish your paper, or yardwork, or call after this time.  You will begin to schedule around your priorities, which have a way of escaping us through the daily trials of life. 

 

  1. Boost Your Immune System

This starts by taking care of your spine.  Your immune system is regulated by your nervous system.   Your spine houses and protects your nervous system, allowing proper brain body communication.  The toll that work and life take on our spine is seen visually by poor posture, and eventually by arthritis.  It is felt when function decreases to the point when we begin to experience pain, headaches, lowered immunity, chronic illness, delayed recovery time, etc.  In fact, research has been done showing that all measures of health status decrease as posture and the health of our spine worsens. 

            As a doctor of chiropractic, an chiropractic adjustment is performed to realign the spine, improve posture, and promote proper nervous system function.  While most think it is simply for pain, or sore backs, research shows the results are far reaching.  Your spine houses all the nerves in your body as they run their course, so problems here affect more than just your spine and surrounding musculature.  Patients who have been adjusted for more than 5 years have immune system function that is 200% of that of a normal person.  An adjustment increases interleukin II in the body, which is your body’s defense against viral/bacterial infection.

 

  1. Optimize your Vitamin D Levels

            Vitamin D is highly essential to immune and nervous system function.  Our bodies obtain Vitamin D from sun exposure.  The skin area that can absorb the most Vitamin D is the abdomen.  It takes about 30 minutes of direct sun exposure per day to keep your body’s Vitamin D levels normal.  So, unless you are getting 30 minutes of sun exposure per day, odds are that you are deficient in Vitamin D.  It doesn’t take a blood test to know that.  Taking about 5,000IU of Vitamin D daily will help your body function at its maximum.

  1. Maximize Healthy Nutrients in Your Body

Don’t stick with the status quo of old recipes, boxed food, and canned cranberries.  During the holidays look up new ways to recreate healthy versions of old recipes. 

Maximized Living’s Recipe Vault has many re-creations of classic holiday foods that are both healthy and delicious.  Whatever you decide to cook, follow these simple tips. 

– Avoid refined grains like white flour, bread, pasta.

– Use healthy oil like coconut oil to cook instead of canola

– Purchase grass-fed or organic meat products.  The additional cost is worth it.       

            – Drink more water. During winter there is less humidity in the air, stripping your body of water faster than normal.

 

  1. Hit the Gym!

Even if it is a 10 minute home workout before bed, make it a point to huff-and-puff in some sort of activity daily.  Exercise, especially high-intensity workouts, increases the amount of oxygen in your body on a cellular level.  Oxygen is vital to a healthy body.  Cancer, for example, cannot grow in oxygen rich environments.  The more you get into your body, the healthier you will be.

Harvard research has actually shown that exercise is more effective than antidepressants for your mood!! 

Dr. Lee Thomas, an Ohio native, has received advanced training in chiropractic technique and structurally corrective protocols from top clinics throughout the U.S. and Canada.  As a Maximized Living Doctor, he is also certified in nutrition, exercise and cellular detoxification.  Along with his wife, Tristan, his goal is to empower families and athletes to live radically healthy lives.  He is the owner of Riverside Family Chiropractic in Powell, OH, which is scheduled to have a grand opening December 16th, 2013.

Riverside Family Chiropractic- 10248 Sawmill Pkwy., Powell, OH 43235