5 Easy Tips to Prevent that Holiday Weight Gain

The holiday season for many of us is a busy, food-filled time of the year that can be both joyful and extremely stressful — particularly when it comes to the dreaded holiday weight gain that haunts so many of us.

But this time of the year should be joyous and you should be able to enjoy the parties without feeling the extra stress and worry of weight gain. Here are a few of our favorite holiday weight gain prevention tips. Keep them in mind to help you stay fit and healthy during the holidays.

1. Keep Eating
No matter what happens at the many holiday and office parties and gatherings with lots of food, keep eating. Keep eating means stay on schedule and don’t let these gatherings knock you off track. The biggest issue I see with both Rebooters and clients is the meal skipping that goes on around holiday gatherings, either pre- or post. A few skipped meals can lead to extreme hunger and overeating, which can snowball into a terrible pattern of overly large meals and periods of severe hunger, neither of which lend themselves to weight maintenance.

Stay on track by continuing with your three meals and one or two snacks, even when you know you’ll be going to a party, and even when you know you ate too much the night before. Getting back on track will help keep your weight in check.

2. Keep Moving
One of the best ways to keep weight in check is by moving; however, with the hectic holidays upon us, I often find that movement is one of the first things to get off the calendar. It starts by missing regular gym classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings due to holiday parties and then that can snowball into weeks with lack of movement.

Stay on track and do yourself a favor by scheduling time for your workout (or simple movement) like you would schedule a holiday party (in black ink in your calendar). Remember that walking around the office, taking the stairs, standing while working – it all counts. Even if it’s only for 10-20 minutes (try our 20 minute do anywhere workout), staying active will help to keep your schedule on track and your waistline whittled. After all, it’s much easier to maintain than to start from scratch.

3. Stay Prepared
Don’t let yourself get so busy that you forget to do the things you need to do to stay on track like stocking your cabinet and pantry with healthy food and snacks. It’s key to make sure you’re able to keep up with purchasing healthy foods and keeping your cabinets stocked and ready to go for continued success throughout the holidays. Stay on track by setting time aside to grocery shop, or even better to prepare foods you can freeze or store in the fridge like soups, stews, hummus, juices and smoothies. Need inspiration? We have tons of recipes.

Need ideas? Check out our 10 favorite pantry staples.

4. Food-Forgive Yourself
Food forgiveness is perhaps one of the most important aspects to staying on track (during the holidays and all of the time). After all, we’re not perfect, so the likelihood that we’ll end up having something we were hoping to avoid, especially during a time when treats and high calorie foods are prevalent, is more than likely. I find that those who are able to recognize that they had something they were hoping to avoid, and then let it go are more likely to be successful with their plan longer term.

Stay on track by practicing letting it go. This doesn’t meant that you should go out and eat foods that are sugar and calorie filled and let it go all the time, but it does mean that when you have the intention to stay on track and you slip, that you let it go. This is so important because feeling guilty about choices made can cause a snowball effect into making other poor choices, so really, let it go.

5. Just Breathe 
This may seem impossible at such a busy time of year, but it’s crucial that you take time to de-stress, relax and put your feet up even if it’s only for five minutes. Taking time to relax can not only help you stay on track with your plan, but can help prevent stress-related eating, mindlessness and making poor food decisions. Remember that many times when we eat it’s out of stress, not hunger.

Stay on track by practicing yoga, meditating, or simply by putting your feet up and closing your eyes or by doing whatever else relaxes you. Finding time to relax even at the busiest time of year can really help to promote making good choices and can help you enjoy yourself.

Here are 13 ways to get back on track when you’re feeling sluggish after the holidays!

The Good Side of Salt

What if I told you that there was a positive benefit to including salt in your diet, and that it was absolutely imperative for your health to eat some salt? Yes, that’s right- it’s true- your body absolutely needs some salt, every single day.

The reason that salt gets such a bad rap is because we have an overabundance of salt in our everyday life. Salt is used in most packaged and processed foods as a flavor agent and as a preservative, which means we end up getting much more of it than we need. Like most things, salt in moderation is absolutely healthful, but overuse turns a good thing bad.

