5 great tips for keeping your New Year’s fitness resolutions

These five tips will help you plan for success with your fitness resolutions and make it easier to stick to them once you’ve gained momentum.

5 great tips for keeping your New Year’s fitness resolutions
Making a New Year’s resolution is a lot easier than sticking to it if you don’t prepare in advance. As the old adage goes, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These five tips will help you plan for success with your fitness resolutions and make it easier to stick to them once you’ve gained momentum.

1. Set your goals in writing

Before January 1st, write down each of your fitness goals and create a written workout schedule in a notebook, spreadsheet or calendar. A tangible schedule with a list of fitness goals keeps you focused and on track when you’re wavering. Look over these goals every day, even on days when you’re not scheduled to work out. It’s also helpful to break down your large goals into smaller ones. This approach can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the larger goals which may seem unattainable today.

2. Track your progress

Keep track of your progress each week or even after every workout. Documenting your progression will inspire you when you feel bored or simply want to skip your workout. For example, write down every time you graduate to a heavier weight or more reps so you can look back to see how far you’ve come.

3. Lose the “all-or-nothing” attitude

So many people give up on themselves and flush their New Year’s resolutions down the toilet if they don’t see enough progress right away. If you have a minor setback, the best thing you can do is continue working towards your goals, even if you must take baby steps at times. For instance, if you fail to get up early for your morning workout, take a brisk walk at lunch or do some light yoga before bed.

4. Celebrate the small victories

Every time you reach a new milestone along the path to your larger fitness goals, go ahead and celebrate. Each small celebration keeps you feeling positive and motivated. Buy a new piece of workout clothing, get a massage or simply indulge in a leisurely bubble bath while your spouse entertains the kids.

5. Enlist an accountability buddy

Find someone who isn’t afraid to kick your butt when it needs to be kicked. Whether you choose your spouse, friend or family member, make sure you pick someone who will actually hold you accountable if you’re tempted to stray.
No matter how discouraged or overwhelmed you may feel at times, these five tips can help you find your way back to your fitness goals.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks to YP.com for content

9 Tips for Fighting the Winter Blahs as the Days Grow Shorter

Picture of person biking in the evening time

We’ve rapidly approached the shortest days of the year. In some places, it’s getting dark as early as 4:30 right now. I often hear people comment about how depressing it is when they drive to work in the dark and return home in the dark.

Or if they have an office job, and leave at the end of the day and it is already dark. But from a yoga perspective, the winter solstice is the true new year, where you let go and bring closure to the past year.

Out of the dark comes the seeds of new growth, and the emergence of light and new beginnings. It is a time to contemplate all that doesn’t serve you anymore and let go, as you allow for more space to let the new in.

But still…on an every day basis, the dark days of winter can be a bit of a downer.

For some people, the lack of sunshine leads a condition even more severe than the winter blues – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Causes of SAD may arise from a change in serotonin levels due to lack of sunshine, as well as possible hormonal imbalances.

Even if you don’t meet the clinical requirements for a diagnosis of SAD, the winter blues are understandable. Lack of sunshine, bad weather and stress from the holidays can all leave you feeling more than a little frazzled.

For many people, stress can also trigger poor dietary and sleep habits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Harness this potent time for new beginnings and growth.

Here are my recommendations for a little pick-me-up during the winter months.

1. Get outside  Sure the weather is poor in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay holed up in your house. Try to spend a little bit of time outside during daylight hours every day.

According to an article in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with depression. Since your best source of vitamin D is sunlight, it’s understandable that during the winter months these levels drop.

To counteract this, head outside for 20 minutes whenever possible. Try taking a brisk walk during your lunch hour or stepping outside for a few minutes during your breaks at work.

The sunlight and fresh air will give you a mental boost that can make you feel better! Just bundle up with a hat and gloves, if needed, and you’ll be happy you got out.

2. Exercise You have to move that body to avoid feeling lethargic and heavy! According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, exercise is an excellent way to fight the winter blues.

Picture of sneakers walking

One study showed that getting some form of aerobic exercise three times per week effectively improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression.

Another study showed the regular practice of yoga could lessen anxiety in women. Don’t you love modern studies that back up ancient practices that have been used for centuries prior? :)

3. Take vitamin D supplements While your best source of vitamin D is sunlight, getting enough sunshine during the winter months isn’t always possible in certain climates.

