how to manage eating well over the holidays

This may sound like a topic that is “gutsy” to approach over the holiday season, but I wanted to get a jumpstart on your dietary choices now before everything gets out of hand and you feel that you are bloated and tired after the holidays. There are so many healthy options out there today. All you must do is explore and not gravitate to the “same old” habits and menu year after year.

The best recommendation I can make is to leave dairy, processed foods, and refined sugars out of the house. This may should like a bold statement, but if you walked into my kitchen right now, you would see none of that.

Here are my Top 5 Tips

1) Most clients tell me that they cannot give up cheese. I get that. If you have been a cheese lover all your life, it is a tough one! The protein in cheese can be very hard to digest, constipating, and irritating to the gut. When combined with sugars (breads and crackers), it can cause severe bloating. Today there are many alternative cheese substitutes coming from nut butters. The last time I had a party at my home everyone thought they were eating cheese, but it was a cashew butter spread!

2) Make your own dips instead of buying them. Most of the time store bought dips are loaded with sugars and artificial flavors and sodium. Here is a recipe that incorporates the cheesy flavor.

All Purpose Cheese Wiz

1/4 cup of raw cashews
1 1/4 cup of diced peeled potatoes 1/3 cup of carrots diced
2-3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsps. of water 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 medium garlic clove
1/2 tsp of white wine vinegar
Hot sauce (optional)

1. Soak the cashews in a bowl overnight or for at least 1 hour. Rinse and drain.
2. Put the potatoes and carrots to boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain.
3. Transfer the cashews, potatoes, and carrots to a blender, add nutritional yeast, coconut oil, water, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, garlic, vinegar, and blend until smooth. If it is too thick you can add some water. Taste and add Sriracha if desired.

3) Choose raw honey, maple syrup, or agave for recipes as opposed to refined sugar. This can make a huge difference when you bake for your kids. Raw honey for example is extremely nutritious. To substitute 1 cup of sugar in a recipe, use 2/3 cup honey and decrease other liquids by 1/4 cup as there is water in honey as well.

4)We all tend to have some alcohol in our home over the holidays. When purchasing wine, for example, check the amount of sugar and sulfites in the bottle. This can make a huge difference not only with weight gain, but how you process the wine. Sulfites can be very disturbing, causing headaches and nausea.

5) Last but not least, do not stress about your choices when you are out of your own home. The worst thing you can do is to get yourself into a frenzy when you are either out at a restaurant with friends or a home party. If you accepted the invite, then it is your time to indulge. What you do occasionally will not affect you as much as what you have in your kitchen daily. Stress raises insulin and this will cause digestive issues, weight gain and unnecessary stress.

Wishing you all a beautiful, peaceful holiday season


Frances Michaelson

A pioneer in the fitness industry, Frances opened the first personal training center in the West Island of Montreal in 2001. In 2008 , Frances had the “gut feeling“ that there was more to learn about health and how our bodies function, which led to further her education in the field of Naturopathy and holistic nutrition. She has since authored two books. Her latest book, "Do you Have the Guts to be Healthy" was published in March 2021. As a trainer and naturopath, she truly loves seeing people transform themselves by trusting their bodies instead of getting caught up in the medical system. Practicing health is the only way to live the gift of life well!

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