What does salt do in your body?

  • Regulates blood pressure.
    Water follows salt, so more salt in the blood stream means more blood volume in the blood and higher blood pressure, which to a certain extent is imperative, but in excess can cause hypertension.
  • Nerve conduction and muscle contraction.
    Salt plays an important role in sending nerve impulses for muscle contraction both for muscles you control and for muscles you don’t control like your heart and your diaphragm.
  • Maintains fluid balance.
    Sodium along with potassium work together to maintain fluid balance inside and outside of the cells in the body, also helping to maintain hydration in muscles and tissues.

How much salt should you have?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we need between 180-500 mg of sodium per day to keep our bodies working properly. Most people should aim to have between 1.5- 2 grams daily (1500-2000 mg) give or take depending on the person; however, on average, most people in the US consume about double that if not more.

How to cut back on added salt?
Following a diet of real food, cutting out artificial and processed foods will for most people allow for healthy blood pressure regulation. For any foods that you’re purchasing that are processed, read the label. Aim for lower sodium items, and of course load up on the fruits and vegetables, the healthy potassium in fruits and vegetables can counter act the effects of sodium on blood pressure; and for flavoring, use spices!

What type of salt should you use?
Each type of salt (table salt, Himalayan, sea salt) contains the same amount of sodium, but the major difference comes down to the amount of processing that each undergoes. Sea salt and other larger crystals undergo less processing than some finer-crystal salt like table salt. Another major difference is that some salt is iodized and others aren’t.

Iodine is an important nutrient that plays a role in the production of thyroid hormones and therefore is important to normal thyroid function . Iodized salt used to be the norm, but lately “designer” salts including fancy and seasoned sea salt is not fortified with iodine.  Foods that are rich in iodine include fortified foods, salt, dairy products,  and food from the sea like fish and seaweed.

When clients ask me what type of salt they should purchase I usually advise them to look for sea salt fortified with iodine if they do not consume foods that are naturally rich in it.

Key Tip: Look for minimally processed salt like sea salt, and aim for it to be fortified with iodine.

11 Teas to Sip on for Amazing Health Benefits

Whether it’s the start of winter or the beginning of summer, tea can be a nice addition to your daily ritual by providing a soothing warm (or cold!) drink and rich anti-cancer and heart-healthy benefits. There are tons of teas out there, so I’ve narrowed it down to 11 that are the most popular and why they are good to drink.

1. Black Tea
Made from fermented tea leaves, black tea contains both caffeine and tons of phytonutrients. Black tea contains nutrients called theaflavins and thearubigins, types of polyphenols that contain both antioxidants that may help to repair or prevent cellular damage and may also help to promote heart health by preventing damage to blood vessels thereby helping to also prevent stroke. Nutrients in black tea has been found to be potentially beneficial when it comes to protecting lungs from exposure to cigarette smoke and to promoting heart health. 

2. Green Tea (caffeine-containing and caffeine-free)
Green tea is made from steamed tea leaves and is high in catechins – a compound that may be more beneficial in preventing oxidative stress than certain antioxidant-containing vitamins like vitamins C and E. Catechins found in green tea may also be help prevent various types of cancer including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal and bladder. Nutrients in green tea may also promote heart health and may even play a role in preventing neurlogical disorders like alzheimers and parkinsons diseases.

3. Mint Tea (caffeine-free)
Mint tea (either in the bag or made by soaking mint leaves in hot water) may enhance digestion and soothes upset stomach as well as prevent constipation

4. Ginger Tea (caffeine-free)
Ginger contains both anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and digestive properties; therefore ginger tea may provide immune system support and may also soothe upset stomach-particularly when it comes to nausea. Ginger tea also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that block prostaglandins that can cause swelling in the brain and therefore may help to soothe headaches. 

5. Passionflower Tea (caffeine-free)
Contains anti-anxiety compound, chrysin; passionflower tea may be most beneficial if consumed before bedtime to help ease and quiet the mind. 

6. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea, a type of black tea who’s leaves are also fermented but for a shorter period of time, may boost metabolism and shares similar health benefits to black and green teas when it comes to containing antioxidants and heart-healthy benefits due to it’s catechin content. Some research suggests that oolong may raise metabolic rate for up to 2 hours post-consumption. 

