Thanksgiving happens every year. The biggest food feast of them all! This year will look a lot different given the pandemic. Gone are the days of big family gatherings with multiple types of desserts. But rest assured, we’re all still planning on eating delicious food.
If you’re trying to diet on Thanksgiving, don’t. The pandemic has already put enough stress and strain on our lives. This is a day of celebration, not restriction. Be mindful about what you’re eating, but please don’t count calories, macros or carbs.
Here’s a secret. You don’t HAVE to stuff yourself at Thanksgiving, or any other holiday, for that matter. It’s not like you’re never going to have pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes and gravy again. Why the need to stuff? It’s just silly.
Below are some tips to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving.
- Don’t skip meals. This will only make you cranky and ravenous by the time dinner rolls around and you’ll likely overeat. Eat lighter meals throughout the day to maintain energy and don’t starve yourself.
- Eat what you like, but in smaller amounts. No one says you have to have a full serving of potatoes or green bean casserole. Take a spoonful or two of what you like and leave room for dessert (if you even want dessert). Not everyone has a sweet tooth.
- Speaking of dessert- why not make 1/2 recipes this year? Anything that has an even number of eggs can be easily split in half. With a small crowd, you’ll have plenty for everyone.
- Go easy on alcohol. Fine to have a cocktail or two, but keep in mind, alcohol increases your appetite, meaning you’ll eat more once it’s time to join everyone to eat.
- Listen to your body. Think about how you’ll feel after taking that second helping before you plop it on your plate. Is it worth the heart burn, tight pants or poor sleep due to overeating? Probably not.
Pay attention to hunger cues. Say grace and have grace. God willing, we’ll have more holidays and more holiday meals for years to come.
Sometimes I can be inpatient. I suppose I should wait for #blackfriday to start my buy one, get one half off sale, but since many of my items are print on demand, it made more sense to run it early to allow enough thyme for things to ship.
Starting Wednesday, 11-25 through midnight #cybermonday 11-29, chews any swag items and get the second item half off! My food pun swag shop was featured in the Food Network Holiday foodie gift guide this year: https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthy/articles/healthy-gift-guide
I’ve got puns with veggies like Stalker, Be kaleful and Peas romaine seeded or fruit puns like No hard peelings and Don’t despear! You can also chews from my dairy selection like Praise Cheeses, Oh My Gouda and Eat, drink and be dairy.
Not sure of someone’s size? How about a cute deja brew coffee mug or Lettuce beet hunger tote? There’s plenty of fun gifts to chews from.
Going to a baby shower? Check out my selection of adorable onesies! They’re simple, funny and not in the least bit dirty. Who needs cuss words on an infant onesie? Just say no to that!
Use code BOGO50 at check out. Message me with questions and happy shopping!
While it’s important to be concerned about COVID, having a vaccine (and getting one) may be a while. Your best bet is to stay socially distanced, wear a mask, and wash your hands often. This winter could be a rough one.
Flu season is right around the corner, so it’s time to get your shot. Just 2 weeks after you get your shot, you’ll be protected from the flu. Getting a shot is not just for infants and the elderly. The flu shot is advised for anyone and everyone over the age of 6 months. This year, there is an option for a shot that covers 4 strains of flu VS 3. The effectiveness of the live attenuated nasal spray option is questionable, and is therefore no longer advised.
A higher dose vaccine is now available to the elderly as they may not have a strong enough antibody response to the standard vaccine. It is considered safe for those with egg allergy to get the flu vaccine, but those whom experience symptoms other than hives may need to receive their immunization in a medical office with staff that are able to handle medical emergencies.
People refuse to get a flu shot every year due to the several myths that are perpetuated about flu shots. Science journalist Tara Haelle has produced an extensive list of all the misguided reasons people skip their shot and put themselves and those around them at risk for the flu. 1
Here are a few:
- Myth: The flu vaccine gives you the flu or makes you sick.