In an article for Psychology Today, James M. Greenblatt, MD recommends D3 supplementation as one factor in improving mood for cases of SAD.

4. Include whole grains and raw seeds in your diet  Whole grains such as quinoa  contain high levels of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that regulates the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Picture of a pumpkin seeds

Studies have shown that tryptophan is better than placebo at alleviating depression. Other foods high in tryptophan include raw sesame and pumpkin seeds.

5. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids The typical Western diet creates an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This imbalance can lead to a host of health issues, including depression.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include flax, hemp, chia, and pumpkin seeds, as well as vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and purslane.

6. Avoid caffeine, refined sugar, and alcohol The winter blues can leave you feeling a little blah. When this happens, many people feel it’s natural to self-medicate by turning to substances that pick you up and/or calm you down.

Using these substances, however, can wreak havoc on your energy, lifting you up and then causing you to crash.

To keep your mood steadier (and your body healthier), stick to a non-processed diet ofwhole foods and skip these unbalancing entities, like fish oil capsules.

7. Relax It’s easy to burn the candle at both ends during the winter. Relaxation is an important part of fighting anxiety and depression, however.

Picture of candles lit

It’s important during these winter months you take regular time for yourself. Sit with your feet up, gaze out a sunny window (another great way to get sunlight without going outside on the coldest of days, by the way), meditate, or engage in hobbies you enjoy.

Stopping and taking time for yourself is essential for recharging and renewing during the busy winter months. Reflect on what you are letting go of, and what you want to create as the light comes forth again.

8. Laugh Whether you spend time with funny friends, go to a comedy club, or take in the latest funny movie (Wedding Crashers, Zoolander and Forgetting Sarah Marshall are some of my personal classic funny faves!), laughter is a great way to fight the winter blahs.

 

Picture of woman laughing

Multiple studies have shown just how effective laughter is at staving off anxiety and depression, so make sure you take time regularly to get your funny on, and you’ll feel better this winter.

9. Start each day with a Glowing Green Smoothie   Winter causes many people to eat heavier, heartier foods in an attempt to warm themselves from the inside. Lightening up what you eat, however, may just help lighten your mood.

Picture of the Glowing Green Smoothie

That’s because when you eat heavy foods, your body diverts a great deal of energy to digestion.

Lighter fare allows you to use that digestive energy for – well – energy! Packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fiber, the Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS) is energy in a glass.

And since it won’t weigh you down, the GGS gets every day off to the perfect start, helping you feel light and energized all day long.

Say goodbye to those winter blues!

Thanks to http://kimberlysnyder.com

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Be 2.4x less likely to get Alzheimer’s Disease:

Find your Purpose and Passion.

Research* shows those with a strong purpose in life are 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, and an overall slower rate of cognitive decline.

Ever notice when you do something you absolutely love, time stands still and you are truly in the moment? Energy comes from some mysterious source as you fuel hours of devotion. When you are sometimes not sure of how you will accomplish a task, an innate creative force brings together the pieces and illuminates the way.

Life lived on purpose, with passion is truly an element nourishing our innate vitality. Positive feelings resonate down to every cell in our body; keep our minds sharp and our years young. Never loose your childish heart; it knows where you are meant to be.

winterlane
There is true beauty even in winter’s path.

When we have purpose and passion, our feet meet the floor in the morning and already know where they are going. Different stages in life may inspire the activities to help us meet our goals. When you look back on your life, your memories should make you smile. With a purpose and a passion, you will be more apt to recall your memories and avoid cognitive decline.

Be light, and change with the times. Below are some resources to help inspire and re-ignite your purpose and passion. No better time than the beginning of a new year to strengthen your soul and follow your calling.

“But beware of this about callings: they may not lead us where we intended to go or even where we want to go. If we choose to follow, we may have to be willing to let go of the life we already planned and accept whatever is waiting for us. And if the calling is true, though we may not have gone where we intended, we will surely end up where we need to be.”Steve Goodier

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help you through a season of change. Naturopathic Doctors are into very holistic  and focus on whole person healing which includes lifestyle counseling to help you identify your purpose and clinical nutrition and botanical medicine, all of which may help you fend off the cognitive decline, improve your memory and be in that sector of aging folks who stave off Alzheimer’s Disease.