7. Yerba Mate (caffeine-containing)
Yerba Mate contains a compound called mateine that may also slightly boost metabolic rate for some; yerba mate is also a rich source of antioxidants. It’s a popular item at many juice bars these days too! 

8. White tea (contains less caffeine but isn’t caffeine free)
White tea, like green tea, contains a powerful antioxidant compound called EGCG that may also play a role in boosting hormone CCK that promotes feeling of satiety. White tea also contains powerful polyphenol compounds that are also rich in antioxidants. Compounds in white tea may be beneficial in preventing various types of cancers including colon cancer. 

9. Nettle Tea (caffeine-free)
Nettle tea contains antihistamine compounds that may prevent hay fever and other allergy-driven issues; nettle tea may also help to ease allergy symptoms such as stuffy nose.

10.  Chamomile Tea (caffeine free)
Some research suggests that chamomile tea may help to promote sleep and relaxation. It’s also believed to be good for the skin due to its healing, antioxidant, cleansing and moisturizing properties. 

11. Matcha Tea
Matcha is a type of nutrient-packed, powdered green tea that is mixed using a whisk with hot water to make a tea. The benefit of matcha is that the whole leaf is consumed instead of the water steeped in the leaf which has research is suggesting that there is more nutritional benefit that other teas. Matcha tea contains loads of nutrients and antioxidants including vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and K as well as trace minerals and a family of phytonurients called catechin polyphenols. Learn everything you need to know about matcha tea. 

So what’s the best to drink?

As you can see, all of these teas have healthy benefits. In most cases, black and green tea varieties are touted for their greatest source of antioxidants and phytonutrients. This is because black and green teas are rich sources of flavonoids, a compound of nutrients also rich in antioxidants. Flavonoids have been touted for their benefit to preventing and repairing oxidative damage in the body; they may also help to prevent clotting, which may benefit heart health and prevent stroke as well.

Research suggests that people who drink 1.5 cups of black or green tea, not herbal, may be 50% less likely to have a heart attack than those who do not. Other research suggests that people who drink black, green and oolong teas are 45-65% less likely to have hypertension than those who do not.

6 Healthier Swaps for the Worst Holiday Party Foods

For most people, the holidays are a dreaded time for weight gain and falling off the health wagon, but it doesn’t have to be. This year we want you to look at this time as a time to enjoy, a time to celebrate and a time to stick to your healthy eating plan, while still having fun. To help you prepare to stay on track, we’ve highlighted some of the worst holiday party foods you might come across, and some healthier swaps to choose from. 

1. Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Actually, dips in general like buffalo chicken and that Mexican 7-layer dip that you’ve been making for years are absolutely loaded with calories, which may come as no surprise given that they are often made with full-fat dairy ingredients. Because they’re so tasty, these dips can be almost impossible pass on, but keep in mind that one serving of spinach and artichoke or seven-layer dip along with chips can add up to a whopping 400-500+ calories per serving. So do your best to avoid these dips and instead head toward healthier choices. 

Healthy Swap:
Head for the hummus or salsa. Limit your chip intake and then reach for a few carrots or celery sticks. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to find any at the party you’re headed to, offer to bring a healthier dip like the red and green options from the Rainbow Hummus or Eggplant Salsa with carrots or celery. 


2. Fried Anything
Chicken fingers, chicken wings, fried goat cheese balls, spring rolls and dumplings are some of the most common foods you’ll see at a party. They’re inexpensive and make the majority of the crowd happy. But they are loaded with calories, fat and potentially even trans fats depending on where and how they were made. The convenience of making them is why they are so appealing since you can buy them frozen at the grocery store, but healthy appetizers can be simple too!

Healthy Swap:
Head for the baked, roasted or grilled appetizers like grilled chicken and veggie skewers, or an apple with goat cheese lightly smeared on it and topped with pistachios. If you’re making your own, impress the guests with these Zucchini Macadamia Pesto Roll Ups – they are festive and taste amazing.

