The holiday season is a particularly challenging time of the year to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. With parties, family gatherings and social events your diet can fall by the waist side. Even with the holidays approaching it’s important to remember that your diet can affect your chronic pain and overall wellbeing.
“When you eat foods like refined carbohydrates, processed meats and sugar-loaded snacks, you can make your pain worse,” says Dr. Len Cerullo, MD. “But when you nourish yourself with foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish and nuts, you can reduce symptoms.”
We have developed some helpful tips to keep you happier and healthier through the holiday season without having to miss out.
- Don’t skip meals. Many of us think we can sidestep our usual lunch, so we can enjoy a larger holiday dinner. Skipping meals inevitably leads to overeating. Those who eat in the morning tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Be sure to also include lots of fiber by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Veggies first, then a reward. Processed and home-baked foods are likely high in salt, sugar, carbohydrates and artificial ingredients which often increases swelling and bloating in the joints. Avoid missing out on all the goodies by eating the healthy choices first, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean protein and when you move on to the treats, you will be less likely to overdo it.
- Homemade from the heart.The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. With so many new healthy recipe choices, you can skip foods that cause inflammation and enjoy foods that also have pain-relieving properties.
- Watch your step. It sounds crazy, but how often do you think about your placement at a party? When you’re at a gathering, take note, and don’t stand next to the food or buffet tables. This strategy will make it much harder for you to simply reach out and mindlessly graze. If you know you won’t be able to help yourself, consider popping a mint or a stick of gum in lieu of reaching for the chips.
- Remember your dancing and/or walking shoes. Remember your easiest defense against pain and swelling is daily moderate exercise. It can be harder to get up and go when it’s cold outside, so get creative. There’s a lot of dancing around holiday parties. and it’s great exercise. If dancing isn’t your style, suggest a holiday walk before or after the food and drink. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with family while giving your body a vigorous jolt.
Want to learn more about a holistic approach to pain management? Get more info on The Len Cerullo Method.