Resources you may find helpful:

  1. Guided Mindfulness Practices with Jon Kabat Zinn: http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/pages/books-by-jon-kabat-zinn
  1. Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life: http://purposedriven.com/books/pdlbook/#purpose
  1. Quotes on the Purpose of Life: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/purpose-of-life
  1. Shannon Keiser’s 3 ways to find purpose: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-kaiser/3-unexpected-ways-to-find_b_5176511.html

 From the heart and mind of your Guelph Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

drlaura@forwardhealth.ca
www.naturalaura.ca
ca.linkedin.com/in/laurambrown

*Archives of General Psychiatry (Volume 67, page 304) studied over 950 people at an average age of 80.

Brainy Nut Ball Recipe

These brainy nut balls are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Fuel your brain and your body… a couple of these are great before a work out or a mid-day work snack. Once you get the hang of making them you can alternate the type of nuts and seeds you use to help get variety into your diet.

They are dairy and gluten free if the ingredients you purchase say so. All nuts are raw and have no other coating on them (watch ingredients).

 

Dr. Laura’s Ginger Nut Balls

8-10 dried figs, stems removed

1/2c Pumpkin seeds or coconut (unsweetened shredded) or sesame nutballsseastrokesseeds

1c walnuts or almond or hazel nuts

1/3 cup hemp hearts

1/2c ground flax

¼ c fancy molasses

2-3tbsp olive oil

1-3 tbsp ground dried ginger (depends on strength)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

 

Food process until it looks like cookie batter (starts to clump a bit but is well mixed).

Roll/press into balls a little small than a Timbit size.

Best eaten in 3-5 days, store in fridge.

From the heart, mind and kitchen of your local naturopathic doctor Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Picture complements of seastoke.com

9 Totally Manageable Fitness Resolutions From The Pros

FITNESS EXPERTS NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

In practice, many ambitious fitness goals made on Jan 1. dissolve into self-defeating thinking and disappointment. But that doesn’t mean that all New Year’s resolution (or, really, resolving to make changes at point in time throughout the year) need to end in frustration and failure. The trick is making the right one.

Before you can even get that far, says Jessica Matthews, senior health and fitness expert for the American Council on Exercise and assistant professor of health and exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego, Calif., you need to take a long, hard look at where you currently stand on the fitness spectrum.

“Honestly acknowledge where you are currently in terms of your health and fitness level,” she tells HuffPost in an email. “While that spirit behind setting a New Year’s resolution is to make positive change to one’s health and fitness, so often people establish goals without being realistic about where they are starting from. Even if perhaps your current level of fitness is not where you want it to be, being honest with yourself about where you are presently and using that information as a baseline from which to work will help you to establish realistic, attainable goals for the new year.”

We asked a handful of fitness experts to share some ideas for realistic resolutions that will make a difference without feeling like a total overhaul. Here are a few of our favorite responses.

  • 1
    Hold A Plank
    “Alina Vincent Photography, LLC” via Getty Images
    “A very manageable fitness resolution that most people can stick to is holding a plank every morning, first thing out of bed. If you can spend one minute brushing your teeth, you can definitely find one minute to hold a plank. Planks are truly one of the best exercises I know of: They work your core and your entire body. Start with 30 seconds and build up to one minute. By doing this first thing in the a.m., you remind yourself to stay active all day.”
    Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor

 

  • 2
    Make It SMART
    Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
    “Set a SMART goal — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For instance, ‘I would like to take three CrossFit classes a week for 60 days.’ If at the end of that 60 days, you achieved your goal, reward yourself with something worthwhile, such as a vacation or massage. Just as you set your resolution in the beginning of the year, also plan your reward. That way, when you’re on week five and you want to throw in the towel, you can remember that sweet reward that is oh-so-close!”
    –Collette Stohler, fitness expert, author of The Intuitive Athlete and HuffPost blogger

 

  • 3
    Find The Middle Ground
    Julia Nichols via Getty Images
    “Shift [your] mindset from the very common ‘all or nothing’ mentality. For many people, the start of the new year entails going from zero to 60, so to speak, almost overnight … If you are currently not exercising or are exercising very sporadically, it’s not very realistic to expect that you’ll overnight commit to exercising for one or two hours per day, six days per week. Often when individuals establish these ‘all or nothing’ [goals], if they are not able to stick with the unrealistic expectations, they end up doing nothing at all.”
    –Matthews

