Holiday Eating Survival Guide

Family, friends and co-workers are well meaning when they offer you special treats over the holidays. Unfortunately, the best of intentions can sabotage your efforts to eat well and to choose healthful foods for yourself and your family.

Between Dad’s world famous peanut butter fudge and Aunt Leona’s mouth-watering lemon cream pie, you’ve got your work cut out for you!

Your job is one of choice. I recommend some of the following strategies to help you find an appropriate balance. Here are some steps to limit over-consumption of holiday food and to avoid the unnecessary weight gain that is so common during the holidays.

START IN YOUR OWN HOME

If you make your own home a safe haven of healthy foods, you will be doing yourself a favor. Holidays often offer a buffet of any kind of sweet or savory treat you can think of.

I suggest going through your cupboards and your refrigerator and throwing out the refined and processed foods (white sugar, white salt, white flour) you see and replacing them with whole healthful alternatives (see the article “Great Beginnings Always Start with Leaving Something Behind” for more details on how to get started with your home cupboard and refrigerator cleanout).

By eliminating the amount of processed and refined foods in your own home, you can feel a little better about saying yes to the occasional treat when you are at a holiday function.

If it’s tradition in your home to make a few treats, try and use unrefined ingredients in the recipes. Reach for fruit, 100% maple syrup, molasses or raw honey to sweeten dishes, and remember a little goes a long ways! You can make treats that taste delicious without overloading your body with sugar.

DON’T FORGET THE BASICS

Eat balanced meals and choose foods that support your health. This may sound simple, but it often falls by the wayside during the holidays. You still need to eat fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, protein, and calcium-rich foods to be a healthy person.

Get regular exercise to maintain your level of fitness. I don’t recommend trying to lose weight during the holidays, instead I recommend maintaining a stable weight.

INDULGE A LITTLE, NOT A LOT

I encourage you to set some limits on how much sugar and refined food you choose to eat during the holidays to 3X a week or less. It’s a good starting place considering the amount of food that is often offered.

Remember, you don’t need to say “yes” to everything that is placed before you at a dinner party. Instead, decide what you would like to indulge in. Choose one or the other.

When at the buffet table, choose smaller portions. You can always return if you are still hungry, but decide if you are hungry or if you are just trying to clean your plate.

Share what you do decide to indulge in. There is nothing wrong with having a bite or splitting a piece of pie instead of having your own.

ACCESS, ABUNDANCE AND PARTIES

Parties are for socializing, I recommend placing this before the buffet table, by arriving to the party with something in your stomach. You will feel much better when you do reach for a small nibble of something you would like to enjoy.

Avoid being peer-pressured. You know when you are hungry and you know when you are full. It’s ok to say, “No thank you, that was delicious, but I am full”.

If someone gives you some treats as a gift, have a piece of whatever it is, and either freeze the rest or throw it away (I promise you, they will never find out).

TEMPERANCE

Above all, please remember to be kind to yourself over the holidays. Special times spent with family and friends are meant to be enjoyed. If you follow a few simple steps and take some precautions along the way you can indulge a little and enjoy the festivities a lot while feeling happy and guilt-free.

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Fall Class with Sunnyside Holistic Group

Recently, I joined a wellness center called the Sunnyside Holistic Group. I will be meeting with clients and teaching classes at this new location. On Monday, October 25th, from 6 PM to 8 PM, I will be teaching a nutrition class in the community room of this new location. Please read further if you are interested in participating in the class!

 

The Necessary Evils: Sugar, Salt and Fat

 Are sugar, salt and fat indulgences or are they necessary to life? Do you want to learn about eating real food that actually supports the health of your body, and also tastes good? Are you tired of being on a diet that simply does not work? Part nutrition education and part cooking demonstration, students will learn how to eat to maintain good health and vitality.  A food demonstration with samples will be provided based on recipes and meal plans created by the instructor. Students will leave with a packet of information to assist in their transition to eating healthier traditional food.

When:  Monday, October 25th, 6 PM to 8 PM

Where:  Sunnyside Holistic Group, 2450 SE Belmont

Contact:  Traci Goodrich, NTP

503.233.7064 or etlnutrition@gmail.com      

Cost:  $35  Class size is limited. Registration is required.

Winter Nutrition Classes 2010

Sugar Addiction: Trouble-shooting a Problem of Epidemic Proportion

 If you were to list addictive substances in order, sugar would be at the top of the list, and part of this reason is access–we are surrounded by it! I know that in Portland, Oregon, you cannot throw a stone without landing on an artisan cupcake. Sugar is also in many prepared foods that you might not consider to be sweet. This class will focus on strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar people consume in order to avoid larger health concerns such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. In this class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources that they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

  • Students will learn strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar they consume.
  • Students will learn about the glycemic index and the glycemic load of food and how carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.
  • Students will learn how to “recalibrate” their blood sugar levels.
  • Students will learn how to avoid being part of the epidemic that is diabetes.
  • Students will sample foods that support blood sugar regulation, and leave the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that balance blood sugar.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Tuesday, January 19th

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT:

