Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Has stress taken the fun out of your holidays? Put the “jolly” back in your holidays and create cherished holiday memories with these proven strategies.

  • Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Start holiday planning and preparations earlier.
  • Simplify wherever you can when planning and holding festive celebrations.
  • Stick to your budget.
  • Scale down your holiday plans.
  • Ponder what you really want to do to celebrate the holidays.
  • Talk with family members and friends about what they want to do.
  • Plan celebrations that express what the holidays truly mean for you.
  • Identify old family traditions. Which ones do you love?
  • Opt to keep holiday traditions that bring you joy and happiness.
  • Give yourself permission to let go of old traditions that you aren’t fond of.
  • Establish start and end times for parties.
  • Take shortcuts like buying pre-made pies to save time.
  • Examine options for pre-made meals or catering services.
  • Promptly ask for help when you need it.
  • Inform all prospective attendees of your holiday plans in advance.
  • Discuss challenging issues in advance with a person who tends to create tension.
  • Use place cards to assign seating in efforts to avoid tension-filled holiday gatherings.
  • Short-circuit disagreeable family discussions by interrupting or changing the subject.
  • Make a gift list, considering the amount of money you can comfortably spend.
  • Cut down your gift list.
  • Shop early and make notes about where to get low-cost gifts.
  • Ask for gift suggestions from the people on your gift list.
  • Consider giving gift cards to save time and precious energy.
  • Suggest a family name-drawing to reduce gift expenditures.
  • Reduce the amount of money you spend overall on the holidays and per gift.
  • Avoid making credit card purchases as much as possible.
  • Save money by making homemade food gifts.
  • Shop early and place gifts in a gift drawer so you’ll be ready for the holidays.
  • Schedule time to be with your kids for some special holiday moments.
  • Keep the kids busy with holiday crafts. They’ll enjoy it and you can get more done.
  • Take time daily to meditate, even if only for a few minutes.

Stress-Free Holiday Traveling

  • Plan holiday travel itineraries in advance.
  • Travel during off-peak hours.
  • Start out well-rested.
  • Build-in extra money to your travel budget in case of emergencies.
  • Arrive at the airport or other station early to more easily take care of last-minute challenges.
  • Expect to run into snags.
  • Pack light and carry on your bag, rather than checking it.
  • Allow extra time to travel from place to place and expect heavy traffic.
  • Send your gifts in advance or take gift cards.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Pack plenty of healthy snacks that travel well without refrigeration.
  • Bring plenty of things to keep the kids happily occupied.
  • Make waiting times go faster and regain a happy holiday feeling by meditating.
  • Use portable meditation props, like a favorite image on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Plan to arrive at your holiday destination rested and excited to share your holidays with loved ones.

Meditation for Holiday Travel

  • Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
  • Let distracting thoughts dissolve away as you focus on deep breathing.
  • Think about your destination and the loved ones you’ll be visiting.
  • Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans – just like you.
  • Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and enjoy that warm feeling.
  • Imagine wrapping up those good feelings and presenting them to everyone around you.
  • Gradually return your attention to the present moment.
  • Remind yourself of the fellowship you felt while meditating.

Did you find this useful? Please share it with someone else who will enjoy it too!

Wishing you a happy & healthy holidays!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide 🙂

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Gazpacho is a cold dish made with “Bacalao.” Bacalao is salted codfish that is used in many ways in Puerto Rican dishes, and it’s actually one of the healthiest. It’s high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats.

Codfish health benefits include; high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the same type found in oily fish or seafood like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It’s also one of the few and best vitamin D–rich foods. No wonder our ancestors were so healthy, they would eat bacalao almost every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats are proven to improve joint mobility, brain function, reduce inflammation, improve overall health, and much more. Check out more of the benefits in the resources below.

Nutrition Dork Tip: Make sure the package says “Wild Caught” and/or codfish from Alaska. Due to ocean contamination, we need to make sure we get our fish and any other seafood from great healthy sources.