 

  • 4
    Touch Your Toes
    PhotoTalk via Getty Images
    “Setting a performance goal may help you stay more motivated compared to a weight-loss goal. For example, a goal of 10 pull-ups, or touching your toes, can create a healthy shift from focusing purely on aesthetics to performance. Keep in mind that in order for your body to move fluidly and efficiently, your joints need sufficient range of motion, which is why flexibility is so important. As the body performs better, the aesthetics typically follow. Think of a performance goal that really motivates you, and a goal that you can enjoy the process as you strive for it.”
    –Marc Perry, CSCS, ACE-CPT, CEO of BuiltLean

 

  • 5
    Keep A Journal
    hey! My name is Fucchon~ I love photography so much. via Getty Images

    “I’m actually a big fan of journaling. I wake up every morning, roll over in bed and open the journal I use. I read one inspiring quote for the day, then give three answers to the question, ‘What would make today great?’ Finally, I write my daily affirmation, which for me right now is ‘I am inspiring, a joy to be around and a patient teacher.’ Later, in the evening, I re-open the journal and answer the questions ‘What three amazing things happened today?’ and “How could you have made today better?’

    It may sound silly, but this morning practice has kept me laser-focused on my goals and on what I want to accomplish each day. My only regret is not beginning a daily journaling practice earlier in life!”
    Ben Greenfield, fitness and triathlon expert, Get-Fit Guy podcast host

 

  • 6
    Find A Buddy
    Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
    “Working out with a friend allows for a little friendly competition and increased accountability. Choose goals together and get to work! It’s always a little easier when you know someone is rooting for up and waiting for you at the gym.”
    Rebecca Mahoney, certified personal trainer and HuffPost blogger

 

  • 7
    Pick A Precise Number
    Terry Vine via Getty Images

    “[One of] the most common New Year’s resolutions is weight loss or fat or body weight composition changes. It helps if people determine a very specific amount of weight that they want to lose. Weight is easy to measure, as it requires a scale. The weight loss goal should be realistic. Too often people have unrealistic expectations for how much weight it is that they want to lose. Finally, you need to give yourself a very specific time table in which you want to accomplish this goal.

    From a physiology standpoint, there are a lot of factors that go into actually changing your body weight. We are not as simple as cars with a gas in/miles out function. People can get hung up on reducing calories by a very specific amount and not get the predicted weight-loss outcomes that they want. I encourage people to create goals that they can definitely accomplish, like: ‘Today I will go to the gym and I’ll try hard to do exercises appropriately and with effort’ or ‘The next meal I eat will be made up from healthy food choices and the portions will be appropriate.’ [Those are steps] toward reaching a goal of losing 5 pounds in 30 days. We have to be very clear about factors that we can control and factors that we can’t control.”
    –Pat Davidson, Ph.D., former exercise science professor, director of training methodology at Peak Performance in New York City

 

  • 8
    Don’t Stress About It
    Noe Montes via Getty Images
    “Move how it feels good for you to move every day. Don’t stress about it being an hour workout, but keep consistent. Five to 10 minutes of morning practice can set you up for feeling great so you make great choices all day long that [help you] continue cultivating a radiant you.”
    Tara Stiles, founder and owner of Strala Yoga

 

  • 9
    Find The Fun
    Pete Starman via Getty Images
    “Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger. Think about the boost in energy you get after a workout. Do set goals, but make them about making fitness fun: Commit to joining a class three days a week or to signing up for a race. Just find something you consider fun!”
    Chris Freytag, fitness expert, author of Get Started with Weight Loss andHuffPost blogger

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Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

8 Lower-Calorie Holiday Cocktails

Lower-Calorie Holiday Cocktails
Who doesn’t like a good cocktail during the holidays? Sure, spending 3 days straight with your extended family might have something to do with it, but beside that, nearly everyone likes to let loose at this time of year. And there are plenty of occasions to do so. From the office holiday party to the lighting of the menorah to the various eve and morning festivities, there’s no shortage of celebrations that can involve libations.

