Does this sound familiar: “No, thank you. I can’t eat bread.” Or how about, “thanks, but I’m trying to stay away from sugar”? Well, you’re not alone. As many as 3 million people in the US are avoiding gluten, and while that sounds like a lot, it’s nothing compared to the fact that in the past year, the percentage of American adults following a specific diet has more than doubled, from 14 to 36% (or more than 220 million people). 

There are a lot of theories out there as to why so many people are trying new diet protocols, from trendy millennials driving demand for the “best” way to eat, to people responding to new science on what causes weight gain. But it could be as simple as this: people don’t feel healthy and are just looking for ways to feel better.  

Regardless of the reasons, the holidays are always a time of diet dread for many, and they don’t have to be. Winter can be a season of restoration and healing. Quit focusing on what you shouldn’t be doing, and start focusing on what you should be doing. These three simple reminders can help you enjoy the holidays without feeling left out, being uncomfortable, or sacrificing health and fitness goals. 

 

  1. Remember what the holidays are about.

    The holiday season is, at its roots, about love and gratitude; gratitude for sharing food with our loved ones during the cold winter, when food was usually hard to come by. Over time, however, holiday foods have become over-indulgences. Most dishes are loaded with sugar, butter, flour, sugar, and more sugar. This leaves millions of people who try to be healthy the rest of the year with a perennial predicament: fall off the health wagon or deprive yourself of traditional favorites.

    Sharing foods and gifts that are not only made with love, but that will help your loved ones heal and be healthy are better gifts than any decadent dessert or electronic gadget. If you find yourself hosting a holiday party or needing to bring something to share, all our recipes are not only delicious and simple to make, but they’re all developed by healthcare professionals who only care about helping you and your family lead healthier lives.
     

  2. Winter is a season of cold and dark, but it is also the season of deepest healing.

    In winter, the land and all its life are retreating inwards, conserving energy and nourishment in preparation for the rebirth of spring. It is a time of reflection, of thinking back on the year and preparing for the next. There are so many traditional ways to eat during the winter that support this restorative time. 

    In addition, meditation and meditative activities like Qi Gong, slow and gentle yoga, even deeply cleaning your home, or sitting and staring at a fire are all perfect activities for calming the mind in winter and allowing the body to restore itself. Gather those you love around you to help restore your bodies and souls. Don’t forget this when everyone is getting excited for holiday shopping. There are much more important reasons to get together this time of year than the exchange of gifts.
     

  3. Don’t lose focus on eating seasonal, real food.

    Winter is here, harvest is over, and not many fruits or vegetables are growing. Turning to processed foods is an easy option to fall victim to. But don’t forget, tropical fruits are just coming into season as winter creeps towards us folks in the Northern Hemisphere. Citrus fruits are an easy choice, but now’s the time to try an exotic fruit you’ve never tried before, like dragon fruit, star fruit, or even pomegranate, all rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories.

    And what about vegetables? Winter is not the time to abandon our local farms; they have so much to offer and it is the time they need us the most! Root vegetables like potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips and rutabagas are loaded with stored energy and nutrition, and they keep well for long periods of time. Winter squashes are often forgotten but are some of the most delicious vegetables around! 

READ MORE: Gluten free, sugar free, and all the seasonal fresh produce! Browse our recipes. 

When we take the time to remember these things, the holidays can be very rewarding on a deeper level. Homes should be full of light and laughter, reflection, restoration, and nutrient-rich foods prepared in simple and unbelievably delicious ways. Holiday celebrations don’t have to mean your health and fitness goals must be pushed to the side, or that you have to be the odd one out. They can be a time of progress and deep healing to set you up for an even more successful new year.  

Happy holidays from all of us at Team RESTORE!