Sweet memories are made during the holiday season because it is a season that brings together family and friends more than any other. It is also a season that can bring a lot of stress! Stress is one of the worst destructive toxins for your body. It messes with everything, from your hormones to your mood, and it can rob you of that holiday glow! It can be really easy to let self care take a back seat during the holiday season, but being intentional about your health and well-being can help keep that holiday stress in check! But what does self care look like? For some it might mean enjoying a nice glass of wine, bath bombs, and face masks. For others, a good walk, plenty of sleep, and reading a good book. What’s important is that you find achievable ways to take care of yourself in a way that speaks to you, because everybody is different and has unique wants and needs. However you choose to practice self-care this holiday season is a great step in the right direction. As seen on News Channel 4, “Today in Nashville” show, If you don’t know where to start, and need some inspiration, fun recipes, and easy tips, keep reading!
Tip #1: Home Spa Style
Give your skin some extra love!
The dry air can be very tough on the skin, especially the sensitive skin on your face and hands.
Practicing healthy skincare is always important but especially during the harsh winter months! If the holidays have you stressed try carving out a little home spa time for yourself! If you want to soothe and detoxify your skin, try jade rolling. It is an ancient technique that promotes healthy blood flow to the face in order to help de-puff, relax, and increase circulation. Follow your jade rolling with a high quality hydrating cream or face oil to moisturize. Another great technique that enhances circulation, improves detoxification, and sloughs off dead skin cells is dry brushing! Try this before a bath or shower, brushing with long strokes towards your heart and lymphatic areas and following up with a vitamin-rich moisturizer to nourish the skin. Just remember, the # 1 most important thing you can do for your skin (and the rest of your body) is hydrating! Drinking plenty of water hydrates and plumps your skin, boosts your mood and mental clarity, and can help curb cravings. I especially love the Welly brand, because it has an internal infuser for flavoring water. Because it’s in season during the winter months, I always reach for citrus to infuse my water with. Studies have shown that the smell of citrus promotes happy feelings and can help de-stress the body and the mind!
Tip #2: 123 CBD
There is evidence that consuming or using topical CBD products can help relieve acne, anxiety, arthritis pain, depression, and inflammatory pain. With CBD’s increasing popularity, there are so many options to try! There are all sorts of CBD infused products such as bath bombs, coffee, lotions, oils, and more. When choosing a CBD product, be sure to go with a reputable brand. Allo brand CBD uses the highest quality ingredients in their tinctures, which ensures that you are getting the maximum anti-stress antiinflammatory benefits of CBD. One fun way to use their CBD tincture is to put it in a delicious smoothie! The natural, powerful antioxidants in CBD are even further enhanced by the fruits and veggies in this delicious green smoothie. The coconut water helps you to start out well-hydrated, which again, is essential for mind and body health! The FDA does not have an official RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for CBD, and the amount you may need to reap benefits is unique to you. In general it is a good idea to follow the bottle or individual product recommendations. My advice is to start with a small amount and find the dosing that helps you!
Green CBD Smoothie Recipe
Makes: 1 serving
1 cup organic pineapple (frozen chunks)
1 cup fresh organic kale (or 1/2 cup frozen)
1 cup fresh organic spinach (or 1/2 cup frozen)
1/4 avocado (fresh)
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
1 scoop of collagen or protein powder
1 whole dropper of CBD Oil- approx. 30mg CBD
Coconut water (or other liquid to blend)
Combine all ingredients in order in a blender.
Top with coconut water or desired liquid (such as milk or water). Blend until smooth.
Nutrition: 190 Calories (with water); Fat 9g (1g Saturated); Carb 19g; Sugar 11g (0g added); Protein 12g
Tip #3: It’s Tea Time!
Many studies have shown that tea can have a positive impact on our health by aiding in digestion, slowing aging, supporting weight management, detoxifying, reducing inflammation, and boosting immunity. Drinking tea is also a comforting way to hydrate and reduce anxiety! These teas are extra special because they contain turmeric, which has amazing antiinflammatory properties that fight the negative effects of stress in your body. Even the simple ritual of drinking a hot cup of tea can reduce stress, improve sleep, and decrease appetite. When choosing a tea, lean towards ones with ingredients like green tea, turmeric, ginger, chamomile, peppermint spearmint, lemon, or rose. Now all you have to do is cuddle up with a warm blanket and a good book (or TV show) and sip the stress away!
Tip #4: Slash the Salt
Comfort food is an essential part of the holiday season! But overeating foods high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories can actually make you feel bloated, more anxious, and depressed. Why not try slashing that salt in order to slim down some typical holiday comfort foods? Taking your favorite comfort food and swapping sodium with flavorful seasonings can be a great way to enjoy it more frequently without the negative consequences of bloating, high blood pressure, and electrolyte imbalances. Replacing salt with things like lemon juice, garlic powder, onion, fresh garlic, and different herbs is a super easy and delicious way to cut back on sodium in any dish. One of my favorite sodium swap recipes is my butternut squash mac & cheese! This recipe is low in sodium, and is moderate in calories and saturated fat. A lot of the added salt that you would typically find in a mac and cheese recipe has been swapped out with super flavorful seasonings. I love using the Simply Organic seasonings that have a variety of salt free options that are all full of flavor! They can easily jazz up any dish without jacking up the sodium! You can enjoy this mac and cheese with your family and feel good about it!
Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese
10 minute prep
1.5 hour cook time
2 cups whole grain elbow pasta, cooked
1 lb butternut squash, halved and seeded
4 oz shredded Colby jack cheese
8 oz Monterey jack cheese, cubed (can use pepper jack if you prefer a little spice)
2 tsp almond flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dry mustard
4 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup 2% milk (or 1 cup half and half, if you want extra creaminess)
Roast squash halves, cut side down, on parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees for 40-45 min, until very tender. Remove and let cool, then scoop out flesh and puree until smooth. Change the oven temperature to 350.
Toss cooked pasta with pepper jack cheese cubes and pour into a 9×13 glass baking dish sprayed with olive oil.
In a bowl, combine almond flour and spices. Add Greek yogurt, egg, milk, and squash puree. Pour over pasta mixture until coated and then cover with shredded Colby jack cheese.
Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until top just begins to brown and bubble.
Nutrition: 289 Calories; Fat 18g; Carb 18g; Sugar 2g (0g added); Protein 14g
Tis the season for all the holiday happiness and I sincerely hope this helps take any stress that can come along with the holiday season down a few notches. Most importantly we can not give or love from an empty well. In a season of giving and loving, it’s also important to take time out for YOU and fill your cup up! Stress can rob us of so much but if we can learn to keep stress at a minimum, it can help all of us give, love, and enjoy the holiday season in a refreshed light. Love and light to you all and happy holidays!!
Xx, Jenny Beth Kroplin RDN, LDN, CLC