3. Cheese, Cheese and More Cheese
What’s a holiday party without a baked brie appetizer, a cheese and meat plate, and a cheesy sip? Cheesy appetizers are almost sure to be on the food list for your upcoming holiday parties. When you take the servings too far you will likely end up consuming way too many calories and fat, maybe even up to 500-600 calories from just one dish, and the baked brie isn’t far behind it at a whopping 200-300 calories per serving. 

Healthy Swap:
If you enjoy eating cheese at holiday parties, just be mindful of portion size. Just get one plate of apps and only put a small serving of the cheese dishes on at one time, or if you’re a “once you start you can’t stop” kind of eater, then choose the nuts instead for your dose of healthier fats. 

4. Pigs in a Blanket
Those mini hotdogs wrapped in dough are a holiday party favorite. Since they are small you feel like you can consume more than you should. But think again. Hot dogs are full of artificial ingredients and offer no nutritional benefit, not to mention they are high in calories and fat. One little pig in a blanket is about 70 calories each (and who only eats one?).  Try to avoid or at least moderate consumption of the pigs in a blanket and head for the healthier options most of the time.

Healthy Swap:
The only healthier option would be veggies wrapped in dough instead of the hot dog like these Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus Spears from One Fresh Kitchen. The dough doens’t have much on the nutrient-front either but at least you’ll be getting in a veggie.

Phyllo-wrapped Asparagus
Image from One Fresh Kitchen 

5. Winter Cocktails & Drinks
There’s nothing better than a cozy winter drink – mulled wine, eggnog and hot chocolate to name a few. Unsurprisingly, eggnog is one of the worst holiday party beverage choices as it’s packed with calories and fat; one serving can have as much as 350 calories (and that’s before you’ve even had anything to eat)– not to mention it’s loaded with sugar as well. And hot chocolate can get up there too! The mulled wine has added sweeteners but that smell might make it too hard to say no to.

Healthy Swap:
Choose one. Don’t drink the wine and the hot chocolate. Your best choice is a white wine spritzer or just to stick with water or club soda. There’s enough calories in the food so if you do indulge in eggnog, try to settle for a sip and keep moving along. Or make your own with healthier ingredients. We have a vegan eggnog and hot chocolate recipe that you will love!

6. Holiday Cookies
What’s not to love about a holiday cookie? You look forward to them all year, so the likelihood of you completely saying no to them is probably rare. There’s typically nothing healthy about them so the best tip is to enjoy the cookie but scale back on other areas – have one glass of wine instead of two, pass on the bread heavy appetizers, and reward yourself with that one cookie! But also consider bringing your own to lighten the load and show your guests that healthier sweets can be just as good as the real deal. 

Healthier Swap:
Almond Butter Kiss Cookies! Make this cookies that are only 110 calories each with only 2 grams of sugar.

Get more simple tips for how to navigate a holiday party.

7 Healing Spices from Your Kitchen Pharmacy

In the colder months, keep warming herbs in mind and ready to use in your kitchen. Some spices help with weight loss by creating heat, which revs your metabolism and improves circulation. Some herbs have properties that boost immunity and protect you from viruses. Others help soothe the stomach and digestion, fight inflammation, and even replace essential minerals. Check out this kitchen pharmacy that’s good to follow all year long. 

Cinnamon is at the top of my list for warming up and boosting the metabolism. It’s antibacterial and good for immune support during cold and flu season. Try using it as a natural sweetener in smoothies, or sprinkled on roasted squash, carrots, and root vegetables. 

Turmeric is a traditional ingredient in curry powder—it’s what gives the mixture its yellow color. Turmeric is used around the globe as an anti-inflammatory. It’s now becoming a popular means to help reduce inflammation and joint pain Try adding turmeric to your savory stews or soups. It adds color and flavor and gives a homemade touch to the store-bought kind. 

Ginger is one of my all-time favorite herbs and something that I eat almost daily. It’s known for fighting nausea, which is why as a kid you may have been given ginger ale for an upset stomach. (Sadly, most ginger ales on the market today do not contain real ginger.) It’s anti-inflammatory, relieves pain, and is warming to the body. I enjoy ginger in my green juice or smoothie. I always recommend fresh, organic ginger if you can find it. Your health food store probably has the organic kind; your grocery store has the regular kind. If you use non-organic ginger, just be sure to peel it first. Dried ginger is great to keep on hand if you need it in a pinch, but the flavor isn’t as fresh and pungent.