Unfortunately, most holiday cocktails tend to give the double gift of too much fat and too many calories. One cup of eggnog has 343 calories and 19 grams of fat! It’s a meal in a cup, with a ton of added fat and sugar. Then there are the hot chocolates, mulled ciders, and traditional grogs that chase away the winter chill but help you hang on to the pounds. And don’t forget about all the themed mixed drinks that make parties a bit more fun while making your waistline a bit more full. So how do you enjoy the fun of the holiday season without having to hide behind bulky sweaters till July? Here are 8 fun drink ideas that are lower in fat, calories, and sugar than their original versions.

 

1. Skinny Pumpkin Pie Martini. Yeah, I know. It’s as good as it sounds. There are several pumpkin liqueurs on the market, which are convenient, but add a ton of calories. By using the actual squash, you get the flavor without the calories—and, believe it or not, a little fiber in your drink.

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients
4 fl. oz. vanilla vodka
1 Tbsp. raw honey
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preparation:
1. Place vodka, honey, almond milk, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds, or until puree is completely dissolved.
2. Strain evenly into two martini glasses; serve immediately.

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Martini

2. Grog. Its rich history dates back 400 years, when it used to be rationed out to sailors at sea. The big babies wouldn’t drink their scurvy-preventing dose of lemon juice straight, so the powers that be dressed it up with a little rum. Since the additional ingredients only serve to make it that much tastier, it stands to reason that being “three sheets to the wind” was fairly common.

Total Time: 28 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 18 min.
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Lemon peel (from half a lemon)
Orange peel (from half an orange)
1 Tbsp. raw honey
2 whole cloves (or 1 dash ground cloves)
2 cinnamon sticks (or ½ tsp. ground cinnamon)
1 cup water
4 fl. oz. rum

Preparation:
1. Place lemon juice, lemon peel, orange peel, honey, cloves, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Add rum; mix well.
3. Strain evenly into two mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Grog

3. Gingerbread Toddy. In cold weather, a hot drink can warm you up faster than a Snuggie® and an electric blanket. This hot toddy will make you feel warm while it makes you think you’re eating gingerbread cookies. Yummy.

Total Time: 14 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 4 min.
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses (or molasses)
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 dash ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (or ½ tsp. ground cinnamon)
4 fl. oz. brandy

Preparation:
1. Place water, lemon juice, molasses, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Add brandy; mix well.
3. Strain evenly into two mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Gingerbread Toddy

4. Holiday Hot Chocolate. You can obviously buy no-sugar-added hot chocolate in packages and do this the easy way. But you’re no slacker. You can make homemade hot chocolate instead, which makes your house smell amazing and impresses your friends and family.

Total Time: 14 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 4 min.
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. coconut sugar (or raw honey)
4 fl. oz. peppermint schnapps
Mint leaves (for garnish; optional)

Preparation:
1. Place almond milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Add peppermint schnapps; mix well.
3. Strain evenly into two mugs. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Holiday Hot Cocoa

5. Skinny Peppermint Martini. This is perhaps the simplest and tastiest low-calorie cocktail out there. Just three ingredients and a bit of candy cane. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 fl. oz. vanilla vodka
2 tsp. raw honey
1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 fl. oz. peppermint schnapps
Mint leaves (for garnish; optional)

Preparation:
1. Place vodka, honey, almond milk, and peppermint schnapps in a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds, or until well mixed.
2. Strain evenly into two martini glasses. Garnish with mint leaves if desired; serve immediately.

Skinny Peppermint Martini

6. Mulled Apple Cider. Nothing makes a house smell more like Christmas than some mulled apple cider—except maybe those overpriced candles constantly being advertised on TV. And this cider tastes better, so take that, Glade®!

Total Time: 31 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 21 min.
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup water
Orange peel (from half an orange)
4 whole cloves (or 1 dash ground cloves)
2 cinnamon sticks (or ½ tsp. ground cinnamon)
1 thin slice fresh ginger
1 cup unsweetened apple cider (or unsweetened apple juice)
2 fl. oz. brandy

Preparation:
1. Place water, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
2. Add apple cider; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until hot. Remove from heat.
3. Add brandy; mix well.
4. Strain evenly into two mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Mulled Apple Cider

7. Blitzen’s Bliss. Given that Blitzen is the final reindeer in the lineup, he probably gets knocked around a fair bit by the sleigh over the course of Santa’s travels on Christmas Eve. But once they’re done circumnavigating the globe, Blitzen comes home and has a few of these, and it’s all good. Not only does he feel better, but since they have just 130 calories apiece, he doesn’t feel all bloated for his Christmas dinner the next day.