GAZPACHO RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of fully cooked boneless salted cod or pollock fish fillets (pollock is a marine fish species of the cod family)
  • 2 or 3 small ripe avocados (the more the merrier)
  • 1 or 1/2 small chopped yellow or red onion (your preference)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1 tsp of vinegar or squeezed lemon (maintains the freshness of the salad)
  • Pink salt (if needed) and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse the salt of the fish very well (2 or 3 times). You can also soak overnight or for a few hours. I usually rinse the fish very well, then boil it to remove the excess salt. Sporadically taste the fish to make sure it’s to your liking.
  • Let it cool and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl mix the chopped avocados, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Pull the fish into flakes and make sure there are no stray bones.
  • Add the fish to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  • Add pepper to taste and salt if needed. The fish might still have some remaining salt.
  • Serve immediately and ENJOY!
  • You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours but it’s best when served immediately.
  • Typically this dish is served inside soft roll, or with white rice as shown in the picture. 
  • Other healthy pairings are, 1 cup of brown rice, and/or cooked quinoa, for a low-carb option.  
  • If served with quinoa, this dish is high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats. All proven to promote weight loss, so ENJOY!!

Note: For a healthy vegan option, omit the fish and add over greens for a tasty and delicious salad!

Buen Provecho!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide!

 

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section14

https://draxe.com/omega-3-benefits-plus-top-10-omega-3-foods-list/

http://nourishingtraditions.com/are-we-over-dosing-on-omega-3s-or-why-we-need-fish-liver-oil-not-fish-oil/

Is traditional Puerto Rican food, Healthy?

Is traditional Puerto Rican food, Healthy?

I feel a bit annoyed when I hear people say, “Puerto Rican food is not healthy.” When you take time to analyze traditional Puerto Rican foods and how they were made, you’ll find that in its nature, the food is actually pretty healthy. I’ve been studying nutrition for over 5 years now; the latest research shows, the healthiest diets consist of mainly wholesome foods in their natural state, healthy fats, and a good source of protein.

Now, let’s break this down into the two major diet theories out there; Veganism and Paleo. These two mayor diet theories seem to contradict but are indeed similar. Both enforce consuming more fruits, vegetables and wholesome foods as the main portion of one’s diet. Where they differ is, Paleo relies on animal consumption as their main source of protein, omegas, and fatty acids; whereas, Veganism relies on nuts, seeds, grains, beans and legumes.

Traditional Puerto Rican foods are actually a combination of both. If we learn to choose the right ingredients, and healthiest food combinations; there is no reason for us not to enjoy all our favorite foods.

Before commercialized foods, most people in Puerto Rico and all around the World were eating from the land and whatever was in season. In Puerto Rico, foods like roots vegetables, avocados, mangos, papayas, bananas and plantains, and many other fruits and vegetables are native to the island. Many would grow organically in different seasons, and some would grow year-round. As a tropical island, there was an abundance of wild fruits and vegetables that would grow organically in people’s back yards. Unfortunately, throughout the years, commercialized foods, industries, chemicals, constructions, climate changes, among other things, have caused hardship on the growth of Puerto Rico’s native foods.

Back in the day, most Puerto Ricans fished, and pasture-raised animals in their own land, depending on what part of the island they lived in. Lands close to the ocean would fish, while those up in the mountains raised animals like pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, and even rabbits. Even in the 1990s, when I was growing up in parts of the country, there was still an abundance of wild fruits and vegetables. I still remember wandering with my friends through the wilderness, finding exotic fruits and natural ponds to bath in. We were even chased by a bull one time because people were still raising animals in their own back yards, allowing the animals to be wild and free. One of my neighbors had a whole farm full of grass-fed cows, another neighbor had pigs, and my next-door neighbor had free-range chickens and ducks. Even my dad had a few chickens and ducks that had crossed over. I guess living in harmony and exchanging goods was still a thing in some parts of the island up to the 1990s.

Before commercialized foods and the implementation of the SAD diet (Standard American Diet), most Puerto Ricans were healthy, and there was a huge lack of obesity, cancer, auto-immune diseases, and other major illnesses. In fact, most households would cook fresh foods every day, and schools rarely served processed foods. It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that things started to change. With many climate changes, little by little, I started seeing fewer animals, no ponds, less wild fruits, and lots more other alternatives to foods. I slowly started noticing more and more fast foods, processed foods and less vegetation being served. Of course, as a kid, I adjusted easily to the new ways. I never realized how bad the situation was until I found myself being un-healthy myself and dealing with mayor chronic health issues in my early twenties.