- Myth: Pregnant women should not get the flu shot. / The flu shot can cause miscarriages Pregnant women should only get the preservative-free flu shot.
- Myth: People with egg allergies cannot get the flu shot. It will kill them!
- Myth: People don’t die from the flu unless they have another underlying condition already.
- Myth: If I get the flu, antibiotics will take care of me.
If you contracted the flu after getting a flu shot, it’s likely because there are multiple strains of flu. The shot did not cause your illness. Having flu-like symptoms could also occur, but again is likely due to a different virus that the shot did not cover. While the shot is not perfect, if you do contract the flu, it would likely be a milder version than if you’d never gotten immunized.
Cost of the vaccine can range from free (at your worksite or free health clinic) or up to $15 at Cosco or other in-store pharmacies. You can research the cost here: https://20somethingfinance.com/where-to-get-cheap-or-free-flu-shots/ 2 Influenza is a virus, so antibiotics will not “take care of you” should you contract it. Antibiotics work on bacteria. People do die from the flu- the elderly, infants and toddlers and those with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable.
Some other ways to stay healthy this flu season include:
- Wash your hands- multiple times a day
- Eat a balanced diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables for vitamin C, beta-carotene and other immune-protective nutrients.
- Consume adequate protein and iron from plant or animal sources. Both nutrients are needed for a strong immune system. Plant sources include dried beans, lentils and tofu. Eggs, lean beef and chicken and fish are also good sources.
- Do regular exercise. Regular physical activity improves T cell function of the immune system to fight disease.
- Get enough sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours to prevent getting run down, which lowers immunity.
If you do contract the flu, some ways to take care of yourself include:
- Staying hydrated. Eating soup, foods high in water (like fruits and vegetables) and consuming lots of fluids help by keeping mucous membranes moist and clear.
- Eating enough calories. A rise in temperature while you are sick increases your metabolic rate and may lead to weight loss. Be sure to eat 3 meals a day and snacks if needed.
- Say no to extra activities if you can and stay home from work. You don’t want others around you to get sick either.
Recent statistics from the CDC state that 1 in 3 Americans have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is the precursor for diabetes- meaning, left untreated, you may eventually develop diabetes. Diabetes raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s not to be ignored.
Having 2 parents with diabetes (my father is deceased), my risk for diabetes is much higher than most. A few years ago, I was experiencing a few symptoms (urinating at night, feeling fatigued after meals) that prompted me to see my doctor and ask for a few blood tests. To my surprise, my Hba1c (a measure of blood sugar over a 3-month time frame), was 6.3%. For those of you familiar with the diagnosis of diabetes, a Hba1c of 6.5% is diagnostic.
I asked my doctor what I should do. My diet wasn’t 100% perfect, but I’d like to think I take pretty good care of myself. I exercise 4 to 5 days/week (walking 45 or more minutes at a time and pickle ball whenever I can) and eat a high fiber diet. I can definitely work on reducing my sugar intake, but overall, my diet isn’t terrible. My weight is normal. Whatever you think diabetes looks like, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
She suggested I could tweak my diet and wait 6 months to recheck labs or that I take Metformin- a medication that’s a first line treatment of diabetes. I initially felt guilty for needing medicine. Did I do this to myself? Will I have to take meds for life? Given my family history, my history of rheumatoid arthritis and my elevated Hba1c, I decided to put my pride aside, work on my diet more and take the medication. My Hba1c is thankfully in the normal range now!
I recently wrote an article for Today’s Dietitian about pros and cons of medication for pre-diabetes. Everyone has to do what they feel is right for them, but understanding the risks, pros and cons is helpful. Knowing my family history and elevated risk for heart disease (due to arthritis), medication was what felt right for me. I hope this article helps someone out there make the decision for their own health.
I received an interesting food sample in the mail the other day: a product called Crunchsters made out of sprouted mung beans. If you’re not familiar with mung beans, they are the tiniest member of the legume (AKA bean) family and can be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouted mung beans are similar in texture to dried soy nuts and equally nutritious. They don’t call them “mighty mung beans” for nothin’!