Nutmeg is an ingredient in pumpkin pie spice; where would we be without it at Thanksgiving? Like cinnamon, nutmeg is naturally sweet but nutty, and has antiviral properties as well. Try adding nutmeg to your vanilla smoothies for a taste similar to eggnog.

Cloves boost immunity, too, and are antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Cloves always remind me of my childhood; we used to push them into oranges to create a natural potpourri. (I still ask my son and his friends to do this every holiday.) Clove is wonderful added to stews for an exotic flavor. Use it sparingly, however; this spice is potent and a little goes a long way.

Garlic improves circulation and helps prevent blood clots, making it a natural choice for heart health. Garlic is an immune system powerhouse: it kills parasites, helps you heal, and is antibacterial and antiviral. And, of course, it adds a wonderful, pungent flavor to just about anything.

Cardamom is another spice commonly used in curry dishes. It’s actually a member of the ginger family. It’s an antioxidant, and contains potassium, magnesium, and other essential minerals. In addition to spicing up stews, try some cardamom along with cinnamon in drinking water once the weather turns cold for a warming, spicy effect.

For more seasonal facts, recipes, nutrition and healing, check out Holli’s book, Discover Your Nutritional Style.
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Why Bone Broth is Hitting the Headlines

Step aside green tea, a new warm drink is getting the spotlight. Even though it’s been around for centuries, bone broth is making headlines. And here’s why.

Cultures around the world have been boiling up the bones, cartilage and connective tissue of cows, chickens and turkeys for thousands of years for medicinal benefits in addition to a healthy diet. Some refer to it as ‘nose to tail’ eating which was always practiced traditionally as no one ever wanted to waste anything. If you think you’ve never had it before, you probably did when you were enjoying Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup – there’s a reason we have chicken soup when we are sick! Chicken soup has been consumed by many worldwide for illness and convalescence offering possible healing and regenerative properties.

So why the recent craze? It probably has to do with a little rebranding of an old classic, but here are the many reasons why bone broth is believed to be a healthy drink:

1. Heals the gut by supporting and nourishing the lining of the digestive tract
As Hippocrates said, ‘all disease begins in the gut’! Gelatine may help to heal the lining of the digestive tract by re-establishing the very fragile gastrointestinal cells that may become hyper-permeable from medications, long-term use of the oral contraceptive pill, alcohol, poor diet, stress, food intolerances and chronic gut infections combined with poor levels of good bacteria. By improving the lining you will also improve nutrient absorption.

2. Supports a healthy immune system
When our digestive systems become hyper-permeable due to these chronic irritating factors it is said that it can start a chain of events that increase the likelihood of immune-related disorders and food sensitivities. Large proteins absorb through this ultra-permeable lining that shouldn’t be and cause the immune system to attack. The broth minerals and amino acids also support a healthy immune system. Bone broth is often suggested for people who may be suffering with auto-immune diseases and allergies.

3. Supports joint tissue repair and regeneration
Tissue for tissue, this is better than any glucosamine or chondroitin tablet for the repair, regeneration of joint tissue and for the decrease in pain and discomfort. Studies have shown promise with collagen taken orally for the effective treatment of osteoarthritis.

4. Supports bone health
Again the minerals from the bone and collagen are easily re-mineralized into our bones as they are in the optimum ratio.

5. Anti-inflammatory benefits
Bone broth contains high amounts of the amino acids glycine, proline, and arginine which all have anti-inflammatory effects. 

6. Supports healthy hair, skin and nails
Gelatine is consumed for its youth enhancing benefits across the globe, the collagen content of bone broth supports the connective tissue and collagen in the skin thus reducing wrinkles. It also offers increased tissue strength for the nails and hair. One study supports its use against skin aging from sun UV radiation.

