Why You Need to Soak Your Nuts (and Seeds)

Yes, it’s a provocative title–I wanted to make sure it caught your attention!–but I bet you’ll remember from now on why you should soak all nuts and seeds!

Special thanks Eric Espiritu, my scene partner, DP, and editor for this video.  He has a sketch comedy channel Cut These Ropes on YouTube you might want to check out. 

Avoiding the Holiday Party Bulge

Between office functions, family gatherings, and friends‘ parties, your December calendar is crammed with opportunities for reveling in holiday spirit, as well as packing on a pound or two or three or….

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are some tips to keep you looking and feeling great while enjoying the spirit of the holidays!

Holiday Party Game Plan:

Have a healthy snack beforehand. If you arrive at the party in starvation mode, your body will command you to shove food in your mouth, and you’ll end up eating a whole lot more high-calorie treats than if you arrived satisfied or mildly hungry.

If you do come to the party hungry, put all the food you want to eat on a plate. It’s hard to keep track of how much you’re eating when you pick here and there.  Remember that your stomach is approximately the size of your fist, and only eat until you start to feel full.  If there are more treats you’d like to have, wait at least 20 minutes and ask yourself again if you want to eat more.  That will give your stomach a chance to more accurately gauge its level of fullness.

Between each alcoholic drink, sip a glass of sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime. It will still look like an adult beverage to others, will give you something to hold and drink, and will keep you hydrated.  It’s also a great way to avoid getting too toasty, which often leads to mindless eating and drinking!

Don’t stand next to the buffet table! It’s too tempting to be arms length from tasty belly busters, so give yourself a chance and stand as far away from the food as possible!  If you have to battle the crowds to get to the food, you’re less likely to overindulge.

If you lose all willpower surrounded by holiday treats and sweets, make a game out of it! You can have that brownie, but tell yourself you must talk to five people you’ve never met before you can indulge.  Or you can delight in that spiced apple cider, but you need to make it last throughout Aunt Shirley’s long-winded story.  You get the idea!

Drop some peppermint oil in your mouth. Peppermint is a natural appetite suppressant, and when your mouth is all fresh and minty, food doesn’t taste as yummy.  I use this peppermint oil–it’s 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oil–just one drop on the tongue is all you need to feel intensely fresh (and NOT hungry!)

Don’t get too wrapped up in guilt! While there’s no reason to gain a lot of weight during the holidays, expecting to lose pounds this time of year is not realistic.  It’s normal to crave heavier foods during the winter, when our biology responds to the cold weather and limited light.  Do what you can to be healthy and active, but don’t worry yourself into a panic.  Gaining a pound or two should not turn your world upside down, or affect the way you think of yourself.  You’re an amazing person no matter what you look like!

In this season of giving and sharing, be grateful for your friends and family, savor the food you eat, and above all…enjoy life!

Happy Holidays!

How to Cut a Mango the Easy Way

Cutting mangoes used to be a big pain for me.  I would peel the skin from the mango and then attempt to cut it.  Aaaaargh!  The difficulty!  The mess!  The danger!  Then a good friend of mine–who grew up in the Philippines surrounded by mangoes–showed me the proper way to get the job done.  Now, I’m passing on that knowledge so you too can enjoy mangoes at home…and keep all your fingers.


5 Easy Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle in a Time of Change


[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=healthy+food&iid=5264848″ src=”9/6/7/4/Woman_preparing_food_b7c4.jpg?adImageId=11371791&imageId=5264848″ width=”380″ height=”380″ /]Here’s another guest post on the topic of staying balanced and healthy during periods of change.  (Click here to see the previous post on this topic.)  The following article is from Diane Sanfilippo, a holistic lifestyle coach in San Francisco, California.

I’m a big fan of change. As much as I am a total creature of habit, nothing thrills me like making big changes in my life. Even sometimes all at once. I call it “shaking the snow globe.” I make the decision to change a lot of things at once, essentially tossing all those snowflakes up and then seeing how they fall when they settle into place. This makes me think of that old Brady Bunch song? They sing about change and how to handle it. And, yes, I really am quoting the Brady Bunch. Come on, I’m a child of the eighties, I’m allowed.

When it’s time to change then it’s time to change.

Don’t fight the tide, come along for the ride, don’t you see?

When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange.

Who you are into what you’re gonna be.

When we make changes in our lives, or when they happen around us, it can cause a lot of inner turmoil, too. And I don’t just mean making your head spin with ideas and questions. I mean, your digestion can suffer under the stress. Even if it’s “good stress,” to your body, stress is stress.

My 5 Easy Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle in a Time of Change:

  1. Hydrate! If there’s only one thing you can think about besides how hectic life has become, make it water. Get as much clean, fresh water in as you possibly can. If you don’t love the taste of plain water, try dropping in a strawberry or squeezing in some lemon or other citrus for a refreshing change of pace. Most of us aren’t drinking nearly enough water as it is, and stress will deplete your stores even faster. Keeping hydrated will go a long way in helping your body maintain inner peace while your world may spinning around you.

  2. Plan! You know you’re going to be cut short on time when things are more hectic in your life. Think ahead a couple of days when you get to the grocery store and grab items that you can put together for meals and snacks that you can prep or cook once and eat several times. Maybe this means buying a whole roasted chicken that you can pick on for a few meals, or grabbing extra nuts and dried fruit. Either way, remember that you’ll be eating several times a day and that never changes- so plan for it and you’ll be equipped.
  3. Choose fresh! Fresh foods will nourish your body and leave you more hydrated than things like crackers or chips. Plus, clearly they provide more nutrient value and your body will be craving the vitamins when under stress.
  4. Add Vitamin C! Did you know that Vitamin C is quickly depleted in the body when you’re under stress? According to an article in Psychology Today:

    The vitamin helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress on people. People who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological challenges. What’s more, they bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood. (Source: Psychology Today)

    Some of the best food sources of vitamin C include: parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
    (Source: whfoods.com)

  5. Keep your eye on the prize! For many of us, our healthy habits can be the first to slip when we feel we have too much going on to focus on our food. We blame it on time and say we’ll get back on track later, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes we can make. Taking the small amount of time to think about and plan for our meals will alleviate physical and mental stress later because our bodies will be well nourished and fueled.

What changes are you making in your life right now? I have big changes on the horizon myself, so I’ll be taking my own advice and keeping my health as a priority so that I can power through them with vigor.

Get more information about maintaining a healthy diet through changes in your life by contacting me today to get started with Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching.

Enjoy & be well!
Diane Sanfilippo
Owner, Balanced Bites Holistic Nutrition & Wellness
C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach

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