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
½ cup water
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 fl. oz. vodka
2 tsp. raw honey
Mint leaves (for garnish; optional)
Pomegranate seeds (for garnish; optional)

Preparation:
1. Place water, pomegranate juice, vodka, and honey in a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds, or until well mixed.
2. Strain evenly into two martini glasses. Garnish with mint leaves and pomegranate if desired; serve immediately.

Blitzen's Bliss

8. Santa’s Winter Sangria. Santa really appreciates the cookies and milk. But after hundreds of years, he’s over it. Want to be on the “nice” list next year? Get a little naughty. Leave some sangria by the fireplace for Santa.

Total Time: 4 hr. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 10 servings, 4 oz. each

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh satsuma orange juice (about 4 satsumas)
1 (750-ml) bottle fruity red wine
3 fl. oz. Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
3 Tbsp. raw honey
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 medium lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup satsuma orange sections (about 2 satsumas)

Preparation:
1. Combine orange juice, wine, Triple Sec, honey, cloves, cinnamon, lemon, lime, and orange sections in a large pitcher; mix well.
2. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight).

Tips: If you can’t find Satsuma oranges, you can use Valencia or navel oranges.

Sangria for Santa

So if you’d like to have a “cup of cheer” this holiday season, at least now you can enjoy it without having to wear your baggy Santa outfit for the entire month of January. Happy holidays!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

 

10 Healthier Holiday Treats For The Whole Family

Snowman_Eggs_by_Roxy_xw82zv

Fruity Candy Cane
Delight your kids with this candy cane from Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth. All you need are strawberries, a banana, and a knife!
Banana Strawberry Candy Cane

 

Christmas Tree Pizza
Lunchtime looks delicious with this fun Christmas Tree Pizza idea shared by Caro & Co. Use our recipe for healthy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust and cut out tree shapes before baking. Decorate with your favorite holiday-inspired toppings. Here, sliced olives form garlands. How about topping the pizza in leaves of spinach and decorating with “ornaments” made from red and yellow bell peppers?
Christmas Tree Pizza with Olives

 

Snowman Hard-Boiled Eggs
Why did the snowman take a dip in boiling water? Because he was made from hard-boiled eggs! These adorable snacks from Roxy’s Kitchen are cleverly held together with a stick of dry spaghetti. Carrot slices form hats, sprigs of parsley shape the arms, and buttons and eyes are affixed with black peppercorns (you could also use black sesame seeds). Take it a step further and use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of zucchini for scarves!
Snowman Eggs

 

Santa’s Belly Cheese Snacks
Ho-ho-ho! Santa’s belly is coming to town. Cute Food for Kids wrapped holiday cheer around Babybel individual cheese snacks and used construction paper to craft belts and buckles.
Cheese Santa

 

Snowman Snack Platter
This snowman is playing in a winter wonderland! We love this fun, open-faced sandwich idea from Creative Food. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles of bread and cheese. Add a hat and scarf made from bell peppers, and a sliver of carrot for the nose. This snowman has eyes, a mouth, and buttons made from plum, but you can use black sesame seeds. Popcorn snow is the finishing touch.
Snowman Snack Platter

 

Reindeer Pancakes
Add extra holiday cheer to your morning with these Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer pancakes from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons. For a healthier version use Greek yogurt instead of whipped cream, turkey bacon, and our recipe for Cashew and Oat Hotcakes or Multi-Grain Banana Pancakes.
Rudolph Pancakes

Tortilla Snowflakes
These pretty snowflake-shaped tortillas are dusted with a light sprinkling of Parmesan. They’re simple, savory, and kids of all ages will have fun cutting out snowflake shapes. Get the how-to from Carpé Season.
Parmesan Tortilla Snowflakes

 

No-Bake Granola Bars
Make your own granola bars like these from Life Made Sweeter. Kids will enjoy mixing the ingredients and pressing them into the pan! For a lighter version, try our recipe forCranberry Granola Bars.
Holiday Granola Bars

 

Grinch Grapes
Grapes get a dose of holiday cheer, just like the Grinch did in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with cute hats made from strawberries, sliced banana, and a miniature marshmallow.
Grinch Grapes

 

Fruity Christmas Tree
This decorative tree takes a little more effort than the other snacks on this page, but it will make kids (and grownups) ooh and ah, and you’ll have a healthy, edible centerpiece for your table. Click to find out how Ginger & Garlic assembled it!
Edible Christmas Tree

 

Looking for more holiday treats? Check out this Candy Cane Shakeology, theseGingerbread Protein Pancakes, and these Gingerbread Balls!