7. Contains high amounts of minerals
As the bone tissue is highly mineralised with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and others, these minerals are easily absorbed in the digestive tract in this form. When making a bone broth it is imperative to add something acidic to help draw out these nutrients such as apple cider vinegar or lemon.

How to Make Your Own Bone Broth
It is important when making a good bone broth that you use organic grass-fed bones that have been reared in a clean healthy happy environment without the use of hormone growth promotants, antibiotics and GM feed. The benefits of the broth will be directly related to the health (and happiness) of the animal. You certainly do not want to make an antibiotic pesticide artificial growth promotant enhanced broth for yourself.

Here is the recipe:
2 lbs (1kg) organic grass fed bones
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. Himalayan salt or sea salt
12 cups (1.5 L) water
Optional but highly recommended: add vegetables, and/or the pulp left over from making vegetable juice.

1. Place all of the ingredients into a large pot covered in water and bring to a boil.

2. Once it reaches boiling point, cover the pot, turn the heat down and simmer for at least 12 hours. You can also add the broth to a crockpot and simmer it that way. The longer the better.

3. Turn the heat off, let the stock slightly cool. Take out the bones then strain the broth through a sieve and discard the leftover matter.

An Option for Vegetarians and Vegans, Too
I understand that this may not suit everyone so here are some vegan and vegetarian alternatives to bone broth:

Make a soup containing any or all of these ingredients:
Vegetable scraps (great to use vegetable pulp from your juices and vegetable peels), diced root vegetables, celery, onions, garlic, any herbs and spices, a splash of apple cider vinegar, nettle leaves and/or other fresh mineral rich herbs, seaweeds for the extra mineral infusion such as nori, dulse and kelp.

Simmer these ingredients covered in water for up to 2-4hrs and strain. This will have different properties to the bone broth but it will certainly offer nutrient-rich nourishment.

For more vegetable pulp broths see  Vegetable Pulp Broth and Thai Infused Broths. You can certainly add extra ingredients to increase the nutrition in any of these recipes. If you are vegetarian that consumes eggs you can add in organic egg shells, if you are a pescetarian you may want to add in wild caught fish bones and heads. This can be a great alternative to keep in portions in the freezer to use in recipes rather than buying the store bought stock.

10 Don’ts a Nutritionist Sticks to at a Holiday Party

Holiday party time is in full swing.  Celebrating this special time of the year with your colleagues, friends and family typically comes with more eating, more drinking and more indulging in our favorite comforts. 

I love to enjoy holiday parties just like everyone else, but I do my best to not let the season drag my health and wellness goals down. So if you’re wondering how a nutritionists navigates a holiday party while still having fun, here are the 10 Don’ts that I follow when going out. Hey, even if you stick to just 7 of these you are doing yourself a favor!  

1. Don’t Go Hungry. 
This is definitely rule #1.  Think of the party as more of a marathon not a sprint.  If you go in hungry you’ll quickly make a break for the buffet and fill your belly with food and drinks before you realize you’re overstuffed.  Taking the edge off with a fiber and phytonutrient rich snack beforehand, can allow you to have the mental energy to take the time needed to peruse the scene and choose your food and beverage wisely.

Try these energizing, light recipes:

2. Don’t Go Thirsty.
Being underhydrated can zap energy levels and ramp up sugar or salt cravings or simply the desire to eat just about anything!  Don’t just sip water at the party as an anti-overeating strategy.  Plan ahead and start the day before.  Try to fit in an extra cup or two of water with a goal of at least 8, 8 oz. cups (64 oz totally) per day.

3. Don’t Arrive Empty Handed.
Not only are you being a good guest by bringing a snack or fun {healthy} cocktail to the party, but you’re also bringing something that you know is good for you and that you can enjoy! Many times party foods are set to please the masses and that includes fried foods, cheese-heavy snacks, fatty dips, and so on. Bring an exciting flare to the party with one of these options:

4. Don’t Pass on the Veggies Just Because it’s the Holidays.
Red and green is festive, so eat more of the red and green veggies. I like to go for a heaping pile of about 75% of my plate.  It’s good to be an overachiever sometimes!  This can help keep the heavier foods that leave me feeling lethargic the next day at bay and also leave room for indulgences I may want to prioritize like chocolate or alcohol.  