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

Low-thyroid Solutions for the Next Generation of Women

Difficulties with thyroid function often run in the family, and by far, more female than male members of the family are affected. Yet, when it comes to nutritionally supporting women with low-thyroid function, knowledge is power. If there is a history of thyroid dysfunction in the family there are things you can do to lessen the severity of the problem and provide the nutritional support that is needed for the thyroid to function properly. Students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

  • Students will learn which foods support healthy thyroid function and which ones do not.
  • Students will learn how to sleuth out barriers to thyroid function.
  • Students will learn about some alternative methods to improve thyroid function.
  • Student will learn how to improve their energy level and metabolism, as well as how to control food cravings.
  • Students will sample foods that support thyroid function. Students will leave from the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that support healthy thyroid function.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Date: Monday, February 15th

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT:  

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

Supporting the Nutrition Needs of the Post-partum Mother

Providing nutrition for two is not as easy as one may think. The nutrition needs of a newborn baby are significant, but so are the nutrition needs of the mother, who may be lacking many essential vitamins and minerals as a result of providing nutrients to a growing fetus for 9 months. This class will discuss the post-partum nutrition needs of breast-feeding mothers, as well as mothers who are trying to get their bodies back on track after pregnancy and breast-feeding. Students will leave with a packet of information that includes: a 5-day meal plan that supports nutrition needs, recipes and nutritional recommendations for the new mother.

  • Students will learn about foods that support the baby’s health as well as the mother’s health during the first year.
  • Students will learn about vitamins and minerals that are important for the health of a newborn baby.
  • Students will learn about vitamins that have been depleted from the mother during pregnancy and what steps to take to restore them.
  • Students will learn how to get their bodies back on track, once breast-feeding ends.
  • Students will sample foods that support the needs of the post-partum mother and leave from the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that support the mother and newborn baby.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Date: Monday, March 1st

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT:

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

Support Fertility and Reproductive Health Naturally

Infertility is a costly problem. Americans spend billions of dollars each year to enhance their fertility with fertility drugs and invasive medical services that enhance reproduction. Is there another way? Nutrition plays a significant role in an individual’s ability to conceive. This class will provide students with useful information to enhance fertility naturally with the very foods they consume. Students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

  • Students will learn which foods provide the nutritional foundation that helps to support fertility.
  • Students will learn how to stabilize blood sugar and control food cravings.
  • Students will learn how to sleuth out barriers to fertility.
  • Students will learn how to improve their digestion and immune system function (two potential barriers to fertility).
  • Students will sample foods that support fertility and leave from the class with a packet of information that includes: a sample 5-day meal plan, recipes and recommendations that support fertility.

LOCATION:

Common Ground Wellness Center

FLANDERS HOUSE, 2926 NE Flanders St., Portland, OR

DATE: Date: Tuesday, March 16th

TIME: 6:00-7:30

COST: $60

 

CONTACT: 

Traci Goodrich, NTP, 503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

 

Why you should question reduced-fat foods

This is a thoughtful question from one of our readers. I encourage more questions of this nature because it stimulates an open dialogue as we discuss nutrition and how to make healthy consumer choices regarding food.

Question from reader:

I have a question about this post (regarding my suggestion to use full-fat dairy products), but I’m pretty sure I know how you’d answer. A lot of times Americans focus on healthful eating so they can lose weight. So eliminating reduced-fat foods seems counterproductive. But my understanding is that since reduced-fat foods are less nutrient-dense, they’re less effective in weight loss than a plate full of more natural foods would be. Is this correct?

Response from Traci Goodrich, NTP: 

This is an important question. I would say that reduced-fat foods are less effective in weight loss because they are harder for your body to digest, often have more sugar, and are often less satisfying than the full-fat counterpart. My criticism of reduced-fat foods, specifically reduced-fat dairy products, is your body actually needs the fat that has been eliminated in order to digest, absorb, and assimilate the fat-soluble vitamins contained in these foods. In my opinion, it is counterintuitive to view reduced-fat dairy as “health food” because the fat that has been eliminated makes it much more difficult for your body to digest and benefit from the nutrients contained in these foods. I would suggest not eating dairy at all, if it is reduced-fat. I think that it is more healthful to eat full-fat dairy products, but to also recognize what a portion is (1 cup of milk, a few ounces of cheese, 1 cup of yogurt), which takes some knowledge and a little restraint. There is also a plethora of foods that are naturally low in fat to choose from! If you are someone who has fully transitioned to a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet you will end up eating less, because you will be satiated after you eat. There is an appropriate ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates (mostly from vegetables, grains in moderation) at each meal so that you walk away feeling satisfied and not hungry after a few hours. If you continue to gain weight after you’ve transitioned to a whole foods diet, I would look towards correcting your digestion by adding more culture foods and fermented foods that help to stimulate the digestive enzymes in your gut. 

A criticism I have of reduced-fat dry foods, such as granola bars and cereals, is that they are hard to digest and often loaded with sugar! With diabetes at epidemic proportions in this country, I would look towards reducing sugar as much as possible, and even being moderate with sugar in its whole form as with fruit and whole grains. 



 

I hope this response helps!