What are your favorite holiday snacks? Tell us in the comments!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks to http://www.beachbody.com

Food or Mood: Which comes first?

Are you an emotional eater? Or have you ever wondered if what you eat can affect how your feel? Discover top 5 digestive links between the food you eat and the way you feel.

withinus
Join Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND to learn about:
1. The Hunger Cues
2. Food Sensitivities
3. Gut Health and Mood Connection
4. Sugar & Dopamine
5. Protein & Neurotransmitters

For example: Did you know the microflora or bacteria that lines your digestive tract can communicate to your hunger centres and trigger cravings to preferentially feed themselves? Learn how to build a healthy flora that will contribute to your mood, your weight and your well being.

This and the four other areas listed above will be covered in Dr. Laura M. Brown’s next complimentary talk entitled Food or Mood at Goodness Me! in Guelph on January 13th, 6:30pm. Register here.

What foods are best for you?

Note current Christmas SPECIAL on your Individualized Koru Food Sensitivity testing

at Forward Health with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. No Needles.

$225 for 230 foods.

Dec – sold out

Jan 6 & 27 – call (519) 826-7973 to book

Vitamins: Could you be deficient?

Habitual eating habits that lack variety, medications or certain medical conditions  put us at risk for nutrient deficiency. A medical expert review of your current health condition, medications and diet diary is key to screening and finding potential changes that could be a substantial difference in your health and well being. This short review may provide some reminders and insight. Daily requirements for any vitamin vary on age, gender and current system demands. Some supplementation of one vitamin can mask a deficiency of another.

This and more will be covered in Dr. Laura M. Brown’s next complimentary talk entitled Food or Mood at Goodness Me! in Guelph on January 13th, 6:30pm. Register here.

Part 1 of 2:

Part 1: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 and Folic Acid

Vitamin A: Conditions that may be associated with Vitamin A deficiency include hypothyroidism (thyroid plays a role in converting beta carotene from our diet to vitamin A), liver disease, alcoholism, gastric or intestinal surgery, intestinal parasites, other gastrointestinal disturbances that cause malabsorption like Celiac, Crohn’s or food sensitivities. Increased levels of inflammation in the body will also decrease your vitamin A status.

Often you can tell if you are deficient if you have mild follicular hyperkeratosis – often felt at the back of the upper arms as you run your hands along, skin has multiple little bumps or feels rough to the touch. Night blindness can also be from Vitamin A deficiency but this can also be from a Zinc deficiency. Vitamin A is best absorbed from your diet and is found in foods like liver, fish liver oils, dairy, eggs. Foods that are high in beta carotene that your body converts to vitamin A are carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe and other fruits and vegetables. Women who are pregnant or are capable of becoming pregnant and smokers should never supplement with vitamin A. Vitamin A can put the baby at risk for birth defects and has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine Conditions associated with psychiatric conditions, aging or insomnia can often be helped with supplementation. A diet low in thiamine can lead to deficiency is as little as 4-5 days. Other triggers can include pregnant women with severe morning sickness including multiple bouts of vomiting, alcoholism, thyrotoxicosis, and major surgery.

Thiamine deficiency is known as “beriberi”. Signs of mild deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, vague headaches, pain, and difficulty with mental concentration and memory. Some people also experience weakness, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy, edema, tachycardia. Deficiency can also contribute to congestive heart failure. Severe deficiency is known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy in the early stages and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in the later stages. Early signs include psychiatric disturbances, ataxia, ocular palsy, nystigmus. Later stages progress to a chronic neuropathic/psychiatric condition.

Good food sources of B1 include whole grains, legumes, nuts, meat, and enriched flour products.

B2: Riboflavin. B2 is important for helping convert B6 to its active form and is active in homocysteine metabolism, something that is important to cardiovascular /cholesterol health. B2 is also used to help prevent or treat migraines, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis and some myopathies (muscle pain).