The Change: Once I realized I was stuck in a SAD diet and how bad it was for me, I decided to make a change. Through much research and learning about nutrition; it led me to realize that a traditional Puerto Rican diet was pretty healthy and even the best alternative for me. I started adding wholesome organic foods, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, and healthy fats like avocado. Then I started making all my favorite Puerto Rican foods in a healthier way and realized everyone can do this. They just need to learn what foods to avoid, how to replace them with healthier ingredients and learn to combine foods in a way that it’s easier to digest. I’ll explain these in the next few paragraphs.

First off, learning how to food combine is essential. Before learning this, I was a mess with every digestive issue you can mention. Now, I stick to some basic principles of food combining. I eat fruits for breakfast or on its own as a snack, for lunch and dinner, I choose either a protein with vegetables or starches with vegetables. Vegetables can be eaten with carbs or protein, but all three together can be hard on your digestive system.  As a side note: Healing your digestion can be the best thing you ever do for your body. If you didn’t know, 80% of your immune system lives in your gut (digestive system). Therefore, if you heal your gut, you can also heal your body. Food combining is one of the first steps to getting there.

Second, avoid all processed foods. To make it simple, processed foods are the ones made in a factory. Anything, from a box, can, or container has been processed in some way shape or form. If you do find yourself buying something processed, make sure it’s made from wholesome ingredients (that you can read and understand); with 5 ingredients or less.

Third, choose foods that are in season. The best way to do this is to visit local farmers’ markets and see what they have available. You can also do a quick google search to find out what grows seasonally in your area.

Finally, fats. For a long-time fat in the Nutrition-World has been looked at like the source of all evil. It wasn’t until a few years ago that researchers discovered that fat is good for you, even fried foods, you just need to know which ones. Healthy fats can help improve your brain function, increase energy, improve your metabolism and ability to burn fat, and more. Healthy fats are necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some examples of healthy fats; coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, lard, and tallow. Studies show that consuming these fats with a large sum of vegetables; can increase your health, prevent and even recover from illness and disease. The reason I mention fats is because Puerto Rican foods are known for their fried foods. When frying, coconut oil is the best option.
As a side note: if you are consuming animals, animal products and fats, avoid the consumption of processed carbs. This combination of lots of carbs and fats is the leading cause of high cholesterol and disease. Ideally, fats are consumed with a large sum of fresh vegetables, including root vegetables.

In summary, the next time you are thinking of eating healthy, just remember it doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t have to give up on your favorite foods. Consume a large number of vegetables with all meals and fruits as a snack or with breakfast; at least 50% of your daily food intake. The remainder 50% should be divided into whole grains and proteins. Whole grains should be in their natural form and may include rice, grains, starchy vegetables, and root vegetables. Proteins include; animal sources like farm-raised meats, fish, poultry, milk, and eggs, and non-animal sources like legumes, nuts, and seeds. Include healthy fats with all your meals, foods like avocados, coconut oil, butter, nut butter, and more. Remember to buy foods that are in season and/or from your local farmer’s markets.

Keep in mind your bio-individuality when choosing a healthy lifestyle. We are all different and what works for one person, may not work for another. If you are confused or don’t know where to start, seek professional guidance from an experienced holistic health coach or practitioner that has been trained in bio-individuality, and can help you figure out your personal needs.

I’m open to chat if you feel called. 🙂
http://nutritiondork.com/letschat

Wishing you much health and happiness,

Mayra

References:
https://draxe.com/paleo-vs-vegan-diet/
https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/know-your-fats/fats-and-oils-and-their-impact-on-health/
https://draxe.com/healthy-fats/
https://healthfully.com/179652-puerto-rican-food-nutrition.html
https://thedrjoe.com/carbs-fats-together/
https://www.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2016/08/integrative-nutrition-s-secret-to-total-health-bio-individuality
https://drhyman.com/?s=fats+with+carbs

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