Dr. Joel Furhman
The holiday season is a joyous time when we celebrate with our family and friends. However, the festivities often present us with tough choices – tempting unhealthy foods are everywhere. It is accepted in our culture to use the holiday season as an excuse for gluttony and addictive binges. Sadly for this reason, the holidays are also associated with trips to the emergency room and deaths from dangerous eating. The emergency room doctors call it “holiday heart” – the busiest times at hospitals are when heart attacks, strokes and other emergencies occur the morning after a big holiday meal.
I take bad nutrition seriously because people die from it. When junk food is eaten, including the traditional, disease-promoting foods served at the holidays, you may get momentary pleasure as it passes the lips, but the results continue on to compromise your health.
Maybe overeating while celebrating the holidays has left you feeling unhealthy and regretful. Not having good health magnifies every emotional problem plaguing your life and exacerbates the winter blues.
Now is the time to make changes - if you are serious about caring properly for your body, and are looking for results, you’ll need to make the commitment to stay on the road to wellness. No excuses. Only you are in charge of your future health.
Start your new path to health and longevity now. Don’t know where to start? Try these simple guidelines taken from my book Eat To Live:
Eat at least one large salad each day.
Enjoy generous amounts of cooked green vegetables with mushrooms and onions.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with at least three fresh fruits each day.
Eat at least one fulfilling cup of beans each day.
Eat your G-BOMBS. Greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries, and seeds. These are the most health-promoting foods in existence.
Avoid or strictly limit disease-promoting foods: white flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, oils, and animal products. Unhealthy food is designed to be addictive – keep it out of your home.
By basing your diet around healthful foods, less room is left in your diet for tempting, disease-causing foods, and over time the desire for those foods will fade away. Your taste buds will be retrained, and you will naturally prefer to eat healthfully.
Here are some tips for staying on track:
Always keep your kitchen stocked with fresh and frozen produce.
Budget time: plan out when you will shop for groceries, cook, exercise, relax, and spend time with friends and family.
Plan your meals ahead of time and make a detailed grocery list before you go shopping.
Cook vegetable bean soups in large batches, and store leftovers in the refrigerator so you can quickly heat some up for lunch or dinner later in the week.
Stay focused on your health – eating right is self-care. Do not allow the unhealthy influences around you to derail you from your health goals.
Fast forward to next holiday season: you will make the best choices; the ones that will allow you to achieve overall health and quality of life.
You’ll be celebrating your health instead of simply indulging in the “traditional” destructive foods. As you eat for optimal health and vitality, you’ll be able to more fully enjoy the special times with family and friends. You will flourish and it will be the most enjoyable holiday season you’ve ever had.
There will be no need to “start over” next January 1st. You will already be committed to your health, and feel pleased with yourself for maintaining your healthy habits over the holidays.
Dr. Fuhrman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live, and a board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine. His newest book The End of Diabetes (available now for pre-order on Amazon.com, release date December 26th) explains how to prevent and reverse type II diabetes, avoid its serious complications, and lose weight in the process. Visit his informative website at DrFuhrman.com. Submit your questions and comments about this column directly to firstname.lastname@example.org