Indications that you may be deficient in vitamin B2 include cracks at the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, changes in personality, anemia, weakness, depression, seborrheic dermatitis (moist, oily flaky skin condition – cradle cap in newborns and psoriasis/eczema mocking skin reaction in adults aged 30-60), excessive tears, inflammation of the clear membrane that lines your eye (results in vision distortion). Good food sources include meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Vitamin B3: Niacin B3 is critical in supporting health as it relates to cardiovascular, dermatological, hearing, taste, balance, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, ADHD, dementia, schizophrenia, sleep, osteoarthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, diabetes and alcohol addiction.

Classic deficiency is known as pellagra – the “three d’s”: diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis and sometimes the fourth D…. death.

Early signs that you may be deficient include nervousness, headaches, forgetfulness, apprehension and/or gastrointestinal disturbances.

Food sources include meat, chicken, fish, whole grains, legumes and dairy products.

Folic Acid: Known as folate in foods, folic acid in supplements. Folic acid is key to the intrauterine development of the spinal cord. It is also involved in cardiovascular health, dermatological and neurological conditions, psychiatric many other conditions within the body as it is a key methylator to many biochemical transactions.

As adults, folic acids needs stomach acid to help absorb, so if H.pylori present or on a proton pump inhibitor you may be at risk for deficiency. However people with low stomach acid are also at risk for overgrowth of bacteria in small intestine, and these bacteria can make folic acid – so deficiency is not eminent. If you are supplementing with high doses of B12, you may not be able to tell if you have a folic acid deficiency as they present as one in the same – megaloblastic anemia. Other symptoms can be vague or similar to other B vitamin deficiencies: depression, anxiety, headache, fatigue, apathy, confusion, dementia, polyneuropathy, cracks at the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, brownish pigmented skin, low muscle tone in babies, poor immune response. This is just one of many reasons why it is always advised to seek a medical expert opinion on your supplement regime.

 

From the heart and mind of your local naturopathic doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. www.naturalaura.ca www.forwardhealth.ca

 

Source:

Gaby, A. (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing. Concord, NH.

Should You Work Out on an Empty Stomach?

Should You Work Out on an Empty Stomach

Blood flow isn’t the only issue here. Even if you wanted to knock out some plyo while macking on a Royale with cheese, your body has ways to actively sabotage your efforts, and it isn’t afraid to use them. It’s primary method of action: Your nervous system.

At the risk of over-generalizing, your nervous system has two sides. Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for “fight or flight” functions. It kicks in when you’re under stress (e.g., during hard exercise), releasing a cascade of hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol that prime your body for action. Your parasympathetic nervous system, meanwhile, is in charge of your “rest and digest” functions. It’s also responsible for healing.

The problem is that when your sympathetic system kicks in, it shuts down your parasympathetic system, including anything that isn’t mission critical for the task at hand. Have you ever had to urinate when something stressful popped up, causing you to completely forget about your need to whiz? That’s your sympathetic nervous system in action, and it treats your digestive process the same way. Since the food in your stomach doesn’t provide an immediate survival benefit—and yes, your body assumes your life is at stake if you’re exerting yourself strenuously (why else would you do something like that?)— it hits the kill button on digestion to support your attempt to fight or flee. If you’re walking or cycling leisurely, you’re fine—you’ll continue to digest what you ate. But if the going gets tough, your digestion stops going. Whatever is in your tummy will just sit there—and you’ll probably feel it.

Don’t confuse exercising on an empty stomach with training in a fasted state. An empty stomach means you’ve given yourself enough time to adequately digest your food. That can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the size of your meal. Being in a fasted state means you’ve gone without eating for somewhere on the order of 12 hours (typically overnight). At this point, your food has not only been digested, but the fuel it supplied has been largely depleted, leaving your blood sugar low and your liver glycogen wanting. In this situation, your metabolism shifts and you’re more prone to burn fat—but the benefit has more to do with athletic performance than weight loss.

Timing your pre-exercise feeding to avoid these conflicts is easy. The general rule is to wait 3 hours after a full, balanced meal. Wait 2 hours after a lighter meal where the nutritional balance is skewed toward carbs (e.g., half a turkey sandwich and a glass of juice). Wait 1 hour after a similarly carb-rich snack, such as a glass of chocolate milk. For anything less than an hour, keep your snack below 100 calories and focus on fast-absorbing carbs (e.g., half a banana).

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks to beachbody.com