5. Don’t Sit in the Corner All Night. 
Catch up with friends, be social, and be the life of the party! More time talking is less time eating and the social connection is truly what the holidays are all about. 

6. Don’t Park Too Close (or stay until midnight).
The later you stay, the more alcohol is likely to be drank and the more food to be consumed. I like to have an exit strategy in place –the reassurance of being able to scoot out of a party when we’re ready to roll (or the babysitter calls) is key so parking a bit further out means no need to ask others to move their cars.  Plus, knowing we can walk off a bit of our food and drink in the brisk, cool air feels really good at the end of a fun night.  See if you can skip driving altogether and take public transportation or just skip the drinking and at the next party your husband can be the DD. 

7. Don’t Consume the Triglyceride-Raising Trifecta.
Bread, dessert and wine (or any alcohol) are all metabolized to sugars and can contribute to raising triglyceride levels in the blood, which is bad for your heart.  Be picky!  Decide to enjoy just one of these three amigos per party or if you can pull it off, a super tiny amount of each. 

8. Don’t Commit to “Just One”.
Watch out for those “Oh I’ll just have one” moments (which can quickly turn into two, three, many more).   Sometimes it’s easier and less stressful to simply abstain.  Although it’s actually not simple at all!   Walking by certain foods and identifying them as “off limits” can help – especially when it comes to being mindful of food sensitivities.  I find an all or nothing approach works best for me; otherwise that just one bite of calamari turns into about 20 more and boy, will my belly ache! 

9. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sleep.
Get a good night’s sleep before the party to help curb cravings. Low energy can spike those cravings and leave you reaching for not one, not two, but 10 bites of the spinach artichoke dip.  Here are more tips for getting a good night’s sleep. 

10. Don’t Skip Exercise.
Go on a walk or exercise that day and plan for the next day’s physical activity.  Nothing too strenuous if you are exhausted, but a nice brisk walk, jog, yoga or workout class with a friend can boost body and mind to gear up or decompress from the festivities.   

What’s your favorite tip for staying {somewhat} healthy at a holiday party?

A 20 Minute ‘Do Anywhere’ Workout

You’ll never find me on vacation without my sneakers, my iPod and maybe a jump rope. Taking my exercise with me is key when I travel, and although my travel routine may be slightly different than my routine when I’m home, finding easy ways to move my body helps to keep me balanced, happy and fit.

To help you stay on track during your holiday traveling, here is an easy, body-weight (you don’t need any equipment for this except your sneakers and yourself) workout that you can do anywhere to target all areas of your body.

What you’ll need:
– Sneakers (athletic shoes)
– Stopwatch (you can use your phone)
– Water bottle (don’t forget to hydrate!)

Warm up (2 minutes)
Hardest: Easy jog in place for 2 minutes
Low Impact: March in place

Helps to: Warm your body up and get you ready for a workout.

Get started!

Cardio (3 minutes)
Hardest: Star jacks (think of an over-exaggerated jumping jack)
Modification: Jumping jacks
Low Impact: Remove the jump and simply move arms and legs in in the motion of the jack without jumping
Helps to: Get your heart rate up and get you warm.

Body-weight Circuit (3 minutes)
10 lunges: Alternate legs for a total of 5 on each side; to make this move harder add a jump after each lunge

10 squats: Focus on keeping your knees in-line with your toes; for good form, or to modify try couch squats; to make this move harder add a small jump or toe-lift after each squat.

10 push-ups: Focus on keeping your abs and glutes tight; to modify, try doing the push-ups on your knees, keep your stomach and glutes tight; if you’re unable to get onto the floor try wall-push-ups.

Note: To make this circuit harder try doing 15 or 20 of each (lunges, squats, push-ups)

Cardio (3 minutes)
To get your heart-rate back up jog, march, or walk in place for three minutes.