A little over a 1 oz. serving of sprouted mung beans provides 7 grams or plant-based protein, 5 grams of dietary fiber and 20% of the daily value for magnesium- an essential mineral needed for blood pressure and bone health. They are relatively low in sodium (7% of the daily value) and also provide potassium, iron and manganese. The sample pack I received included 4 different flavors: smokey balsamic, sea salt, beyond bacon and BBQ. The beans may be eaten solo as a snack or used as a topper for a recipe.The whole pack of Crunchsters provides 180 calories, which is totally reasonable for a mid-day snack.
Given the warm temps, I opted for a big salad as part of my lunch today. I had some cannellini beans on hand as well as kalamata olives and a few cherry tomatoes. I like to make my own dressing since I think salads taste fresher than with store bought dressing. If you see them in the store (available in Whole Foods or Amazon), give them a try! #freesample #smokey #balsamic #mungbeans #vegan #nonGMO #organic #crunchsters
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
5 kalamata olives, cut in half
5 cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 Tbsp. cannellini or other white bean (navy, Great Nothern, etc.)
1 Tbsp. Crunchsters smokey balsamic mung beans
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- Place romaine in a bowl and top with tomatoes, olives, white beans and Crunchsters mung beans.
- Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
Makes 1 salad
It’s been a tough spring. My oldest daughter was all set to go to Italy with her art class and the younger to DC with her social studies class. They’d both received these trips as gifts for Christmas since they weren’t exactly cheap. Our older daughter was working part time and paid for half of her trip. I was secretly jealous. I’d never traveled to either place!
Once the pandemic hit in January, we were pretty skeptical about the trip to Italy. By February, Europe was making headline news that the corona virus was getting worse. We weren’t surprised when the trip was cancelled by late February.
So, we did what we could. We stayed inside, We wore and continue to wear masks wherever we go. My girls got through online/virtual school and were on social media more than usual. They called, texted and zoomed friends. And somewhere in the midst of all of that, my older daughter discovered roller skates.
She told me she wanted skates for her birthday (in June) because, “people looked so happy roller skating”. She didn’t want them because they would help her get in shape or lose weight. She didn’t want them because friends had them (none of them do). She simply wanted them for fun. How cool is that?
If you’re looking for ways to exercise, consider what is FUN. I look at exercise like I do food. If it’s not enjoyable, why are you spending time on it? There are a million ways to get moving. What appeals to you? Below are tips to consider:
- Do you prefer to be inside or outside? If outside, do you like to bike, hike,swim, run or walk? Do you need any special equipment (a bike or hiking shoes) or can you just walk outside your door and go? Pools are opening slowly in Cincinnati, but there are some open and available to take a dip.
- Are you social or prefer solo exercise? While some gyms are opening up, you may not feel comfortable going just yet. You may be able to find classes online. http://glo.com offers a free trial of yoga or pilates classes. YMCA also offers free classes https://ymca360.org/
- Multi-task if the exercise seems boring. Read a book or listen to a podcast while you’re on the elliptical. Watch your favorite sit com while you’re on your bike.
- Use a few free weights or stretch bands at home. Strength training builds muscle, strength and reduces your fall risk. It also tones you up, helps manage blood sugar and increases metabolism.
- Start S L O W L Y. No need to run a marathon two weeks after you start running. Start with 5 minutes walking every other day. Increase to 10 minutes after a week or two and build from there. Be consistent.
- Try something new! While rollerskating may be a bit much (it isn’t for a teenager), try an online class, new racket sport or other activity. I’ve discovered pickle ball this spring and love it!
- Check out a used sports goods store. You may get some bargains on used equipment in addition to ideas of new activities you hadn’t considered.
- Don’t quit. Our bodies crave movement every day. Without it, we lose muscle mass and strength. Exercise feeds your brain oxygen and nutrients. Studies show that regular exercise reduces your chances of dementia and depression. Get off the couch. Skate if you like.