a special feature from Debra Orringer*, Nutritionist & Health Coach
So the holidays are over and another season of festivals, family, and food binges are beginning to wind down. Quite possibly, the following scenarios could be all too familiar in your life. You feel physically and emotionally drained, depressed and anxious at the same time. You are tired and wired and not able to sleep with abnormally high cravings for salty and sweet foods of holiday season. Worst of all, your routine is all over the place and you feel like you’re in a general fog, and maybe all the stress and the fatigue is simply overwhelming.
What you are feeling is totally normal and while the sensation of being overwhelmed is almost paralyzing, there is an end in sight. That’s the good news. It’s a new year and instead of focusing on the past few months, let’s put that focus and energy into the present with a fresh commitment and approach to your health.
As an integrative health coach, advocate and nutritional expert, I have ten tips that will help your body feel like the last two months never happened. It’s a total reboot just for you!
- Stop. – Take a breath and look around you. The situation of the last couple of months is what it is, so stop beating yourself up. Stop trying to control everything that is not in your control and stop dwelling on it. All of that can lead to even more stress. If you feel the days are overwhelming you, it’s okay to sit still for even five minutes and do some deep calming breathing – in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Make a list. – Do a brain dump into a list of what you want or need to get done. Take ten minutes to do this or the over analysis starts to take over. Time yourself. Making a list of your priorities from a-z can seem daunting when you look at the list but when you start to check things off you have a huge sense of accomplishment.
- Get some sleep. You may think, I have too much to do and I have no time for sleep. Do it anyway. As suggested in tip #1, just STOP and breathe. Get back on a regular sleep schedule. Try to get your 7 hours because if you don’t, then it may turn into a total collapse of exhaustion and you won’t be able to get out of bed for days. Been there and done that. Not fun. And that adds more stress because you haven’t been able to do anything and your mind won’t stop turning about everything you have to do that you have no energy to do!
- Reorganize your food choices. This means get rid of the processed sugar and carbs. Cut out the junk foods and the white sugars and get back into your plate of colorful whole foods. Some refer to this as the Adrenal Diet, but to me it’s just common sense. The more whole foods and real foods you eat, the more nutrients your body gets. The more nutrients your body gets, the easier the ability to flood your internal systems with the fuel they need to be healthy again. As we reorganize the food choices, that means we have more room for the healthier options loaded with vitamins and minerals and less room for the junk. When your systems are getting their fill, the hormones start to balance again and the internal systemic inflammation starts to go away. #HealthySnowballEffect
- Get your B’s. That is, your B-Vitamins. The B vitamins are known as the stress vitamin. B vitamins have been known to positively affect certain neurotransmitters in the body and release serotonin (the feel good hormone), which helps us cope with anxiety, depression and stress. Foods high in B’s are wild salmon, eggs, nutritional yeast, lentils, spinach and mushrooms. (I’m getting hungry now!)
- Adatogens – are herbs and other substances known to help with anxiety, depression and stress. Adaptogenic herbs don’t alter mood, but help the body function optimally during stressful times. Examples of some more common adaptogens to add to our daily diet would be: ginseng, holy basil, reishi mushrooms, and licorice roots.
- Protein – Our entire bodies are made up of protein, and during holiday times it seems we are in a constant state of over-carb-sumption and missing out on the protein we need to help heal and fuel our bodies. Proteins are involved in most bodily processes so it’s important to consume healthy proteins daily to prevent protein deficiency. Healthier options are grass fed beef, organic chicken, bone broth, and even black beans for those that choose not to eat animal based foods.
- Fresh fruit – During the winter time getting readily available fresh fruit can seem a daunting task, but fruit is an important part of your diet. To keep a seasonal diet and still get the nutrients you need from fruits during the winter months, think about trying new fruits that are more “wintery” in nature. Apples are a great option. Also adding some extra vegetables can get you the same nutrient response as those summer fruits. Cabbage, brussel sprouts, and even winter squash are loaded with nutrients and flavor.
- Power breakfast – Super charge your mornings with easy and healthy meals. If you think about it, you’ve been fasting for almost 8 hours or so. Your body is hungry and fueling it with optimal nutrition will really set a healthy tone for the day. Think steel cut oats with walnuts and blueberries. Or how about a quinoa berry parfait as it has maybe 1/3 the sugar the typical parfait’s have and it’s loaded with almost 25 grams of protein. Another yummy example is scrambling some fresh eggs with chia and flaxseeds.
- Up the water intake. – The majority of people are running on a level of dehydration and as a society we don’t drink nearly enough water that we need to help flush the toxins out of the body and keep the systems running smoothly. Like a lube oil filter for the car, water keeps the circulatory system on track. As a general rule of thumb, you want to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily
I am setting forth a bit of a challenge here: try jump-starting your new year with these ten simple tips. You can make an effort to incorporate one or two every few days and you’ll notice your stress may start to decrease and your energy level will start to go up. What have you got to lose?
Now for that Quinoa Berry Parfait to power up your morning:
Combine the following:
- 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (Siggi’s is my personal favorite)
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon (has anti-inflammatory properties)
- Using 1/4 cup blueberries and 9 walnuts, create layers of the quinoa/yogurt mixture, blueberries and nuts in a glass.
CALORIES: 328, PROTEIN: 25 grams
“Being Healthy Doesn’t Have To Be Hard”
*Debra Orringer, MS from Naples, FL, is a Holistic Health Coach and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with over 20 years in the industry. She has managed the wellness programs at the Kennedy Space Center as well as consulted for several national fitness companies, authored articles, and retains a myriad of advanced level certifications. Debra produces a nutritional blog weekly at www.DebraOrringer.com and can be reached at DebOo@DebraOrringer.com