Body-weight Circuit (3 minutes – repeat body-weight circuit)
10 lunges: Alternate legs for a total of 5 on each side; to make this move harder add a jump after each lunge
10 squats: Focus on keeping your knees in-line with your toes; for good form, or to modify try couch squats; to make this move harder add a small jump or toe-lift after each squat.
10 push-ups: Focus on keeping your abs and glutes tight; to modify, try doing the push-ups on your knees, keep your stomach and glutes tight; if you’re unable to get onto the floor try wall-push-ups.

Cardio: (2 minutes)
To get your heart rate back up, do two more minutes of jumping jacks (or add in star-jacks to make it harder), or if you’re more comfortable, jog, march or walk in place.

Abdominals (1 minute)
Plank: Hold a plank on your hands or forearms for one minute (or if you’re unable to get onto the floor, try a wall-plank or try a mini-circuit of 10 secondsplank, 10 seconds rest for a total of five times to total one minute.

Cool down (3 minutes)
Stretch: Make sure that you stretch and take time to slow down after your workout; it is also important to rehydrate properly by drinking 64-80 oz of water every day.

8 Human Foods Your Pet Should Never Eat

Most dogs (including my 6 pound Yorkshire Terrier, Sasha) love to eat vegetables, fruits and other human foods. While some vegetables and human scraps can provide vitamins and minerals, there are many others that can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. Since I think it’s important to keep my dogs healthy as much as myself and my clients, I want to share with you the top 8 foods and food groups that may be dangerous to the health of your pet.

1. Avocados
Humans love avocados. They’re creamy, delicious, and loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and heart-healthy benefits. However, for our four-legged friends such as horses and even for some dogs (and even two-legged friends like birds), avocados can be very dangerous! Avocados contain a compound called persin, which can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, and in birds may cause severe congestion and possibly even fluid around the heart. Although some dogs may not get sick from avocados it’s important to limit how much they have if you do choose to let them eat it.

2. Garlic, Onions, and Chives
Garlic, onions and chives have many healthful compounds including allicin that may contain anti-cancer properties for humans; but for dogs and especially cats, garlic, onions and chives can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation, so try to keep your pets away.

3. Grapes & Raisins
Grapes and raisins are popular when it comes to sprinkling on salads or enjoying as a snack; but be careful not to let those slip off your plate and onto the floor and into the paws of your pet. The toxic compound in grapes and raisins has yet to be identified, but in both dogs and cats, raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure.

4. Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
Although extremely popular with humans, chocolate, coffee and caffeine are especially dangerous to pets as they contain compounds called methylxanthines. Methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst, abnormal heart rhythm and hyperactivity in pets. Symptoms can also include tremors and seizures and in some severe cases, death. It’s important to keep these foods away from pets, and to be especially careful of darker chocolates as they contain more methylxanthine.

5. Dairy
Like many lactose-intolerant humans, pets do not produce a lot of the enzyme, lactase, which is necessary for breaking down the carbohydrate lactose found in dairy products. Therefore, when pets (like humans) consume too many lactose-containing foods (milk, cheese, ice cream) they too can end up with diarrhea, gas and other uncomfortable gastro-intestinal symptoms. Although many pets may be sensitive to lactose-containing foods, pet-owners often choose to use cheese for training- if this is the case, choose a lower-lactose cheese such as cheddar.

6. Xylitol
We tell humans not to eat artificial sugars and sugar alcohols, and pets shouldn’t have them either. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol found in many candies and when consumed can cause insulin release from the pancreas that can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and severe liver damage. In addition, xylitol can also cause gastro-intestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea. Keep this and other artificial sugars (as well as sugars) away from your pets.

7. Alcohol
I know many dogs that love to take a sip of their owners alcoholic beverage, but it’s important to keep alcohol-containing beverages far away from pets. Alcohol can cause changes to your pets nervous and respiratory systems and in some cases can be fatal.

8. Yeast Dough
Next time you make fresh pizza-dough, or any other yeast-containing dough, be sure it doesn’t fall onto the floor and get into the paws of your pet. Yeast-containing doughs (especially when raw) can cause major gastrointestinal distress as well as lethargy and may even cause low body temperature in pets. Cooked doughs are slightly less dangerous, but consider limiting them too.

If you want to make a special human treat for your furry friends this weekend, try adding a small amount of juice pulp to their bowl of food!